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'findmypast' query

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    'findmypast' query

    Hi Folks,

    Have just taken a little scoot around the 'findmypast' site, and have noted their package deals (the most expensive being the largest database, of course!)

    Could some kind soul tell me if their records cover Scotland as well as England, particularly the passport application search?

    Many thanks,


    Search register of passport applications
    1851-1856, 1858-1862 & 1874-1903

    You search using the first three letters of the name - and then get the matches for each year.

    From the website

    Note: There are no indexes for the period 1863 to 1873 and 1857 (all surnames) and 1858 (A-G surnames).

    The Archive of Names of Passport Applicants contains digitised images of the original indexes of Names of Passport Applicants from the records of the Foreign Office; Chief Clerk's Department and Passport Office. The original indexes are held by The National Archives, London, England under the series title FO 611 and are made available here under license. These cover the years 1851-1862 and 1874-1903.

    The entries provide details of the bearer of the passport, passport number, the date the passport was issued and any observations that may have been noted during the application. It is estimated that around 360,000 applications are recorded between 1851 and 1903. If you have found a gap in your ancestors’ trail it may be worth checking if they were overseas during that period. Although the entries found in the passport applications register cannot tell you where or when your ancestor traveled they may confirm that a passport was issued.

    Passports were not mandatory for British travelers until 1914. Until 1858 UK passports could be granted to people who where not British but who requested the protection of the UK whilst traveling; these passports where simply certificates requesting that foreign officials should allow the bearer to travel without hindrance.

    Up to the 17th century the Monarch had the prerogative right to control the movement of his subjects overseas and passport applications were rarely made. However, during the 18th and 19th centuries, passports were issued more frequently, although it was only in 1846 that regulations relating to applications for passports were first formulated. During this period passports were issued to British-born subjects for a single journey and could be used for any subsequent journey with the condition that the passport was countersigned afresh by a Minister or Consul in the country of which the holder intended to visit.


      Many thanks for that, Elaine. You say that passports weren't mandatory until 1914, but would that also include perhaps merchant seamen? OH's grandfather 'did a runner' and was last known to be on the Cable Ship 'Patrol' which was mainly in the Far East around 1906-1910. This was a William Black and Scottish, but of course he could have died anywhere in the world at any given time, and perhaps he wasn't even on this cable ship for very long? A very elusive man...........



        I remember when Amanda Redman was on WDYTYA one of the rellies she was researching had been a merchant seaman, and it was stated that he would not have needed a passport, just his seaman's ticket.

        Every five years or so I look back on my life and I have a good... laugh"
        (Indigo Girls, "Watershed")


          Kate - I think this guy's seaman's ticket has got to be the first obvious place to search (probably easier said than done!) All we have to go on at present is this chap's birth cert in 1873 in Glasgow, and his marriage cert in 1899. His eldest (OH's father) was born in 1900, followed by three girls. The mother then died in childbirth when the fourth daughter was born, and this baby then died in infancy at 8 months, I think. The mother's sister and husband then took on all these kiddies, although they had no children of their own. It was shortly after that that William Black disappeared, never to be heard of again. The only clue we have is a faded photograph, including William, on board a ship (we know that William was a boiler-maker) and on the back is written in pencil 'CS Patrol'.

          We have exhausted all avenues regarding this Cable Ship 'Patrol', and can find no record in any of their archives as to the employment of this William. Perhaps we are clutching at straws, but would dearly love to find out what happened to my OH's true grandfather. Sad, innit?