Advice re Records available 1800 - 1860
From Susan Beddow 21/11/2011
I am seeking records or information concerning my great great grandfather James Johns born 1798 in St. Keverne, Cornwall. His Will shows him to be a "master mariner" in the merchant service. The 1841 and 1851 census show him at sea. After marriage in 1831 he settled in Poole with his wife Eliza. Poole and Truro archives were unable to assist without names of ships on which he sailed. There is some suggestion he may have sailed out of Falmouth and or Poole.
I will also be visiting the National Archive in Kew but I also wondered if you might have any records or other advice to assist me with discovering more about this gentleman.
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The Poole crew list indexes at the Dorset History Centre do not start until 1863 so unsurprisingly your man is not listed there.
The National Archives is by far the best source of information.
They have indexes to seamens' names which point you to the ships on which a man served, and hence give access to the relevant crew lists which are filed by port, year and ship's name.
Before you go, a close study of their online research guides will be a great help in getting the most from your visit.