Masters and Mates Certificates for Great Britain 1850 – 1927

One of the reasons I was keen to renew my Ancestry membership was because the organisation has just released a new collection of Masters and Mates certificates for Great Britain from 1850-1927, as sourced from The National Maritime Museum at Greenwich.

Some years ago I went to London to seek out the Register entries for my CUMPSTON relatives who were all Master Mariners.  I was able to abstract all their register of sailing entries, including ships and dates. but never got to see their actual certificates – so what joy this evening to be able to download them.  I found 2 certificates for my 2 x great  grandfather Watson CUMPSTON – the first certificate showed him aged 24 born in 1833 in Hull, with a certificate of competency as ‘Only Mate’ dated 30th October 1857.  The second dated 1861 was as a ‘Master’.

The certificates are beautiful and well worth framing – but I now have so many – so maybe my Ancestry subscription has been worthwhile in its first day!  These are the others I found there:

English: National Maritime museum, Greenwich

English: National Maritime museum, Greenwich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Charles Francis CUMPSTON

and his father Charles West CUMPSTON (Watson’s brother),

Joseph Watson CUMPSTON

and Thomas Cumpston dated 1851 – a beautiful Mate’s certificate showing that he had worked for 25 years in the British Merchant Service in the ‘Foreign Trade’.

The collection is available at

There were also a couple of surprising ones for James COMPSTON born in 1841 in Kendal issued in Liverpool in 1867 when he was 26 years old.  He is recorded as ‘Second Mate’.

Do let me know if you are related to any of these people.

About mallerstang

Member of the Guild of One Name Studies researching the name CUMPSTON and its variants. You can see my website at I have a new study of the name LAXEN with its own blog at and a further research blog which is not registered as a one name study of KNAGGS of Flamborough
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