Trinity House has, since its Charter of Incorporation in 1514, been responsible for the distribution of charitable funds entrusted to it by various benefactors, for the benefit of poor seamen and their widows and orphans.

Great Care was taken by the Corporation to ensure that its funds were carefully disbursed and mariners or their families applying for assistance were required to give full details of their circumstances in the form of "Petitions".

Unfortunately the earlier petitions have been destoyede by fires in 1666 & 1714 and by bombing in 1940, but in 1834 the Corporation hadpresented the petitions for the period 1787 to 1854 to the Society of Genealogists, who now hold a complete run for that period.

In addition the Society holds a collection of Apprentiveship Indentures for seamen for 1780 & for the period 1818 - 1845, and a collection of miscellaneous papers for the period 1790 - 1890, which includes baptismal and marriage certificates for seamen, often related to applications for pensions or Almshouse accommodation.

All of these can be of great interest to family historians with seafaring ancestors.

The Society of Genealogists has published a Calendar of the Records of Trinity House, which indexes the names of petitioners and thiose included in the other two collections listed above.

This can be purchased from the Society of Genealogists.Their website is