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Henry Spencer -Coast Guard :-)
Hi have recently joined :-) what a brilliant site, really full of wonderful information.

Can you give me some research guidance and tips. :-)

Are there any photos available of this era ?

I am tracing family history and my gt gt grandfather.

I have copies (not very visible) of his naval records. He served in total for 20 years, from 1857 to 1877.
From 1867 to 1877 he was stationed in Belmullet Co Mayo. It shows (I think) he was 'Boatman' then 'C. Boatman'. During this time 4 children were born.

Was it usual for a naval person to be transferred for this length of time and also have his family with him ?

Any help would be much appreciated. I believe census records for this time were destroyed.

Many thanks
John welcome to the Forum.

It is a little unusual for a man to serve 10 years at the same station, particularly following a promotion.

On the question of having his family with him, one of the attractions of the CG Service was the ability to have a normal family life, with the benefits of a pension at the end and during his service provision of accommodation. Many men seem to have made the transition from the Royal Navy to the CG shortly after their marriages, which suggests that they appreciated the benefits of the service.

The down side to this was the possibility of having the family uprooted every few years to new postings, but your mans appears to have been more lucky than most.


Many thanks for your reply and information. Looking again at his naval record it may be that he served 7 years and not ten as coast guard at Co Mayo, dates not very clear on the copy I have.

Would the accommodation have been provided as part of the job ? Would there have been any locals as part of the team or would they have been all naval people ?

Many thanks for your help, it is much appreciated,


In the period you are interested in most of the CG accommodation was purpose built, but prior to the 1860's CG and their families lived in local rented accommodation.

Locals were actively discouraged from working in the service because of the concerns that there might be collusion with any smuggling. This extended to a CG who married a 'native' being moved to another station immediately following his marriage.

The majority of the men were ex navy, but it was possible for a local to be employed as an 'Extra-man', although they do not appear in the Establishment Books, with the possibility of being accepted into the service.

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