The Inscription Maritime was a ‘recruitment’ system, registering every man who exercised one of the maritime professions. In that way, the Inscription Maritime worked as a military census to ensure the supply of men to the Navy in case of war. At the same time, the state provided many privileges in return for the naval service, such as tax exemptions, military pensions, free education and life insurance for the families of the listed seamen.
The ‘matricules des gens de mer’ (registers of seamen) are organised by port and classed by rank. In the Defense Historical Archive of Toulon we can find the registers of the seamen and ship-construction workers for the port of La Ciotat. Available are also the registers of mechanics and stokers from 1857 onwards. [codes 14 P 132 - 14 P 180]