Fonds consists of microfilmed records in selected series of the Colonial Office records. Reproductions of shipping returns and records related to the international marine economy predominate. Shipping returns usually detailed vessels entered and cleared, masters' names, vessel rig and tonnage, place of vessel construction and registration, owners, cargo, origins and destinations.
The fonds also includes entry books (out-going correspondence and attachments), acts ( proclamations, ordinances, colonial legislation), government gazettes (official gazettes published in the colonies), miscellanea (colonial newspapers, Blue Books of Statistics, assorted reports and memoranda), and indices and registers.
Records are arranged in 21 series: The series relevant to Newfoundland are: Series CO 195. Newfoundland. Entry Books, 1623-1867; Series CO 199. Newfoundland. Miscellanea, 1677-1838.
The series relevant to Canada are: Series CO 193. New Brunswick. Miscellanea, 1786-1865; Series CO 221. Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. Miscellanea, 1748-1866; Series CO 228. Prince Edward Island. Acts, 1770-1864; Series CO 306. Vancouver Island. Acts, 1853-1863; Series CO 308. Vancouver Island. Government Gazettes, 1864-66.
The series relevant to other British colonies are : Series CO 27, Bahamas. Shipping returns, 1721-1815; Series CO 33. Barbados. Shipping returns, 1678-1818; Series CO 41. Bermuda. Shipping returns, 1715-1820; Series CO 76. Dominica. Shipping returns, 1764-1819; Series CO 106. Grenada. Shipping returns, 1763-1816; Series CO 142. Jamaica. Shipping returns, 1765-1818; Series CO 157. Leeward Islands. Shipping returns, 1863-1720; Series CO 187. Nevis. Shipping returns, 1704-29; Series CO . St. Christopher. Shipping returns, 1763-1787; Series CO 265. St. Vincent. Shipping returns, 1763-1812; Series CO 290. Tobago. Shipping returns, 1766-1815.
The remaining series are: Series CO 325 Colonies General. Miscellanea, 1790-1854; Series CO 390 Board of Trade. (Commercial), Miscellanea, 1675-1731; Series CO Indexes and registers, 1703-1898.
Great Britain. Colonial Office