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Guide reference: Military Records Information 39
Last updated: 15 October 2012

1. Why use this guide?

This guide will help you to find letters, minutes and documents known as 'case files', kept and compiled by the Admiralty, the body in charge of the Royal Navy. In particular, it is a guide to finding letters received by the Admiralty. These letters date, in the main, from 1793 onwards and most are filed in The National Archives record series ADM 1.

The key to finding these letters, minutes and related files are the indexes and digests in record series ADM 12 and this guide will reveal exactly how you use ADM 12 to access the documents in ADM 1 and various other related record series.

2. Essential information

2.1 Glossary of key terms

The following key terms are used in this guide:

  • Admiralty - the body in charge of Royal Navy operations
  • Admiralty in-letters - letters received by the Admiralty
  • Admiralty out-letters - letters sent by the Admiralty
  • cases - related letters and other papers on a particular subject collected together to form a single file (also referred to as case files)
  • digests - summaries of information in documents that can also be used as indexes to those documents

The ADM 12 indexes and digests are sometimes referred to in our catalogue as the Index and the Digest, respectively.

2.2 Caveats

The Admiralty files discussed in this guide can be very difficult records to penetrate. Admiralty codes and abbreviations and a filing system that underwent countless changes over the years mean that a single set of search instructions covering the whole of ADM 12, and the related record series, is impossible. The instructions in this guide may not always prove applicable and much depends on the date of the document you are looking for.

Over the years, countless letters that were at first kept by the Admiralty have subsequently been disposed of, especially from the mid-19th century onwards. Therefore, even when a reference to a letter exists in the ADM 12 indexes and digests, this is no guarantee that the letter survives. However, sometimes a digest entry in itself reveals a significant amount about the contents of a letter (see section 5.3).

None of the documents discussed in this guide have been digitised. Though you can view their arrangement in Discovery, our catalogue, you will have to visit us at The National Archives at Kew to view the documents themselves.

3. ADM 12: the basics

ADM 12 consists, predominantly, of large bound volumes of indexes and digests but they do not all refer to the same record series.

The indexes and digests are used predominantly as a means of accessing documents in:

  • ADM 1 (Admiralty correspondence 1660-1976), the principal record series for letters received by the Admiralty. Many of these letters were sent by officers on ships, at naval stations and elsewhere but any letter received and retained by the Admiralty, whoever sent it, is included. The letters cover every aspect of Admiralty business.

The largest section of ADM 12 (ADM 12/56-1518) indexes Admiralty in-letters received between 1793 and 1913, filed in ADM 1.

However, some ADM 12 indexes can be used to access documents in:

  • ADM 2 (Admiralty out-letters)
  • ADM 3 (Admiralty minutes 1657-1881)
  • ADM 7 (Admiralty miscellanea, amongst which are case files indexed in ADM 12)
  • ADM 13 (Supplementary Admiralty records 1803-1917)
  • ADM 116 (Admiralty Record Office cases 1852-1965)
  • ADM 137 (records used to compile the official history of the First World War)

The indexes and digests in ADM 12 should not be confused with those in ADM 106 which refer to in-letters kept by the Navy Board, as opposed to the Admiralty. The Navy Board was responsible for the dock yards and issues of supply, unlike the Admiralty which was responsible for the fleet and naval operations.

4. ADM 1: the basics

The records in ADM 1 are split into a number of groups, each one covering a different range of years. Within these year ranges, letters and reports are grouped together according to various other criteria, including the following:

  • the rank of the author
  • first letter of the surname of the author (often in letter ranges e.g. A-F)
  • part of the world the letter sent from
  • naval station letter sent from

These groupings do not remain consistent and vary according to different periods.

Searching ADM 1 using ADM 12 is not always straightforward, because document descriptions in our catalogue vary so much. You may sometimes find it easier to browse through the year ranges.

5. ADM 12 indexes and digests for 1793-1913: content and arrangement

The correspondence in ADM 1 from 1793 to 1913 is indexed and digested in ADM 12/56-1518. There are indexes and digests for each year. The indexes are arranged alphabetically and the digests are arranged by subject.

5.1 What do the indexes contain?

The indexes list the following:

  • authors of letters to the Admiralty
  • people referred to in the content of letters and reports
  • ships (naval and merchant vessels, and foreign ships as well as British - the names of Royal Navy ships are generally shown in red ink and merchant vessels in black ink)

These authors and the people referred to in the letters and reports could be:

  • naval officers, warrant officers or ratings
  • marine officers
  • 'persons of distinction'
  • anyone writing to the Admiralty

5.2 How are the indexes arranged and what do they look like?

Each index volume in ADM 12 covers a range of letters (for example, A to F or O to Z). 

Each index page is divided into three or four main columns:

  • until the end of 1859 there are four main columns, none of which have headings but which list, from left to right: 'Marines'; 'Ships'; 'Naval Officers and Ratings'; and 'Promiscuous' (that is, miscellaneous)
  • from 1860 three main columns, with the headings now shown as 'Naval and Marine Officers'; 'Ships and Persons of Distinction'; and 'Promiscuous'
  • a few years later the third column sometimes shows the heading 'Paymasters' or 'Warrant Officers' and there are sometimes whole pages with the one heading 'Promiscuous'

These main columns are each split into three smaller columns. The headings in these three smaller columns were altered periodically but on the whole they are:

  • date column, headed 'Date of the letter from or concerning the party' (the date of the origin of the correspondence)
  • ADM 1 reference column, headed 'How and where to be found' (a reference to the search terms needed for a search in ADM 1)
  • subject column, headed 'Subject - but in case the letter is marked for the digest, insert only the figures thereon' (this will either be a short, often one-word description, or a digest number/s. The key to the digest numbers is the Alphabetical Index to Admiralty Digest Headings - see section 5.4, below. Sometimes, there are several numbers, indicating that a letter appears in the digests under several headings)

From about 1840 the practice grew of building up files of correspondence, which included drafts or copies of out-letters kept with the in-letters.

From 1860, an extra column was included in the pages of the ADM 12 index volumes to show the date of execution of correspondence generated by in-coming letters and reports. This column also gives the code-letter of the Admiralty branch taking such action, and these references can be a help in indicating that there could be copies of out-letters surviving in ADM 13 or ADM 1.

5.3 What do the digests contain?

A digest entry consists of a summary of the contents of a letter or report.

Because a considerable amount of the original correspondence in ADM 1 has been destroyed, these summaries can often be the only surviving record.

5.4 How are the digests arranged and what do they look like?

The digest volumes are arranged by subject. Each subject has been assigned a number code. The key to these codes is the Alphabetical Index to Admiralty Digest Headings, a set of tables available in the reading rooms at The National Archives at Kew.

The codes were revised several times over the years and there are separate tables for 1800, 1843, 1909, 1935 and 1963.

The number codes are shown cut into the right hand edge of the pages of each digest volume and thus each such numerical section is known as a 'cut'. The subject heads are given at the top of each page.

6. How to use the ADM 12 indexes for 1793-1913 to find an ADM 1 document

To use the index you will need to know the name of a ship or the name of a crew member on a ship, usually one of the senior officers.

Example: A search for letters sent from HMS Dee in 1835

Step 1: Browse through ADM 12/56-1518 in our catalogue to the appropriate index for the year/s and person or ship in question.

Example: Appropriate index for letters sent from HMS Dee in 1835 is Index D-G, 1835, reference ADM 12/303

Step 2: Order and view the original ADM 12 document at The National Archives at Kew.

Example: Order and view ADM 12/303

Step 3: Find the entry or entries in the index for the person or ship in question.

Example: Find entry for HMS Dee in the index

Step 4: Note the abbreviation/s (sometimes just a single letter), usually followed by a number, in the 'How and where to be found' column.

Example: Under HMS Dee, the codes in the 'How and where to be found' column include 'Cap R6'

Step 5: Use the Table of Abbreviations in this guide to interpret the abbreviation. This will be your keyword or phrase for Step 6.

