11:15 - 12:00

A frustrating aspect of researching merchant navy ancestors is the ‘black hole’ between 1858 and 1918 when there are no records for individual seamen. This talk will examine what records there are for this period and how to access them. James will also discuss projects that are underway at The National Archives to improve access to these records. People are becoming increasingly interested in their First World War ancestors, and with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania coming up in May, this talk will shift the focus away from Army, Navy and Air Force records.

James Cronan

James Cronan works at The National Archives, where he is a Record Specialist in Diplomatic and Colonial records. James also writes about records relating to South West Europe and their colonial possessions, and those of British possessions in the Mediterranean. Joining the archives as a cataloguing editor in 1993, James has over 20 years experience in researching through official government records. A descendant of a crew member on board Titanic, James has long been interested in Merchant Navy records and has provided talks, workshops and displays on the subject.