Royal Naval Museum






Useful Sources

Within the UK there is a wealth of information resources on naval and maritime history. Below are a number of reference sources, which aim to help you begin your navigation of the subject.

They have been grouped into the following topics:

Personnel records, Ship records, Merchant Navy, General sources, Archives and Foreign sources


Please note: the Royal Naval Museum does not hold any official service records within their collection. All official service records are available via the following resources. A list of published genealogical sources for researching naval officers can be found on our information sheet

Naval Biographical Database -

This is an on-going private enterprise. Information is gathered from a variety of primary sources and currently covers the period 1660- 1800s on Flag Officers, Captains, Warrant Officers and Yard Officers. A search facility and further information on current coverage and cost is available on the website.

Service records pre-1928: National Archives (formerly known as the Public Record Office) -

Service records 1928-38: Directorate of Personnel Support (Navy), Navy Search, TNT Archive Services, Tetron Point, William Nadin Way, Swadlincote Derbyshire DE11 0BB

Tel: 01283 227913   (Relatives only)

Service records post 1938:

available only to next of kin on written request.

Data Protection Cell (Navy) Building 1/152, Victory View, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth PO1 3PX

Medal entitlements: available only to next of kin on written request.

MoD Medal Office (MODMO) AFPPA, Building 250, RAF Innsworth, Gloucester GL3 1HW

(For information on how to understand medals why not visit the Navy's People section on the Sea Your History website?)

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Ship Records

National Archives

Naval Biographical Database -

Merchant Navy

Registry of Shipping and Seamen.  MCA Cardiff, Anchor Court,

Ocean Way Cardiff CF24 5JW

E-mail: registryofshipping&


Merseyside Maritime Museum -

National Maritime Museum -

National Fisheries Heritage Centre (trawler histories): Alexander Dock, Great Grimsby, Lincolnshire, DN31 1UZ

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General sources

Commonwealth War Graves Commission -

Family Records Centre -

Imperial War Museum -

Royal Navy -

Science Museum -

Veterans Advice Unit -


National Archives -

National Register of

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Foreign Sources


National Archives of Australia -

Australian National Maritime Museum -


National Archives of Canada -

Maritime Museum of British Columbia –

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic -

United States of America

National Archives of the United States of America -

Naval Historical Centre -

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