JcktMy name is Simon Wills and I’m a lr Willsy pic5_edited-1maritime genealogist, history journalist, and writer.

This site helps you interpret photos of British seafarers from about 1850 to 1950, and gives some tips on how to trace their careers. If you have maritime ancestors, or some old photos of men who look like they went to sea, then I hope to be able to assist you. Use the navigation bar to find the type of seafarer that you’re interested in, or just browse the photos in each section.

It’s surprising how much you can find out from a maritime photo. Often a quite detailed story can be pieced together, and on these webpages I will show you some examples.

If you enjoy this site and want to find out more, then I’ve written a heavily-illustrated book on the subject that you can order via Amazon, your local bookshop, or the publisher’s website.

Tracing your Seafaring Ancestors: A Guide to Maritime Photographs for Family Historians is published by Pen & Sword (2016).