There was a great need in the merchant navy for trained men and to satisfy this demand a number of training schools were set up. Several of these were in vessels moored on the Mersey, although those that survived into the late 20th century eventually became shore based. The Maritime Archives and Library holds the records of two training ships, the Conway and the Indefatigable. These collections include a great series of admission registers which give details of the boys who joined the schools. They usually contain some information about their family background and sometimes even their height and weight and whether or not they could swim. The registers are subject to the Data Protection Act, 1998, but those that are over 100 years old can be freely consulted.
We've recently taken part in a national digitisation project and the registers are now available online through the Find My Past family history website. Anyone can access the website and use the search facility for free. A charge is then made to see a full transcript or a scanned image of the original admission book. Free access to the transcripts or scans is available within the Archives Centre at the Merseyside Maritime Museum along with the rest of the collections.
Lead image: Photograph of training ships, Conway and Indefatigable, in the Mersey, 1934 (MAL reference McR/90/18)