P&O's ships steamed over thousands of
miles of ocean carrying a significant number
of people all around the globe
Officially, marriages never took place on merchant ships because they were not legally valid, therefore P&O archives have no record of any ceremonies held on board their ships, although P&O began introducing the service in 1998. P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises are now owned by Carnival plc so please refer to them directly for records of marriages after 1998.
At The National Archives, there is a register of marriages of passengers and seamen at sea between 1854 and 1972 in series BT 334/117 with a transcription of that manuscript available on The Ships List website.
Deaths involving P&O passengers as well as crew members are recorded in the Nautical Reports (essentially Log Book summaries) that cover the years 1847 until the First World War and again from 1939 until 1957. They can be found at the National Maritime Museum, 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 death before you begin your research.
There is also a volume entitled 'Deceased Passengers Effects' covering the years 1925 to 1990. This volume, filed under P&O/73/41, gives the name of the deceased, the name of the ship, date of death, cause of death, next of kin and (the reason for the records’ existence) the disposal of his/her effects.
At The National Archives, Kew, series BT 334 records deaths at sea by name between 1891 and 1972 inclusive of 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 deaths at sea from 1854 to 1890 is http://www.findmypast.co.uk/ which has digitised and indexed The National Archive’s records so they are searchable by surname.
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