Example: The Table of Abbreviations tells us that Cap R6 is the 6th captain's letter from 1835 and that the captain's surname begins with R

Step 6: Use the advanced search in our catalogue to search within ADM 1, searching by the keyword or phrase established in Step 5 (often including the first letter of the surname of the author) and restricting your search to the relevant years. You may need to experiment with your keywords, often by shortening them to a single word (for example, search for "Commander-in-Chief Jamaica" by using "Jamaica").

Example: Search within ADM 1 using the terms "captain" and "R", restricting search to 1835; this returns the reference ADM 1/2435

Step 7: Order and consult the original ADM 1 document if it survives.

Example: Order and consult ADM 1/2435

7. How to use the ADM 12 indexes for 1793-1913 to find an entry in the digests

The ADM 12 index volumes contain cross-references to the digest volumes, where you can usually find a summary of the correspondence in question. There is often enough information in the digest volumes to make a consultation of the actual correspondence in ADM 1 unnecessary.

Follow Steps 1-3 in section 6, above.

Step 4: Note the number or numbers found in the subject column.

Step 5: Browse through ADM 12/56-1738 in our catalogue to find the digest volumes for the relevant year. The volumes are arranged in ranges of numbers. Find the range that includes the number established in Step 4.

Step 6: Order and view the original ADM 12 digest volume at The National Archives at Kew.

Step 7: Find the entry (sometimes referred to as a 'cut') in the volume which corresponds with the number established in Step 4.

Step 8: There can be a number of digest entries within each cut. You can identify the precise digest entry by matching the dates and the ADM 1 reference that you will have found at Step 3.

8. How to use the ADM 12 digests for 1793-1913 to find an ADM 1 document

You can use the digest volumes as a subject index to ADM 1, allowing you to bypass the indexes altogether. There is no guarantee, however, that the ADM 1 document to which the digest refers actually survives.

Sometimes the summary of the ADM 1 document found in the digest may provide enough information to make consulting ADM 1 unnecessary.

Step 1: Look up a subject in the Alphabetical Index to Admiralty Digest Headings (see section 5.4, ensuring you use the codes revised closest to the year in question) and make a note of the number code.

Step 2: Browse ADM 12 in our catalogue to find the appropriate digest volumes for the number code established in Step 1 and the years you are interested in.

Step 3: Order and view the original ADM 12 digest volume at The National Archives at Kew.

Step 4: Find the entry (sometimes referred to as a 'cut') in the volume which corresponds with the number established in Step 1.

Step 5: There can be a number of digest entries within each cut. You can identify the precise digest entry by matching the dates and the ADM 1 reference that you will have found at Step 3.

9. How to use the ADM 12 indexes and digests to find First World War letters and papers

9.1 How are the records for this period arranged?

The index and digest volumes for the years 1914-1919 are found within the reference range ADM 12/1519-1624B. From 1915 onwards there are two sets of every index and digest, with catalogue references ending in A and B. These begin at ADM 12/1531A. You will need to consult each of these to be sure of gaining maximum information on a particular name or subject.

For this period, many ADM 12 references refer to documents in record series ADM 137. ADM 137 consists of records originally compiled by the Admiralty Historical Section, a branch of the Admiralty charged with writing the official history of the First World War. The volumes now in ADM 137 were accorded HS (Historical Section) numbers by the Admiralty record office.

9.2 How to find letters and papers

Before consulting ADM 12, search for ADM 1 and ADM 137 documents from this period by keyword in our catalogue. An increasing proportion of ADM 137 can be searched in considerabe detail by keyword thanks to an ongoing project.

If you cannot find the person or subject you are looking for with a keyword search, you will have to consult ADM 12. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Browse through ADM 12/1519-1624B in our catalogue to the appropriate index or digest for the year/s and person or ship in question. You will need to consult the Alphabetical Index to Admiralty Digest Headings (see section 5.4) to decide on the appropriate digest code.

Step 2: Order and view the original ADM 12 document at The National Archives at Kew.

Step 3: Find the entry or entries in the index for the person or ship in question.

Step 4: Note the appropriate reference. References found in ADM 12 during this period take one of three forms:

  • references to "Admiralty titled papers", usually a letter and number code, for example Sa 208
  • case numbers, many of which will be found in ADM 116
  • Admiralty date references where the date is given in full, for example "Admiralty 4 July 1916"

Step 5: What to do at this stage depends on the type of reference you have found:

  • for "Admiralty titled papers" references, go to Step 6
  • for case numbers, go to section 11.3
  • for Admiralty date references, go to ADM 1

Step 6: Look for your ADM 12 reference (our example is Sa 208 in 1917) in the ADM 137 Key to find the equivalent HS volume number. The ADM 137 Key is found with the printed version of the catalogue in the reading rooms at The National Archives at Kew (it is headed "Titled papers bound in H.S. volumes"). The key is divided by year, with the ADM 12 references for each year in alphanumeric sequence (our example, Sa 208 in 1917, provides us with HS volume number 1426).

Step 7: Using the advanced search in our catalogue, search by HS number in the "Former reference" field (in the format "HS 1426"), entering an asterisk (*) in the "Keyword options" field (this negates the need for a keyword). This should return the correct ADM 137 piece number, usually the same as the HS volume number (for example, HS volume 1426 returns piece number ADM 137/1426).

Step 8: Order the ADM 137 piece to consult the original document.

10. How to find Admiralty correspondence and other papers after 1919

The ADM 12 index and digest volumes continue until 1974. However, from 1922, when the system of providing references to Admiralty papers in ADM 12 was changed, the indexes becomes less useful as finding aids.

From 1922:

  • use the ADM 12 indexes, from reference ADM 12/1657 onwards, to find case numbers for case files kept in ADM 116 (see section 11.3 for more guidance on case files)

Until around 1938:

  • search ADM 1 by keyword in our catalogue (towards the end of this period the series is rather muddled and includes some late nineteenth and early twentieth century documents as well)

For the Second World War period:

Consult documents in ADM 199 by:

  • finding War History (WH) case numbers in the ADM 12 indexes and digests for this period and using the key in the printed version of ADM 199 (available only in the reading rooms at The National Archives at Kew) to locate the appropriate ADM 199 piece number (there are other references to ADM 199 in ADM 12 but as the original references have not been translated into National Archives references, locating the appropriate ADM 199 piece number is almost impossible)
  • consulting the subject indexes in the printed version of ADM 199 (available only in the reading rooms at The National Archives at Kew) to locate an ADM 199 piece number

Consult documents in ADM 1 by:

  • searching by keyword in our catalogue
  • using the subject indexes found with the printed version of ADM 1 (available only in the reading rooms at The National Archives at Kew)
  • finding Admiralty code numbers in ADM 12 for the years 1938-1945 and searching within ADM 1 in our catalogue, using the code number as your keyword
  • finding piece numbers by using the keys in the printed version of ADM 1 for these years (this will not always work)

After 1938, and until 1952, ADM 1 documents are arranged into Series I and Series II. Series 1 uses the 1963 Alphabetical Index to Admiralty Digest Headings and Series II the 1935 version (see section 5.4). Copies of these indexes are with the printed version of ADM 1.

ADM 116 for this period is also arranged by the same system of Codes using the 1935 and 1963 Digest Tables.

From 1952:

  • ADM 1 is arranged chronologically in yearly batches in accordance with the Admiralty Branch registry designations. A key to the Admiralty Branches, and the registry codes used, is given at the front of the appropriate volume of the printed version of ADM 1.

11. How to find other records referenced in the ADM 12 indexes and digests

11.1 Minutes

For entries in the ADM 12 index volumes with the reference 'Minutes', search ADM 3 within the appropriate dates.

11.2 Out-Letters

Consult ADM 2 and ADM 13/1-69 for out-letters, which were often in response to the in-letters in ADM 1.

From 1869 the out-letters (often the originals returned to the Admiralty Record Office) are included with the ADM 1 files.

11.3 Cases

In about 1847 the practice began of collecting together and binding up all the papers (in-letters, out-letters, minutes and so on) on a particular subject, thereby creating what was known as a 'case'. Each case was given a number.

Case numbers are usually shown in the ADM 12 index volumes (for example, "Case 491"), though this was rarely done for the 1840s and 1850s.

A case often contains documents that extend over a considerable number of years but there may be only one year in index entries that provides the case number.

There is often no digest entry for papers made up into cases.

Most case files are kept in the following record series:

  • ADM 116 (Admiralty cases 1852-1965)

To find a case file, you will need to find the case number in the "Key to Admiralty cases", found with the printed version of ADM 116, only available in the reading rooms in The National Archives at Kew, which will provide you with the appropriate piece number.

If you cannot find a case number reference from ADM 12 in ADM 116, the papers might have been placed in one of the following series or part series:

  • ADM 7/597-629 (Admiralty miscellanea)
  • ADM 7/765-766 (Admiralty miscellanea)
  • ADM 137 (Admiralty Historical Section records 1860-1937)

A "Key to Admiralty cases" is also kept with the printed version of ADM 7, only available in the reading rooms in The National Archives at Kew.

For ADM 137 the key is kept in a separate folder. Alternatively, you can search by subject using the subject indexes filed with the printed version of the series.

However, an increasing proportion of ADM 137 can be searched in considerable detail by keyword in our catalogue thanks to an ongoing project.

Note: from 1911 all Courts Martial records are held in record series ADM 156, Naval Courts Martial records. These records are closed for 75 years.

12. Further reading

The following publication, available in The National Archives library, includes example searches using ADM 12:

Bruno Pappalardo, Tracing Your Naval Ancestors (2003, Public Record Office)

13. Appendix 1 - Table of abbreviations

Numbers

Numbers were used to indicate where in a sequence of letters a particular letter belongs. Sequences were reset at the end of each year. For example, B32 in an index for 1835 indicates letter number 32 in the correspondence with the Commander-in-Chief for Plymouth sent in 1835.

