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.
Microform Publication(s) Available:
M1880, Proofs of Citizenship Used to Apply for Seamen's Protection Certificates for the Port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1792-1886