Family historians can now find out what really became of the "drunken" sailors thanks to the tens of thousands of maritime examination records being put online.
With Hull being a major merchant port thousands of local sailors are likely to be included among the 280,000 records, available from today on the
The Great Britain, Masters and Mates Certificates, 1850-1927, show how the Merchant Navy regulated the behaviour of all ranks of sailors, from mates to captains. Introduced by the Mercantile Maritime Act of 1850 the certificates ushered in the end of the stereotypical image of "drunken" and disorderly sailors which had developed during the early 19th century.
Released by the National Maritime Museum the documents give details of sailors who passed the exams, which were designed to give evidence of their sobriety and test their good conduct and experience.
Sailors passing the exam were given a Masters Certificate - including their name, address, place and date of birth, port of issue and the names of ships on which they had sailed - to prove they were fit for service.
Copyright Press Association 2012