Letters

Abbreviation Short for
A Commander-in-Chief Portsmouth
Academy Royal Naval Academy, Portsmouth (to 1840)
Acct, Acct Genl Accountant General
Admty Admiralty
A G Accountant General
App Appointments
Arch Architect (to 1882)
Army Off Army Officers
AU Admirals Unemployed
B Commander-in-Chief Plymouth
Bd of Revis Board of Revision (1803-1809)
Ber Yd Bermuda Dockyard
B of T Board of Trade
Brit Cons British Consuls
Brit Mus British Museum
C Commander-in-Chief Nore or Sheerness
Ca Commander-in-Chief Chatham (1812-1814)
Cap (followed by a letter)  Captains' Letters (first letter of the surname of captain who wrote the letter)
Cases Cases (from 1847) [See ADM 116]
Cha Commr Commissioner of Chatham Dockyard
Cha Commt Commandant of Marines, Chatham
Cha Div Chatham Division, Royal Marines
Cha Yd Chatham Dockyard
CN Controller of the Navy (1904-1912)
C of V Comptroller of Victualling (1832-1870)
Co Gd Coast Guard Office
Coll of Surg Royal College of Surgeons
Col Off Colonial Office
Commr Commissioners of Home Dockyards
Commr Ab Commissioners of Dockyards Overseas
Compr st Comptroller of Steam Machinery (1837-1849)
Comp Vit Comptroller of Victualling (1832-1870)
Cont Controller of the Navy (1860-1870)
C O P Commissioners of Out Ports
Coun Off Privy Council Office
CP Contract & Purchase Branch (1877-1921)
C S C Civil Service Commission (from 1855)
Ct Gd Coast Guard Office
Ct Mar Courts Martial
Custom Ho Board of Customs
D Commander-in-Chief North Sea (to 1815)
D FO Particular Service Squadron (to 1878)
D Naval Manoeuvres (1887-1890)
D FO Reserve Squadron (1892-1894, 1896-1902)
D FO Flying Squadron (1895)
D Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet (1903-1904)
D Commander-in-Chief Channel Fleet (1905-1909)
D Dockyard Branch (1870-1903, 1914-1915)
Deal Yd Deal Dockyard
Dept Commr Commissioner of Deptford Dockyard (to 1869)
Dept Yd Deptford Dockyard (to 1869)
Devon Yd Devonport Dockyard
D G M Medical Director-General (from 1843)
D G N O Director-General of Naval Ordnance (1866-1868)
D N O Director of Naval Ordnance (from 1868)
Doc Com Doctors' Commons
D of W Director of Works (from 1883)
Dover Dover Packet Station (1837-60)
Drs Comm Doctors' Commons
DS Director of Stores (from 1877)
DT Director of Transports (from 1832)
DV Director of Victualling (from 1870)
DW Director of Works (from 1883)
D Yd Comm Commissioners of Home Dockyards
DYDS Director of Dockyards (from 1886)
E FO Downs (to 1815)
EI Ho East India Company (to 1858)
Elec Tel Telegrams
F Second-in-Command, North Sea (to 1815)
Falmo Falmouth Packet Station (1837-1860)
Field Off Marine Field Officers
FO Foreign Office
For Cons Foreign Consuls
For Off Foreign Office
For Yds Overseas Dockyards
G FO Yarmouth (to 1814)
G Gunnery Branch (1881-1916)
G Coll Royal Naval College, Greenwich (from 1873)
Gib Yd Gibraltar Dockyard
Gov of Pl Governors of Plantations
Gr Hosp Greenwich Hospital
H FO Leith (To 1824)
Ha Commander-in-Chief Baltic (To 1814)
Commander-in-Chief Particular Service Squadron (Baltic) (1854-1856)
Haul Yd Haulbowline Dockyard
Hobbs Pt Hobbs Point Packet Station (1837-1860)
H of Com House of Commons
Holyhd Holyhead Packet Station (1837-1860)
Home Off Home Office
Horse Gds Commander-in-Chief Army
Hosp Naval Hospitals
HPS Home Packet Service (1837-1860)
HSA Historical Section 'A' (1914-1920) [See ADM 137]
HSB Historical Section 'B' (1914-1920) [See ADM 137]
Hydrog Hydrographer
I Commander-in-Chief Channel (to 1815)
India Bd Board of Control (to 1858)
India Ho East India Company (to 1858)
Insp Genl Inspector-General of Naval Works
Insp Sht Inspection Sheets
K FO Guernsey (to 1815)
Keyham Yd Keyham Steam Factory, Plymouth
L FO Cork (to 1902)
L Commander-in-Chief Particular Service Squadron (1844-1847)
L Commander-in-Chief Ireland (1902-1922)
L ABC etc Lieutenants' Letters
Law Off Law Officers' Opinions
Lloyds Lloyds
LOO Law Officers' Opinions
L'pool Liverpool Packet Station (1837-1860)
M FO Dublin (to 1815)
Ma FO Lisbon (to 1839)
Ma Commander-in-Chief Particular Service Squadron (1848-1849)
Ma Commander-in-Chief Western Squadron (1854-4)
Ma F.0. Fast Service Squadron (1896)
Malta Yd Malta Dockyard
Mar Cap Marine Captains' Letters
Mar Ct Mar Marine Courts Martial
Mar Fd Off Marine Field Officers
Mar Lt Marine Lieutenants' Letters
Mar Off Marine Office (from 1859)
Mar Paymt Paymaster of Marines
Mar P Off Marine Pay Office
Mar Pro Marine Promiscuous
