In my reading about naval records I came across a mention of Trinity House. I'd never heard of it before.
Apparently, if you wanted to be a ship's master in the Royal Navy (they're the people that get to navigate the ship), then you would have to be examined by Trinity House (Pappalardo, p. 14). And the same if you wanted to be a schoolmaster /naval instructor - although it did change to the RN College Portsmouth in 1819 (Rodger, p. 29). Letters regarding masters' candidates from 1702-1807 can be found in ADM 6/134 or ADM 1/4314-4315 for the period 1808-39. In contrast, a gunner was examined by the Ordnance Board and a Chaplain by the Bishop of London (Rodger, p.6)
Trinity House is very old indeed. It was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1514 and, as a charity, had all sorts of responsibilities from marine surveying, pilot licensing, making and setting up beacons and markers to providing welfare for seamen and their dependents.
The majority of Trinity House Archives are held at the London Metropolitan Archives. Trinity House has a page and some contacts for genealogy enquiries here.
Thank you Trinity House for all that you do to keep us safe when we're messing about in boats or sailing the high seas.
Oh yes, before I forget...tobacco and trusses. If you are reading a Muster record you may find that it has columns for Trusses and Tobacco...not necessarily together...clothes and beds seem to come between them (Rodger, p.52). Anyway the Purser would sell you tobacco and keep a record of how much you had. Lifting heavy sails could often cause an internal injury or rupture so the Surgeon might dole out trusses (people might call them hernia belts today) to those with injuries. Interesting, no?
The trials and tribulations of navy life.
How are your trials and tribulations going in the Blogging from A-Z challenge? I'm in by the skin of my teeth tonight. Nighty night. I'm sailing off to the Land of Nod.
Fowler, Simon, Tracing Your Naval Ancestors - a Guide for Family Historians, Pen and Sword Family History, 2011
Pappalardo, Bruno, Tracing Your Naval Ancestors, PRO, Kew, Surrey, 2002
Rodger, NAM, Naval Records for Genealogists, Public Record Office Handbook No. 22, 1998