In the eighteenth century, the British Government required that records be kept for all Royal Navy and merchant ships, detailing all the men who served on them: when they joined and when they left the vessel; in what capacity they served; their date and place of birth; and various other pieces of information relevant to their time on board. These records are called the ship’s musters and were used primarily to determine wages owed. For a fuller account of musters click here. The musters enable us to follow Cook through his naval career and show details of all the men who sailed with him. As such they are very important documents.
A composite listing of (nearly all) the men appearing on the Muster rolls for Cook’s time in Newfoundland and his three voyages to the Pacific can be seen by clicking here.
For the family trees of many of the men click here.
The musters for Cook have been organised into three broad groups below.