Mar Town Comm. Commandant of Marines in Town (1804-1831)
M Arty Marine Artillery
MDG Medical Director-General (from 1843)
Min Board Minute [See ADM 3]
Misc Off Miscellaneous (Government) Offices
N Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean
Nav Hosp Naval Hospitals
N Bd Navy Board (to 1832)
N Off Navy Board or Naval Officers (ie Navy Board Officials) (to 1832)
NP Off Navy Pay Office (to 1836)
NS Naval Stores Branch (from 1870)
O Commander-in-Chief North America (to 1815)
O Commander-in-Chief Halifax (1816-1830
Ord in Cl Orders in Council
Ord Off Ordnance Board (to 1855)
P Commander-in-Chief Jamaica (To 1872, 1874-1886, 1891-1902)
P Commander-in-Chief North America & West Indies (1873, 1887-1890, 1903-1912)
Palace Palace
Passage Ret Passage Returns
Paymastr Paymaster of the Navy
Paym Genl Paymaster-General
Pem Yd Pembroke Dockyard
Petitions Petitions
Phy Physician
Pkt St Packet Service (1837-1860)
Ply Commd Commandant of Marines, Plymouth
Ply Commr Commissioner of Devonport
Ports Commr Commissioner of Portsmouth Dockyard
Ply Div Plymouth Division, Royal Marines
Ply Yd Devonport Dockyard
PN Purchase Naval Branch (1870-1877)
Police Off Admiralty Police Office
Portpk Portpatrick Packet Station (1837-1860)
Ports Commd Commandant of Marines, Portsmouth
Ports Commr Commissioner of Portsmouth Dockyard
Ports Div Portsmouth Division, Royal Marine
Ports Yd Portsmouth Dockyard
Post Off General Post Office
Precepts Precepts
Pro ABC etc Promiscuous Correspondents
PS Packet Service (1837-1860)
Pt Serv Packet Service (1837-1860)
PV Purchase Victualling Branch (1870-1877)
Q Commander-in-Chief Leeward Islands (to 1821)
Qa Commander-in-Chief Brazils (& Pacific to 1844) (to 1902)
Qa Commander-in-Chief South Atlantic (1903-1904)
Qa F.0. 2nd Cruiser Squadron (1905-1908)
Qa Commander-in-Chief North America, West Indies (from 1915)
R Commander-in-Chief Cape of Good Hope
Reg Off Regulating, or Rendezvous Office
Register Off Register Office of Shipping and Seamen (1837-1851)
Rt Cl Vic Yd Royal Clarence Victualling Yard, Gosport
RMO Marine Office (from 1859)
RN Coll Royal Naval College, Portsmouth (to 1873)
RN Coll Royal Naval College, Greenwich (from 1873)
R of C Registrar of Contracts (1864-1869)
R Off T Regulating or Rendezvous Office
Roy Vic Yd Royal Victoria Victualling Yard, Deptford
Russ Sq FO Russian Squadron (1795-1800)
R Wm Yd Royal William Victualling Yard, Plymouth
RWV Yd Royal William Victualling Yard, Plymouth
S Commander-in-Chief East Indies (to 1860)
S Commander-in-Chief China (from 1860)
S Ships Branch (1870-1903, 1912-1915)
SA Air Finance Branch (1914-1915)
Sa Commander-in-Chief East Indies (from 1860)
Sec St Secretary of State
Sc H Bd Sick and Hurt Board (to 1806)
Sheer Yd Sheerness Dockyard
Solor, Solr Solicitor
Southampton Southampton Packet Station (1837-1860)
SS Secretary of State
Stat Off HM Stationery Office
Storek Genl Storekeeper-General 91832-1869)
Surg Hall Royal College of Surgeons
Surv Surveyor (1832-1860)
Sc Wd Bd Sick and Hurt Board (to 1806)
T Commander-in-Chief Newfoundland (to 1824)
T Transport Department (from 1862)
T Bd Transport Board (1794-1817)
Tel Telegrams
Town Com Commandant of Marines in Town (1804-1831)
Trans Off Transport Board (1794-1817)
Treasy Treasury
Trinity Ho Trinity House
Trs Bd Transport Board (1794-1817)
V F.0. Detached Squadron (to 1856, 1868-1870, 1872-1873, 1876)
V F.0. Particular Service Squadron (1857)
V Commander-in-Chief Channel Squadron (1858-1863, 1865-1867, 1871, 1874-1875, 1877-1900)
V Commander-in-Chief Atlantic Fleet (1864)
V Commander-in-Chief Channel Fleet (1905-1909)
V Victualling Branch (from 1870)
Va FO Flying Squadron (1869-73, 1876-7)
Va FO Detached Squadron (1874-1875, 1880-1882, 1886-1900)
Va FO Cruiser Squadron (1904)
Va FO 1st Cruiser Squadron (1905-1911)
V Bd Victualling Board (to 1830)
VD Victualling Branch (from 1870)
Vg Bd Victualling Board (to 1830)
W Commander-in-Chief Woolwich or Thames
War Off War Office
Waymo; Weymt Weymouth Packet Station (1837-1860)
Wool Commd Commandant of Marines, Woolwich
Wool Commr Commissioner of Woolwich Dockyard (To 1869)
Wool Div Woolwich Division, Royal Marines
Wool Yd Woolwich Dockyard (To 1869)
X Commander-in-Chief West Africa (from 1830)
X Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet (1907-1913)
X Commander-in-Chief Grand Fleet (1914-1919)
Y Commander-in-Chief Pacific (1845-1905)
Z Commander-in-Chief Australia (1859-1913)

