2 Replies Latest reply on May 22, 2019 12:14 PM by Andrew Bernos

    Deciphering US Navy Enlistment Rendezvous Ratings 1866




      This is my first post here so I apologize for any 'forum mistakes' I may make.


      I need assistance deciphering Naval Enlisted Ratings from the US Navy Enlistment Rendezvous 1855-1891.  I believe I have located my 4th GGF on

      one enlistment report... I'll try to add the link:



      His name was George Hunt and I believe this to be his enlistment into the Navy.  I'm trying to specifically decipher his enlistment rating indicated on the document.  Here is a snapshot of the document:

      George Hunt Rating

      His rating is listed next to the check mark on the right.  I'm guessing the first part is '2 e' which I'm assuming would be a modern "E2" (Structural Mechanic) rating.  George was an ironmonger and reportedly became a 'master welder' so that kind of fits.  The problem I am having is figuring out what is written after the '2e'. The same marking is given to others on the page.  The only similarity I can see between the others is that they all joined with experience, so I'm assuming this may indicate a higher ranking.  I'm also wondering if this may indicate 'firefighting' or 'studying firefighting' as that appeared to be part of the progression in Naval Engineering.  I've tried matching the writing to other letters on the page but it seems to be a unique symbol or abbreviation.  


      Any info would be GREATLY appreciated!  I have another question regarding George's naval past but I'll start a separate question.

        • Re: Deciphering US Navy Enlistment Rendezvous Ratings 1866

          Dear Mr. Bernos,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          In looking at the “Rating” column on the Rendezvous Return, one can see that there are only a limited number of entries listed of which we could decipher a few: Lands (Landsman), Sea (Seaman), what looks like a possible C H (Coal Heaver).  The Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) has a web page that outlines the history of Navy ratings (https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/c/enlisted-ratings-in-u-s-navy-1775-1969.html) that proved very helpful in this analysis.


          In looking at the rating entry for George Hunt, the entry begins with what we believe to be a 2c for 2nd class.  As for the rest of the entry, the big letter could be a capital letter “F”, while the two lower case letters on top of each other are rather indistinct.  That being said, the available evidence from the Rendezvous Return and the NHHC web page suggests that the rating is Fireman 2nd class. 


          The reasons for the suggestion are two.  First, the Navy had very few ratings at the time were one could enlist as a 2nd class anything.  The Fireman rating was established in 1842, while the 1st and 2nd class distinctions were created in 1847, so the timing works for the existence of 2nd Class Fireman in 1866.  Second, your ancestor’s previous experience as an ironmonger would make him a prime recruit for working in the hot engineering spaces of a mid-19th century steam warship.


          We hope this response is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

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