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Archival Description

1 result retrieved for 563421
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Proofs of Citizenship Used to Apply for Seamen's Protection Certificates for the Port of Philadelphia, compiled 1792 - 1861

ARC Identifier 563421 / MLR Number UD 1066A

Series from Record Group 36: Records of the U.S. Customs Service, 1745 - 1997

Details | Scope & Content | Archived Copies | Hierarchy |
Creator(s):Department of the Treasury. Customs Service. (07/31/1789 - 03/03/1927)
Type(s) of Archival Materials:Textual Records

National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RD-DC-1), National Archives Building, 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20408. PHONE: 202-357-5385; FAX: 202-357-5936; EMAIL:

Inclusive Dates:1792 - 1861
Date Note:While the official practice of issuing certificates did not begin until the passage of the Act of 1796, there are some proofs dated 1792-1796.
Part Of:Record Group 36: Records of the U.S. Customs Service, 1745 - 1997
Arrangement:Arranged by year, thereunder alphabetically by name of the seaman.
Function and Use:Seamen's Protection Certificates (SPCs) were issued by the collector of customs at individual ports of entry to merchant seamen and masters of merchant vessels engaged in foreign trade. Instructions for their issuance were provided by the Act For The Relief and Protection of American Seamen (1 Stat. 477) signed into law on May 28, 1796. This action was in response to the detention and impressment of Amercian seamen by the government of Great Britian following the Revolutionary War. Although SPCs were proof of American citizenship seamen were not required to apply for them or carry them while serving on U.S. merchant vessels. Certificates were issued only after the seaman produced a proof of citizenship, and applicants were required to pay 25 cents for each certificate issued. The collector did not normally retain a copy of the certificate issued but did maintain the proofs and a record of issuance of the certificate. As the threat to their safety declined, and the diplomatic strength of the U.S. Government increased, the need for SPCs lessened.
Access Restriction(s):Unrestricted
Use Restriction(s):Unrestricted
Microform Publication(s) Available:M1880, Proofs of Citizenship Used to Apply for Seamen's Protection Certificates for the Port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1792-1886
Variant Control Number(s):HMS/MLR Entry Number: UD 1066A
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