14. Appendix 2 - Further indexes and other means of reference to ADM 1

14.1 Miscellaneous indexes and registers of the Admiralty and Secretariat Papers

Many of these indexes, found in ADM 12/1-55, refer to documents dating earlier than 1793 when the Admiralty and Secretariat Index and Digest begins.

Some of these indexes were experimental, compiled in the search to develop the best possible Index and Digest. The references they provide cannot, therefore, now be related directly to the arrangement of the documents in ADM 1.

14.2 Name index to the writers of captains' letters 1693-1792

This index volume in ADM 10/8 has at the front a key to the location of the captains' letters found in ADM 1/1435-2733.

14.3 Indexes to captains' letters 1793-1815

The index to captains' letters is continued for the period 1793-1815 in four volumes, only available in the reading rooms at The National Archives at Kew. However, the index extends only to the letter P and, for that letter, only to 1812. It provides full references to the original documents in ADM 1.

14.4 Miss EHB Fairbrother's Indexes and Lists

These unpublished lists and indexes compiled by EHB Fairbrother in 1928, which include some officers' names, are only available at The National Archives library at Kew. They are a little haphazard but consist of indexes to:

  • admirals' despatches from the Leeward Islands (1779-1787) in ADM 1/312
  • letters from unemployed admirals (1693-1804) in ADM 1/577-580
  • letters from officers of marines (1804-1839) in ADM 1/3246-3357
  • letters from the Custom House (1694-1839) in ADM 1/3863-3877
  • letters from the Transport Department (1704-1839) in ADM 1/3729-3774
  • letters Relating to Ireland (1691-1806) in ADM 1/3988-3991
  • letters from the Register Office of Merchant Seamen (1696-1715) in ADM 1/3997
  • letters from Secretaries of State (1689-1694) in ADM 1/4080
  • letters from the College of Surgeons (1718-1816) in ADM 1/4280-4281
  • letters from the Treasury (1698-1744) in ADM 1/4283-4285
  • miscellaneous letters and reports (1686-1839) in ADM 1/5114-5124
  • petitions (1793-1839) in ADM 1/5125-5137
  • Orders in Council (1673-1805) in ADM 1/5138-5168, ADM 1/5170-5181, ADM 1/5189-5190, ADM 1/5198 and ADM 1/5201
  • copies of Orders in Council (1660-1805) in ADM 1/5246-5252

14.5 Various indexes in the printed version of The National Archives' catalogue

These indexes, found in the printed version of the National Archives's catalogue at Kew, include:

  • letters from the College of Surgeons (1718-1816), indexing names of officers and warrant officers appearing in the correspondence
Guide reference: Military Records Information 39

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