Passenger Research Guides
P&O's ships steamed over thousands of
miles of ocean carrying a significant number
of people all around the globe
There are a number of ways of researching births at sea in the P&O Archives, The National Archives and also online. In the P&O Archive, the best source of information regarding births on P&O ships is the Nautical Reports (essentially Log Book summaries) which cover the years 1847 until the First World War and again from 1939 until 1957. These can be found at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, filed under series P&O/40. The Nautical Reports are not indexed so it is necessary to know the name of the ship and the approximate date of birth before beginning your research.
At The National Archives in Kew, series BT 158, BT 159 and BT 160 cover all births at sea for 1854 to 1890 while series BT 334 records those between 1891 to 1972. Again, the BT (Board of Trade) records are not indexed by name, rather by year of birth. They do include the name of the ship, its official number, port of registry, date of birth, sex, name of father, name of mother and the last place of abode for both parents.
Alternatively, one of the best online sources for births at sea from 1854 to 1887 is http://www.findmypast.co.uk/ which has digitised and indexed The National Archive’s records and so they are searchable by surname.