Category Archives: Peter Robinson’s Papers

Guidelines – Transcribing Ships Lists of 1825

The upper half of the first page of every Ship’s List includes the name of the Ship, her Master and Surgeon, and provides counts of the men, women and children. Pages of the Ship’s List also record numbers of men, women and children carried over to the next page, or brought forward from the previous page. Note, this identifying information about the ship and the page counts have been transcribed already.

The bottom half of the first page of every Ship’s List begins the identification of families on board. Unfortunately, the mark-up for the transcription will be unfamiliar to many transcribers – so we’ll work a few examples.

This is the mark-up of the first family listed on board the Albion. We have highlighted the specific information about this family in blue:


{| border=”1″ width=”100%”
|-
! Family !! Head !! Occupation !! Residence !! Sponsor !! Ticket
|-
| ”’ 1 ”’  || ”’ James Dealy ”’ ||”’ Farmer ”’ || ”’ Buttevant, Cork ”’ || ”’ Lord Doneraile ”’ || ”’ 60  ”’
|}

{| border=”1″ width=”100%”
|-
! Given Name !! Surname !! Age !! M/W !! M+/M-/F+/F-
|-
| James || Dealy || 30 || M || M+
|-
| Ellen ||  || 26 || W || F+
|-
| Patrick ||  || 21 ||  || M+
|-
| Mary ||  || 2 ||  || F-
|}


The first line of the transcription records information about the family as a whole.

The first column of the first line of the transcription records the number of the family (which appears in the leftmost column of the original Ship’s List, under the printed heading “Heads of Families”). Notice that we have left a space on either side of the number 1 below – these spaces are important for proper formatting.

The second column of the transcription records the name of the head of the family (which appears in the second column of the original Ship’s List, under the printed heading “Names”). Notice that we’ve left a space on either side of the name James Dealy – again, these spaces are important for proper formatting.

The third column of the transcription records the occupation of the head of the family (which appears in the fourth column of the original Ship’s List, under the printed heading “Occupation”). Ditto the spaces around Farmer.

The fourth column of the transcription records the former residence of the family (which appears in the eleventh column of the original Ship’s List, under the printed heading “Former Residence”). Ditto the spaces around Buttevant, Cork.

The fifth column of the transcription records the sponsor of the family (which appears in the rightmost column of the original Ship’s List, under the printed heading “Remarks”). Ditto the spaces around Lord Doneraile.

The sixth column of the transcription records the number of the family’s embarkation ticket (which also appears under the printed heading “Remarks”). Ditto the spaces around 60.

Note – this information, pertaining to the family as a whole, has been transcribed already.

The next part of the transcription provides the names and ages of the individual family members – one line per person.

On the first line, we record the information about the head of the family. The first column of the transcription records the first name – the second column the second name – of the head of the family. Again notice the space before and after James and the space before and after Dealy.

The third column of the transcription provides the person’s age, which appears in the third column of the original Ship’s List. Ditto for spaces around 30.

The fourth column of the transcription records an M when the fifth column of the original Ship’s List has a 1 entered below the printed heading “Men”, and an F when the sixth column of the original Ship’s List has a 1 entered below the printed heading “Women”. The fourth column of the transcription is left blank between the || || uprights when there is no 1 entered below either “Men” or “Women”. Ditto for spaces around M.

The fifth column of the transcription records an M+ when the seventh column of the original Ship’s List has a 1 entered below the printed heading “Males above 14”, an M- when the eighth column of the original Ship’s List has a 1 entered below the printed heading “Males under 14”, a F+ when the ninth column of the original Ship’s List has a 1 entered below the printed heading “Females above 14”, and an F- when the tenth column of the original Ship’s List has a 1 entered below the printed heading “Females under 14”. Ditto for spaces around M+.

Note – this information, pertaining to the head of the family, has been transcribed already – however, the help of volunteers in transcribing the information about the other members of the family is greatly appreciated!

The names and ages of the other family members are recorded using the same conventions on subsequent lines. In most cases, there is no surname entered for these members and the transcriber leaves a blank between the second column || || uprights.


Now, let’s consider the mark-up for Michael Sullivan’s family, on the second folio of the Ship’s List for the Albion:

The information for Michael Sullivan himself has already been transcribed – as we noted above. Information about other family members has not yet been transcribed.

| Michael || Sullivan || 28 || M || M+
|-
| >> Given << ||  || >> Age << || >> MW << || >> MF+-
|-
| >> Given << ||  || >> Age << || >> MW << || >> MF+-
|-
| >> Given << ||  || >> Age << || >> MW << || >> MF+-
|-
| >> Given << ||  || >> Age << || >> MW << || >> MF+-
|}

To assist the transcriber, we have entered a “blank” in the second column, since the surname of these family members is most often left unrecorded on the original Ship’s List. We have also provided cues for the sort of information that’s expected in the other columns – e. g. an M or W or “blank” in the fourth column, an M+, M-, F+, or F- in the fifth column.

To help ensure that a space is maintained before and after every entry, we recommend that the transcriber first highlight  >> Given << with the computer mouse and then enter the person’s given name. Likewise with >> Age <<, >> MW <<. and >> MF+- <<.

Good luck – and thanks!