Author Topic: Merchant Navy: how to check records 1920s/30s for Charles Denney  (Read 736 times)

Offline Dulciebun

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Merchant Navy: how to check records 1920s/30s for Charles Denney
« on: Friday 19 February 16 07:57 GMT (UK) »
I still have no news of Charles Denney born Manchester UK, 19 September 1912. Abandoned by his single mother circa 1923/4. (No sign of him in the USA or Canada.) It's possible his biological father was a sailor... We now think Charles as a very young man may have joined the Merchant Navy, possibly from his base in Birkenhead. How young could he have joined up? How do you search Merchant Navy records 1920s onwards, please? Thank you :-)
Burgi (Zurich, Wintertur)
Pratt (Birmingham 1900s)

Offline HMac

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Re: Merchant Navy: how to check records 1920s/30s for Charles Denney
« Reply #1 on: Friday 19 February 16 09:07 GMT (UK) »
You would normally check the Fourth Register (copies on Find My Past) and Fifth Register of Seamen (National Archives, Kew).
There is no sign of him in the Fourth Register (1918-1941) There is no sign of him via online search in the Fifth Register of Seamen (1941-1972) but not all those records are online.
He could have joined as young as 14 some known to have joined younger by giving a false dob. If he was adopted and took another name then of course he could be listed under his adopted name and you would need to know that for any chance of finding him in the MN.

Regards
Hugh
Merchant Navy Research
ss CITY OF CAIRO

Offline Dulciebun

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Re: Merchant Navy: how to check records 1920s/30s for Charles Denney
« Reply #2 on: Friday 19 February 16 09:47 GMT (UK) »
Thank you Hugh, you're kind. They could join up at 14, goodness that's young.

So you have to search by Christian name + surname? (you can't do it by DOB 19.9.1912)?

Alternative surname possibilities: Charles Stonehouse... Charles Hollywood... Please would you have a look for me? I'm very grateful.
Burgi (Zurich, Wintertur)
Pratt (Birmingham 1900s)


Offline HMac

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Re: Merchant Navy: how to check records 1920s/30s for Charles Denney
« Reply #3 on: Friday 19 February 16 15:39 GMT (UK) »
I wouldn't say it was the norm for youngsters around that age to join but certainly plenty did.

I cannot see anyone that fits so far. With regard to this kind of research it is best to be able to visit the National Archives Kew as online searching is limited especially for post 1941 records.

Searching for MN records by date of birth only is not really practical in my opinion as many cards do not have a date or place of birth listed.

Regards
Hugh
Merchant Navy Research
ss CITY OF CAIRO

Offline Dulciebun

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Re: Merchant Navy: how to check records 1920s/30s for Charles Denney
« Reply #4 on: Friday 19 February 16 16:06 GMT (UK) »
Many thanks for looking. A visit to Kew... good idea, but q. difficult for me to go - maybe there are specialist researchers there who can be paid to search for you?
Forgive my ignorance, but do people generally join the Merchant Navy as a job-for-life? [I know quite a few Royal Navy personnel who've served a short term, sometimes very short, then they came out and did something else entirely.]   Dulcie
Burgi (Zurich, Wintertur)
Pratt (Birmingham 1900s)

Offline HMac

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Re: Merchant Navy: how to check records 1920s/30s for Charles Denney
« Reply #5 on: Friday 19 February 16 17:02 GMT (UK) »
Hi Dulcie, In the RN a seaman would sign on for a specific period i.e. 12 years. The Merchant Navy was different in that they didn't sign on to the service but they signed on to the ship. Some merchant seamen spent over 40 years in the MN others just one or two voyages. During that time period a seaman would sign on for a voyage and could sign off at the end of the voyage or any port in between if he wanted. But life in the MN was hard especially between the wars during the Great Depression when many seamen found berths at sea very hard to get and had to take other jobs between voyages to make ends meet.

Do you have any evidence that he went to sea or is it just a guess based on the fact that his father could have been a seaman? There are researchers who will do look-ups at Kew but it would be best if you had something more concrete to go on otherwise costs will rise.


Regards
Hugh
Merchant Navy Research
ss CITY OF CAIRO

Offline Dulciebun

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Re: Merchant Navy: how to check records 1920s/30s for Charles Denney
« Reply #6 on: Saturday 20 February 16 06:57 GMT (UK) »
You're right Hugh, I need to gather all I can before booking a researcher.
The routes I'm checking out are 'educated guesses' based on snippets of available information - it's hard going, and I'm learning how easily someone can disappear from knowledge, and the records.

I didn't know that MN personnel signed on to a ship, and could sign off wherever they chose. You've taught me something very useful.

Thank you for your time & expertise. D x
Burgi (Zurich, Wintertur)
Pratt (Birmingham 1900s)