How do you record a death when the whole ship was lost at sea?

+6 votes

How do you record a death at sea?

1. when you dont know the location

2. you don't name of ship

3. the whole ship was lost at sea enroute to America

4 the only way we know is via a story told to my First cousin twice removed by her mother, Sarah Frew nee Curran

I wish to enter it in their Death records and not just their biography

WikiTree profile: John Curran
in Policy and Style by Paul Curran G2G6 Mach 1 (15.4k points)
recategorized by Keith Hathaway

2 Answers

+4 votes
Best answer

It may depend on what country the ship was coming from. For example: Here is an excerp from Royal Museums Greenwich at:


Births and deaths at sea

Details of births and death at sea aboard British-registered ships were, since the introduction of civil registration (1 July 1837 in England and Wales; 1 January 1855 in Scotland; and 1 January 1864 in Ireland), were required to be sent to the appropriate General Register Office depending on the nationality or normal place of residence of the father or of the deceased. (Note: records related to foreigners were, from 1875, sent to the GRO for England and Wales.)

Until 1874 these were sent directly by the ship’s captain; after that date they were transmitted via the Registrar-General of Shipping and Seamen. Each General Register Office maintains a Register of Marine Deaths with a separate index: most of these indexes are now online through several commercial organisations.

The primary record of a birth or death at sea is the ship’s official documentation. This usually means the ship’s official log, which was introduced in October 1851, but until the early 1890s may be found on the back of crew lists, including those of passengers.

Information on births and deaths at sea recorded in log books was extracted by the Registrar-General of Shipping and Seamen and entered in registers now to be found at The National Archives, in series BT 153–BT 160 covering the period 1854–1890 with a few later entries. These are being digitised and are becoming available: details are to be found on The National Archives website.

From 1891 details were copied into consolidated indexed registers kept by the Registrar-General of Shipping and Seamen: series BT 334 at The National Archives. These should cover both births and deaths that actually occurred at sea as well as on-board in port or in a local foreign hospital. Those where the event actually occurred at sea would have been reported to the General Register Office for England and Wales. Where the deceased or father was Scottish or Irish, a copy was sent to the General Register Offices in Edinburgh or Dublin.

A record of any births or deaths on a ship inbound to the UK, originating from a port outside Europe or the Mediterranean, had to be recorded on a passenger list. Those that survive (1890–1960, with a very few earlier) are in series BT 26 at The National Archives and are available online at"

Personally, I would document everything that I know and keep looking for more details over time. 

Good luck!

by Curtis Jendro G2G2 (2.9k points)
selected by Terry Wright
Unfortunetly the ship sailed between 1845 -1851 from Ireland, thence to most likely to england, just ten to 15 years before the start of the official record taking, so have no way of knowing, unless she did sail via England, then there should be some kind of records for incoming ships

The Knowledge was handed don through the generations

I dont think they would sail direct to Amercia

the information you supplied was very enlightening though

thank you

+1 vote
If you know they died at sea enroute to the US, use the source that gives you that info, even if it doesn't name the ship or exact location, just put which ocean.


check links for more info:
by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.4m points)
edited by Doug Lockwood

Related questions

+3 votes
0 answers
61 views asked Jul 9, 2016 in Genealogy Help by anonymous
+3 votes
2 answers
+7 votes
2 answers
44 views asked Sep 19, 2020 in The Tree House by P. Curran G2G Crew (590 points)
0 votes
4 answers
+4 votes
0 answers
90 views asked Apr 15, 2016 in Genealogy Help by Alli Richards

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright