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Thomas appears in several records associated with Gt Yarmouth and Hull. He is with his mother Hannah, and sister, also Hannah in 1851 and 1861 census, both of which record him as born in 1816. We can also find him in the mariners records in Find My Past, where his Master Mariner application and certificate show him born 15 Feb 1814.
Whether this is a census inaccuracy or what he told the Customs House when he started working on the ships is not known, as we haven’t found his baptism yet! (It is possible this is because he was born two years before his parents married). We have to link the family through the census. His application for a freight ship in 1850 and Passenger ship in 1857 give his history of all the ships he worked on:
Thomas Gotts ref 39.947 Master's certificate:
Born at Yarmouth 15th February 1814, has been employed for 12 years in British Merchant Service in the Foreign and Coasting Trade. Issued at Yarmouth 9th December 1850. ( Now aged 36)
With it, his Master's claim for service dated 21st October 1850. This shows ships he has worked on:
All are in the Foreign & Coasting trade:
Henry, based at Newcastle, 250 tons, served as Apprentice, Baltic trade, from January 1828 to January 1832
Henry, based at Newcastle, 250 tons, served as Seaman, Baltic trade, from January 1832 to January 1834
Spring (of Yarmouth), based at Yarmouth, 190 tons, served as Seaman, from May 1834 to April 1835
Alexander, based at London, 160 tons, served as 2nd Mate, Mediterranean trade, from April 1835 to April 1837
Thomas Baring, based at Yarmouth, 105 tons, served as Master, from April 1837 to February 1839
Pursuit, based at Yarmouth, 84 tons, served as Mate, from Feb 1839 to May 1845
Thomas Baring, based at Yarmouth, 105 tons, served as Master, from May 1845 to Oct 1850
Witness Benjamin Jay, Kings St, Yarm. Thomas's address is via the Custom House Yarmouth.
There are lots of newspaper reports showing the ships when he was Master arriving at and leaving port for their journeys . There is a separate record for him as a mariner on the Spring of Yarmouth aged 22 in Nov 22 with the reference 4149.
In 1857 Thomas applied to be examined for passenger ships as Master. His address is given as 38 William Street Pottery(?), Hull, with the same date of birth and seaman's number. He passed this on 9th September 1857.
He is granted his Certificate of Competency as Master of a Home Trade Passenger Ship on 11th September 1857.
His Statement of Service continues:
Pursuit and Thomas Baring, from Gt Yarmouth, as Master, from Feb 1840 to Nov 1850
Hannah, from Gt Yarmouth, as Master from 1851 to 1853
Oscar, from London, as Mate, from Dec 1854 to Aug 1855
City of Norwich, from Lowestoft, as Mate, from Aug 1855 to May 1856
Velocity, 26513, from London, as Mate, from May to Sept 1856
North Sea, 5595, from Hull, as Mate, from Feb to April 1857
Irwell, 5348, from Hull, as Mate, from July to Aug 1857.
He states these certificates as covering 13 year at sea, having been at sea a total of 19 years.
(So now aged 43)