Civil Registration of deaths began in Ireland in 1864. Unlike marriages, which were registered by the officiating priest or parish clerk, and births which could and were registered by anyone present at the event, deaths were often not registered. It has been estimated that between 1864 and 1900 some 15% of births went unregistered. The figure for non-registration of deaths was undoubtedly considerably higher.
Although Acts of Parliament had made provision for the registration of overseas births and marriages under the ‘Army Act’ in 1877 and deaths at sea in 1874, the reality was that very few of these events were memorialised in the Civil Registration Records for Ireland. As far as marine deaths are concerned, the first instance of deaths being recorded in the so-called ‘Marine Register’ do not appear until 1894. After this date registrations appear intermittently and the numbers are very small when they do: no more than thirty in any one year.
From 1882 the General Register and Record Office of Shipping at Customs House, London, began to keep records of all reported deaths at sea for British subjects. Published monthly, these are entitled Deceased Seamen: List of Names and their Particulars of seamen whose Deaths have been Reported to the Registrar-General of Seamen During the Month of …… A set of the Registers for the periods 1886-1949 are held at the National Library of Ireland. The initial years of the registers, 1882-1888, contain the following details on deceased seamen: Name; Age; Birth Place, Naval Rating; Name of Ship; Official Number; Port of Registry; Cause, Date and Place of Death. From 1889 the registers also include for each deceased seaman, the last place of abode, trade of vessel and the Registrar of Deaths to who reported (London, Edinburgh and Dublin) as well as the source of the information for the registration.
Even a cursory examination of the these registers indicates that the deaths of hundreds of seamen of Irish Nationality were reported to the British authorities from the earliest years of the registers. Whether or not these were subsequently reported to the Registrar-General in Dublin, it is clear that the Irish men and woman who were memorialised in the Deceased Seamen Registers in London were not subsequently recorded in the Marine Death portion of the general Civil Death Registration Index Books in Dublin. This makes the Deceased Seamen Registers an invaluable genealogical source for British and Irish men and woman who died at sea.
If you cannot visit the National Library of Ireland to search this collection you can commission a search of these records using the Timeline Genealogy Clerk Service.
Eddies Mariner Extracts, provide entries for Irishmen from these register for the years 1886 and 1887 and for other areas in the Britain at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~econnolly/register/index.html
A valuable description of the Deceased Seamen Registers is also available from this site at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~econnolly/register/regabout.html