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William BANNISTER - Mates ticket/Merchant Service-Advice Needed

William BANNISTER - Mates ticket/Merchant Service-Advice Needed

Posted: 14 Oct 2012 7:19PM GMT
Classification: Query
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.


Re: William BANNISTER - Mates ticket/Merchant Service-Advice Needed

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 11:19PM GMT
Classification: Query
Debra, I have a feeling you may have to abandon some of the family stories. Firstly there is no entry for William Bannister having had a Master's ticket so he could not have been a Captain. The idea of "beautiful state rooms" when she sailed with him can only be a figment of Catherine's imagination. Even if the Captain of the Queen Mary took his wife with him they would just have had crew's quarters - obviously better than the ordinary seamen - but "state rooms"! They were were for the top fare-paying passengers. Accomodation on coasters was of the simplest order, simply because they were at sea for shorter periods and the ships, relatively speaking, were small. There are five deaths for William Bannister around the date you mention, one of them with birth approximately 1813 is registered at Risborough, Suffolk. If this is on the coast it could have been of someone brought ashore for burial. Shields was very important for the coasting trade from the NE area to London, especially for colliers, the Prospect of Whitby pub in Wapping is said to have been named because one could see the enormous numbers of colliers from Whitby lined up to get into the Pool of London to unload. My guess would be that he was mate of one of these many coasters and things were embroidered a bit to make him sound more important. Could be wrong of course but the Tyne and Wear Archives have a lot of information on the ship-building, coasting and general sea-going antics for that area so could be worth a try. Good luck with your searches.

Re: William BANNISTER - Mates ticket/Merchant Service-Advice Needed

Posted: 27 Nov 2012 2:24AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 27 Nov 2012 2:25AM GMT
Thank you, Halpark, for your kind reply. I'm guessing you must have access to check all masters tickets? I'm open to the idea of my William not having been a captain, but would it have been likely for a crewman to have his family sailing with him?

Apparently, Catherine had to wait some years for her husband, William, to be officially declared dead, so I'm not expecting to find that he was ever brought ashore for burial.

The "beautiful state rooms" was mentioned by a relative in a letter, relating his memories of Catherine to one of her descendants, so very well could have been elaborated. He did mention, though, that she brought back exotic things which, if true, would indicate William did more than just coasting.

Thank you so much again for this information. :)


Re: William BANNISTER - Mates ticket/Merchant Service-Advice Needed

Posted: 27 Nov 2012 9:09AM GMT
Classification: Query
Ancestry has recently included Mates and Masters tickets for UK and Ireland from 1850-1960(not sure of end date!) - just put the name in. Generally crew did not have families with them, but if the Captain did not I suppose he might have allowed the 1st (or only) Mate to do so - or is it possible your William owned a share in a boat which might have given him some privilege? Also, what exactly is meant by "exotic things"? Have any of them survived or is it a myth like "state rooms". Of course he could have done more than coasting but proof is needed. As before, as he came from Shields I would suggest you try Tyne and Wear - if they do not know they could probably point you in the right direction. It could also be worth googling "Deaths at sea" - if recorded there is a register.
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