My 3rd great grandfather, William C. BANNISTER (son of John BANNISTER, pensioner of the British Coastguard, and Mary HOCKIN) is said, in family records, to be born in 1818. He is also said to have been a captain and to have drowned at sea either about 1868, or when his son was 14 years old, about 1870.
A descendant of William's daughter, Dorothy, states that he remembers his grandmother telling him that, as a child (around the 1850s), she sailed with her father and the sailors rigged up a swing for her. An old letter to a descendant, from a relative who knew William and his wife, Catherine (nee YOUNGHUSBAND), says he recalls Catherine describing the beautiful state rooms she stayed in when sailing with her husband and that she visited exotic ports of call and brought back beautiful things. Because of this information, I don't feel I'm chasing some old family myth.
The 1841 census for South Shields, Durham shows William with his first wife, Jane (nee GOSS)and gives his birth about 1818 in South Shields, Durham and his occupation as mariner.
The 1851 census for South Shields, Durham shows William with his second wife, Catherine (nee YOUNGHUSBAND), and gives his birth abt. 1819 in South Shields, Durham, and his occupation as mariner.
The 1861 census for Hartlepool, Durham shows Catherine BANNISTER as head of household (with correct children) and, in the occupation column, states "mariner from home".
I have not been able to find a William BANNISTER in Lloyd's online. I have never been able to find any clue as to the name or type of vessel on which my William sailed.
I have, however, just found a Mates Certificate of Service to a William BANNISTER, No. 55.695. It states this William was born at South Shields in the County of Durham on 6 May 1815 and that he'd been employed in the capacities of App Mate 12 years in the British Merchant Service principally in the Coasting and foreign Trade. Issued at the port of Shields this 11 day of Feb 1853. Along the left side of the ticket, it reads: No. of Register ticket 107.934.
All details for the above Mates Ticket, save date of birth, are a good match for my William, as he was born in the same location, was living in the same location as of the 1851 census and is documented to have been a mariner. I am aware that, when it comes to mariners and military men, many claim to be older than they really are to get in early. I am aware there was a minimum age requirement for apprentices, so perhaps the birth year discrepancy alone isn't enough to discount this William as mine. I'm not seeing any William BANNISTERs born in 1815 South Shields, Durham, come up in the searches here at ancestry.
For anyone familiar with researching Merchant Marine records, how might I best use this Mates Ticket data to determine whether this William is really mine? Can I expect enough personal information about his family to have been recorded to even make such a determination?
Any advice to put me on the right track will be gratefully received. Thank you for your time.