Never before seen records of Titanic captain E.J. Smith and crew go online.WikiCommons

The records of Titanic Captain Edward Smith and his crew went online for the first time last year. 

The details of the doomed captain along with the records of more than a million seamen, from first officers to stockers, were published at as part of the Liverpool Crews List 1861-1919 collection. The collection reports the names of every crew member who worked on ships registered to the Port of Liverpool.

The Titanic, built by Harland & Wolf in Belfast, was designed in Liverpool, one of the biggest ports in the world, and about 90 members of the ship’s crew came from the city, including the two lookouts who spotted the iceberg, the Daily Mail reports.

Born in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent in 1850, Captain Smith joined the White Star Shipping Line in 1880. He was chosen to captain the Titanic on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. He died along with more than 1,500 people when the ship sank in the Atlantic in the early hours of April 15, 1912.

While much has been written about his role in the fatal voyage, historians are in disagreement over his final moments before the ship sunk.

It is known that the captain was awoken about 20 minutes before midnight on April 14 after the ship collided with an iceberg.

Some historians believe Smith panicked and hid in his quarters while the crisis unfolded around him, and he has been criticized for allowing the only partially filled lifeboats to leave the ship. But there are other stories of him helping children into lifeboats and he appears to have made no attempt to save himself, dying at the helm.

It is believed he was last seen in the bridge area after giving the final order to abandon ship.

The Liverpool Crews List 1861-1919 collection contains the records of 912 ships and includes each crew member's name, age, birthplace, residence and past maritime experience, as well as remarks on their behavior. There are also details on whether crew members were discharged, deserted or died at sea.

“From ship captains to their crew, this collection sheds light on a period in which the port of Liverpool was a global transport hub,” said Miriam Silverman, Senior UK Content Manager of Ancestry.

“With more than a million maritime records now available online at Ancestry it will also be of huge significance for anybody looking to trace their seafaring ancestors back to Liverpool at this time.”

The records can be viewed here



* Originally published in October 2014.