The 1796, "An Act for the Relief and Protection of Seaman" was signed into law. This act authorized the issuance of certificates commonly known as seamen's protection certificates. The certificate was issued based upon a declaration made by someone who knew the seaman was a citizen. Extant declarations have been microfilmed by the National Archives and some are available in digital form on FamilySearch. Certificates were issued until 1875 and then again during the first World War.