ADM Explanatory Notes

Notes on Irish Coastguard Establishment Books, etc.

By Eileen Weston and Rosemary Milton

Irish Books

English Books for Ireland

Ships Record Books

ADM 175/13


ADM 175/


ADM 175/11 c.1820 then a big gap


ADM 175/17 1830-44


ADM 175/19 1845-62


ADM 175/20 1863-66


ADM 175/21 1866-69 {Limerick District only.}


The Preventive Waterguard began in Sept 1819, commenced by (Sir), James Dombrain, who had been deputy to the first comptroller of the Preventive Waterguard (HANCHETT). A summary of his career in Ireland can be found in his evidence to the Parliamentary Commissions on the Tobacco trade 1844, (Ref; Parliamentary Papers).

The Preventive Waterguard became part of the new COASTGUARD in 1822. It has become obvious in indexing all the Irish Coastguard books that there there were two sets, that is those kept in Ireland (at Customs House, Dublin - up to 1848) and those kept in England for Ireland, at Custom House, London, 1830 onwards. ADM 175/13, 14, 15, 16, 18 - all appear to be Irish Custom House books. For English Head Office books for Ireland, the references are ADM 175/1, 17,19, 20 & 21. The two sets of books overlap in the period 1830-48.

The Irish Comptroller General was later made Inspector General (to coincide with the appointment of Inspector General to Scotland), and was placed under the general control of Comptroller General of Coastguard in England.
This explains why duplicate records were kept between c.1829/30 & 1848. In 1848 the office of Inspector General for Coastguard in Ireland was abolished, the similar post in Scotland had already been made redundant, consequently ADM 175/18 ends in 1848 and is the last of Irish H/O books.

There are therefore two records for all men serving between 1829 and 1848. Irish Indexes refer to Irish reference numbers in the books, and English H/O books (for Ireland) refer to English reference numbers in the books, this means that the same man has both Irish and English reference numbers.

In 1845, all the Coastguards were issued with Seamen's tickets (BT114, index, & BT113 lists). The Irish references for each man can be seen in ADM 175/18 and also in the English H/O books for Ireland ADM 175/19.
There are separate Irish indexes and the page numbers given to Irish books. In some cases there are two sets of numbers shown in the new indexes. These also refer to numbers in the top right hand corner of pages, and at the bottom of pages. In one case at least, there are two or more books bound into one, with several sequences of numbers.

Index volumes are;


ADM 175/81

1822 - 29



c.1820 - Apr 1833


/100 Ireland only

May 1833 - 48


also* ADM 6/199 & ADM 175/101


English for Ireland

ADM 175/97

These books also cover England, Scotland and Wales.



* The following are Naval Coastguard books - ADM 6/199 and ADM 175/101, but also show men nominated by the Customs.

Nomination books ADM 175/74-80 cover Ireland (& England, Scotland & Wales).
ADM 175/74 also contains at the end of the book a list of early Preventive Waterguards sent to Ireland.
ADM 175/1 contains a few early Irish Stations besides England, Scotland & Wales.


Revenue Cruisers


under Naval Control

No records


under Coastguard control

No records

-(but in nomination books from 1823)

These are shown in Navy Lists (printed books in Index Room) and can be traced in ADM 119/series.

District/Drill/Coastguard Ships/Guard Ships - see ADM 175/ (see Chart & Notes)

under Queenstown (became Limerick 1867)






also for a short period Lough Swilly


N.B. Queenstown had formerly been known as Cove (of Cork) and today is Cobh (Cork).
Kingstown (and Dunleary) is now Dun Laoghaire.

Revenue Cruiser appointments from c.1823 are shown in ADM 175/97

Revenue Cruisers were under Naval Control 1816-1821, but Coastguard books only began in 1824. Many men entered the Coastguard from Revenue Cruisers. The Coastguard under control of the Customs was formed from the Preventive Waterguard and the Revenue Cruisers (in Ireland) in 1822, although Irish records still often refer to 'Preventive Station' until much later. In England the Riding Officers, now renamed the Mounted Guard were incorporated with the Coastguard, there were no Mounted Guard in Ireland.
The Royal Navy reserved the right to appoint Coastguards from 1831, see ADM 6/199 & ADM 175/101, but these names also appear in ADM 175/97 & 100.

Royal Irish Constabulary records, HO/184 Printed Books.
These books contain a good deal of information about Irish Coastguards, (who had constabulary duties in Ireland, connected with the suppression of Illegal whiskey distillation, also with keeping order in times of trouble). The books begin about 1843 and show officers only, but also counties in which stations are located, and various other valuable details. As Irish places are difficult to locate, these books could give assistance to genealogists. Coastguard officers are shown in the Navy Lists from c.1836, but not where they were serving. The stations begin to be named in 1849.

