Friday, April 1, 2016

A is for ADM

Chart of the Pacific showing French, German, Spanish & British occupancies
Chart of the Pacific showing French, German, Spanish & British occupancies.This map of the Pacific Islands shows French, British, German and Spanish occupancy in the Pacific. It was lithographed from a British Admiralty map of 1884. French territories are shown in blue. From Archives New Zealand on Flickr 

A is for ADM.

Welcome to the first of my posts for the A-Z Challenge.  I am a family historian/librarian and my chosen theme for this month is all things Navy!  

My goal is to feature posts on everything from ships to archival records, from job descriptions to places associated with the Navy.  

I am based in Australia but my heritage lies in the UK so when I say Navy, I will be referring to the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy to a large extent. Please forgive my parochialism/ethnocentricity.  

ADM is an acronym or abbreviation for Admiralty used with The National Archives series of records. Records within this series date from 1205-1998.  You can browse the series here. Or look for guides here.  There's all sorts of records from pay registers, to journals and letters.

One of the most important things you need when setting out on an extended voyage (such as the A to Z challenge) is charts or maps just like the one featured on the post today. Maps for sea-going voyages are called hydrographic charts. They show the coastline, depth of water, shoals or reefs and other navigational aids.  You can read about HMS Waterwitch and her hydrographic work on this blog post here.  

If you want to find your own hydrographic charts in the ADM records look here.
The National Archives guide advises that the biggest collection of Admiralty charts is held in the British Library. It also suggests exploring The National Maritime Museum and the Royal Geographical Society.

I remember enjoying colouring in the blue for the sea around countries in Geography at school.  Do you?

I hope you enjoy the A - Z voyage and of course, I would be delighted if you choose to leave a comment or observation on the theme/posts.


Kerryn Taylor said...

Very interesting post Alex. I only have a couple of Naval connections in my family history but I do find them very interesting. Family story has it that my gggg grandfather Daniel HULME was a midshipman in Nelson's Navy but I can find no record.
My cousin Cathy and her husband are currently involved in Navy history (submarines) at Holdbrook in NSW so I must share your posts with them.

diane b said...

I don't think my family have any connection to the Navy. Sounds an interesting history tho.

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Kerryn and Diane. Kerryn your cousins' work sounds very interesting. We had a chap in the library last year who was writing a PhD on the Naval Reserve which I think would be interesting too. My father was in the Reserve in his youth. Diane, like all organisations, the Navy is fascinating in terms of how it evolved and creates its structure. I'm also interested in the etymology of the words - job titles/descriptions et al.

Aneeta said...

Interesting post. I, too, don't have any Naval connections. But I am interested in maritime history - particularly the one of the South Indian kings (Raja Raja Chola) in the 12th century. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

Aneeta from
How to Tell a Great Story

crgalvin said...

Colouring in maps was a competitive activity, one smudged the blue seas with finger to get a nice smooth effect then added darker shadings around the edge of countries. I'm fairly sure extra marks were given for 'colouring in skills'.

Wendy said...

No, I preferred coloring in the countries! I can't claim to be absolutely in love with maps, but when I have one, I like seeing where places are in relationship to each other. I didn't realize just how distorted my thinking is until we went to Aruba. The time zone is one hour AHEAD of where I live, but in my mind Aruba should be an hour BEHIND. Isn't it southwest of here? On a flat map, yes. But on a globe, it is southeast!
Jollett Etc.

Suzanne McClendon said...

I think that it is going to be lots of fun reading your posts!

There is a long Naval history in my family, but here in the United States. Our oldest son is in the US Navy and our youngest son is a US Marine. Four of my uncles on my mama's side were in the US Navy, and one of my brothers was in the US Naval Reserve (after having served in the US Air Force). My daddy's brother and one of my mama's brothers were in the US Army as was my other brother. One of my great-grandfathers as well as his brother were in the US Navy in World War I. Many more sailors were in our family before them.

Family history and genealogy are my passion! Throw in a sailor suit or most any military uniform and it is even better. :)

Have a great weekend!

Dianne said...

Great post Alex. I have an ancestor who was a wireless operator on submarine chasers with the Royal Canadian Navy in WW1. Apparently the navy records are in UK so still looking. My husband and I have sailed all over Vancouver Island and are familiar with using charts. When my husband sailed to Hawaii (27 days at sea) I declined and flew out to meet him there.
Looking forward to the rest of the month.
My Genealogy Challenges

Alex Daw said...

Dear Aneeta Carmel Wendy Suzanne and Dianne - thank you for your lovely comments. Aneeta you intrigue me with your mention of the South Indian kings - I may branch out from my ethnocentricity yet! Carmel colouring in skills were definitely worth more marks. Wendy I confess that my spatial awareness skills are not very good but you have just done my head in with that account of Aruba - you mean the world is round??? ;) Suzanne you would have lots of fun doing your family history - military records are marvellous! Dianne - I used to sail with my father in a little tub. We had such fun. It was always on a lake or in Sydney Harbour. Sailing in Moreton Bay with its tides and mud flats is a whole different kettle of fish.

Alex Daw said...

PS Suzanne - thanks for following this blog. You do me a great honour!

ScotSue said...

The initials ADM were new to me, and the only naval connection I have was an uncle who served in the Second Worl War - so I expect I will be learning a lot from your A-Z journey. Like others, I enjoyed colouring in maps at school, with the blue coastline and red for country boundaries. I did not realise that perspectives on world maps can differ. I was always used to seeing Britain always in the centre, with America to the left and Australia far right. But when in the USA, dominating the centre of the map , of course, was the USA, with Britain tucked away at top right- interesting!

Suzanne McClendon said...

You're welcome, Alex. I look forward to reading your posts. I have an affinity for Australia myself. It is where David and I had planned to live when we graduated college and got married. Alas, the job offer that he had received fell through and we stayed here in the United States. It is what we were used to; we were born here, but we were looking forward to the adventure of a new place. :)

Sharon said...

I know very little about the Navy so look forward to learning :)

blah blah blah said...


As you may know, I am also blogging this month. As a US Navy Veteran, I am enjoying your writing. Keep up the great work.

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