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Q I'VE been told my great-grandfather was captain of a White Star ship sailing out of Liverpool. Is there anywhere I can see any official records of his service or the ship?

JOHN COOPE, Birmingham A TWO places spring to mind, John - the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool and the National Archives in London.

At the former, on the city's restored Albert Dock, you'll be able to look round galleries that tell the story of Liverpool's place in maritime history, and visit the archives where documents and records are held.

Here, you'll find lots of information about the White Star line, which was established by Thomas Ismay as the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company - and admission is free. The archives house maritime books and documents spanning three centuries, including the finest collection of merchant shipping records anywhere in the UK.

First, you need to gather as much background information as you can. This may be anything from birth and death certificates to discharge papers and photographs. This will help to narrow down your search.

Next, have a good look at website, which offers downloadable information sheets to assist you further in your inquiries.

The Maritime Archives & Library are open Tuesday to Thursday between 10.30am and 4.30pm. The use of the archives and library is free, although you'll need to collect a ticket from the inquiry desk. Please note, however, that they don't hold the official records of individual seamen. You'll have better luck in tracing your greatgrandfather's career at the National Archives in Kew.

Here you'll find lists of ships' masters and the voyages they made. We featured the National Archives in detail last week, and you can find more at website If you don't have internet access, call the Merseyside Maritime Museum on 0151 478 4499 and the National Archives on 020 8876 3444. Say you saw it in the Sunday Mercury
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Sep 11, 2005
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