Irish Books kept at Custom House, Dublin;

ADM 175/13



mid 1821-1822


Sept 1822-Sept 1826?





End of Irish Custom House H/O Books - coinciding with abolition of office of Insp. General Ireland.

The Establishment Books end in 1866 (except for ADM 175/121??? which goes on until 1867 or 69)
The Coastguard records go on until c.1878 in the Ships Record Books (also known as Coastguard Ships/District and Drill Ships - details can be found in each years Naval Lists - on shelves in Index Room).
The indexes for these ships begin in 1858 and usually go on until 1878. They will be indexed station by station, unlike the earlier books, they show the man's place and date of birth, also his continuous service number and whether he was a civilian or Naval Coastguard.
This is helpful in tracing pensions and naval records. After a certain age, men appear to have been transferred to the 'Civilian List'. Those on the 'Fleet List' were liable to call up as reservists. Many civilian and naval coastguards served in the Crimean War, eg. HMS Cressy, Cunberland, etc. This means that the ships books ADM 33/series can be searched.

Coastguards are often shown on separate pages, most ships books contain an alphabetical list, so it is a simple task to look up the name, without searching the entire book.
In the case of the Ships Record Books ADM 175 series, it oftenshows the page numbers against the name. By refering to the appropriate pages, the Coastguard stations can be traced. Other details are also shown such as Good Conduct Badges, TM - Trained Man and dates of retirement, etc, and place of birth, (sometimes not altogether accurate, possibly baptismal date rather then birth).

As they transferred from one Ships Book to another, these can be traced in ADM 175 index and also in Navy Lists.
Naval pensions can be traced in ADM 29 (unfortunately only the applications) but to gain a pension it details his entire career both naval record (at least 7 or 8 years to qualify him to enter the Coastguard.) and his Coastguard record. The transition from Royal Navy to Coastguard will show up in column showing 'Rank' when a man suddenly changes from AB (Able Seaman) to Boatman. All Coastguards, except Naval Officers, entered as 'Boatman' and progressed through the ranks of 'Commisioned Boatman', then 'Chief Boatman' and possibly 'Chief Boatman In Charge'. From about 1860 some were promoted to 'Chief Officer - 2nd Class'.

For 'Civilian' pensions - see ADM 175/23 series and PMG/23 (see note).
The Ships Record Books overlap the Establishment Books from 1858-66 (and in one case 1867/9?)
There is additional information in the Ships Record Book re place and date of birth and particularly continuous service numbers which can then be traced in ADM 188, (and earlier records ADM 139).

In the earlier days under the Customs (1820-1856), many Coastguards entered from Revenue Cruisers and these can be traced from from 1824 in ADM 119, once the name of the ship is known.
Many men entered the (Customs) or Revenue Coastguard as it was known from the the Royal Navy and when their ship is known from their first entry, these can usually be traced in ADM 37/38, etc. Many of these ships are marked 'D', which signifies a 'Description Book'. These give complete details t-if birth, colouring, etc.

After 1856, even more men entered from the Royal Navy and each will have Naval records.
The Civilian Pensions for Coastguards are shown in ADM 23 and also in PMG 23 series. (PMG 23 duplicates ADM 23 but goes on longer).
It is worthwhile sometimes, if men were serving between 1830 and 1848 in Ireland, to trace them in both Irish ans English H/O books for Ireland as sometimes extra details are given.

In 'Irish' books there are 'Irish' references.
In English H/O books for Ireland there are English-type references which can be traced 1820-1862 in ADM 175/97 and ADM 175/98 (incorrectly shown in PRO Naval Genealogy as 'English Books', they actually cover English, Irish, Welsh and Scottish Coastguards).
Once the NOMINATION number has been found it can be traced (in numerical order) in Nomination Books, (see numbers in CG Index ADM 175).
In the 'Irish' books completely different numbers are used, but it is fairly easy to see that they are the same men, by date and station, etc.
For Revenue Cruisers - see ADM 119, but first entry can often be found in ADM 175/97 1823-1841 and ADM 175/98 1842-1856.
In 1856 Revenue Cruisers became 'tenders' to Guard or Drill Ships and are shown in Navy Lists. The Ships Books are usually bound in the same volume as the 'Parent Ship'.

Authors - Eileen Weston and Rosemary Milton

3 Comments · 26981 Reads · Print  -> Posted by Tony on May 05 2007


#1 | dikabyrne on 30/04/2008 16:33:20
terrific information
#2 | calf on 04/02/2011 14:15:44
This info is fantastic.
#3 | beeleye on 30/09/2011 11:08:47
Fantastic information. It will make searching for my great great grandfather much easier. Thank you so much for all your hard work!

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