Sources of information for ships research

20th February 2006, 23:14
I have started this new thread to try and pull together sources of information that may help those engaged with ships research.

Could I ask that anyone adding to this thread keeps to this topic rather than putting information about specific ships here.

Some of the information here will be pasted from previous threads.



20th February 2006, 23:17
(Information copied from an earlier thread I started on first joining SN)

The NMM website has a lot of information about their collections and how to undertake research - check out

Here is a brief description of some of the Research guides available from this site and what they are about. This could be of interest to anyone studying the history of vessels and those that manned them. Most of the documents are held in the Caird library at the NMM. I visited them last week and got a readers ticket there and then (you need ID); the staff were very helpful:

This describes the records that may be available (not all still exist!) on muster rolls and crew assignments back to 1747. It says that for 1861 to 1938 there is a 10% sample in the National Archives at Kew, the NMM hold records for 1861, 1862 and years ending in 5 - the remainter are in the Maritime History Research Collection in Canada. For 1939-50 agreements, crew lists and logbooks are in the National Archives. For 1951-1977 again 10% are at Kew, the NMM has 90% of material for years ending in 5 and the remainder in Canada. From 1978 onwards crew agreements are held by the General Register and REcord Office of Shipping and Seamen in Cardiff. Indexes of the Canada material are held in the NMM library. British merchant ships had to keep logs from 1850 though only about 20% survive apart from WW1 and WW2 years. There is information about where existing logs can be found.

This contains a short bibliography of books in the NMM Caird library. The full catalogue is available on line with search facilities.

This provides a list of places other than the NMM that have records and information related to mercantile history and an overview of what kind of information they hold.

This provides information about types of records that may exist and where they may be checked out. It includes Lloyd's Register, Lloyds Lists and indexes - The Guildhall library has a partial index pre-1838, NMM has microfilms from 1838-1927 and there is a card index at Guildhall for 1927 onwards. Passenger records of all ships arriving at or leaving British ports between 1890 and 1960 are in the National Archive at Kew. Final fates of ships can also be traced in the Lloyd's register.

The Mercantile Navy List compiled by the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen was published from 1849-1855 and 1857-1976 apart from 1941-1946. It contains a comprehensive listing and basic information for all merchant vessels registered under the British flag including many not listed in Lloyds. There is no complete set but the NMM covers 1857-1976.

This guide lists some of the papers produced for the House of Commons related to shipping. They fall into three main categories - Board of Trade casualty returns, BOT Enquiry Reports and other special reports. Vessels listed include wrecked or mssing ships, steam packets, ships built in certain ports and vessels used for emigrants.

This guide outlines the main sources for researching the activities of merchant ships and their crews during the First World War, 1914 to 1918. Although overlapping some of the other guides this includes where to look for information about merchant ships brought into the Royal Navy, ship movements in war time (not publically available at the time), crews and gallantry awards, ships sunk by war causes, ships sunk by marine causes and cargo.

This is a brief introduction to the Handy Shipping Guide which was produced between 1887 and 1988. It provides two main sources of information. (a) A list of all foreign, continental and coastwise ports and the ships presently to sail thereto, with details of the loading port, dock, closing date for cargo and,frequently, ship owners. (b) Custom clearances, inwards and outwards, for every major British port. Later issues include lists of vessels outward and homeward bound etc.

This contains additional information about tracing individuals to supplement guides C1 and C2.

This is a list of about 20 books covering the history of P&O held in the NMM Caird library. It is a far from complete list of what has been published it seems!

The NMM holds about a quarter of a million negatives, a million prints and fifteen hundred albums! A large proportion cannot be copied for copyright reasons. The guide tells you how to find out what is there. I can vouch for this service as they were able to trace a full set of plans for the RMS Morea which I am researching and said these could be provided for about £200 but I couldn't publish them without permission. (I will have to see what Father Christmas brings!) The collection includes negatives covering warships and naval life transferred from the Admiralty and other sources; a merchant ship collection from sailing vessels to the 1980s; life aboard ship; shipbuilding etc. etc.

This guide is a bibliography covering books etc. in the NMM dealing with the Suez Canal.

There is also a Film Archive and Art - painting, prints and drawings.

The NMM has a vast archive - much of what is in it is unique. For obvious reasons it can't be taken off the premises so if you want to research it you will need to plan one or more visits to the NMM. I have only just scratched the surface but hope the above will be useful to others.

20th February 2006, 23:24
(This information was provided to me by SN member Ron Stringer in a PM and is repeated here for the benefit of other members with his agreement. The message was in response to a question I posed "How would you trace all the voyages of a specific ship?" This information supplements the information about guides issued by the NMM in the previous posting)

There are two possible sources of this information - the ship's logbooks and the voyage record cards created by Lloyd's.

The logbooks (and crewlists) are held by the University of Newfoundland whilst the Voyage Record Cards are held in London's Guildhall Museum Library. You may find the information below to be of use.

Voyage Record Cards

For anyone wishing to find out which ports (and in which order) they visited when they were at sea, it is possible to consult the Lloyd's List Voyage Record Card Index held by London's Guildhall Museum Library. For those unfamiliar with Lloyd's List, it was (and still is) a daily newspaper reporting matters of interest to insurers of ships and other large risks that are insured at Lloyd's of London.

Of interest to seafarers are the daily reports of the movements of shipping - arrival in port, sailing from a port, passing a signal station or being involved in an accident or casualty. A record of the date and type of each report about a vessel was made by Lloyds on a card index, specifically on the index card for that vessel. The idea was that anyone seeking information on a ship would be able to check that ship's Voyage Record card, note the dates recorded and then look up the details of each report in the archived copy of Lloyd's List for each date of interest.

Instead of just junking all the old Voyage Record cards (as the UK Government tried to do with the British Merchant Navy crew lists and ships' log books), Lloyd's passed them over to the Guildhall Museum Library where, free of charge, they are available for examination by the general public. Provide the Library staff with a list of ships' names (giving net tonnage or port of registry for each ship) and the year or years concerned, and they will produce the relevant index cards. You can then copy out the information, or photocopy it on the premises.

If required, they will provide you with copies for a small fee and mail them to you.

NOTE: If you are going to attend the Library to view the Voyage Record index cards, be aware that the staff require 2 working days notice in advance to extract the cards from the store and make them available for viewing. You cannot just turn up and ask to see cards on demand.

The "Voyage Record Cards" (VRCs) held in archive by the Guildhall Library are not quite what the name might suggest. They are not really records of ship's voyages, they are merely index cards created to assist people to locate information in back copies of Lloyd's List. The archive was donated by Lloyd's List (i.e. the daily newspaper that gives details of ship movements, incidents etc. and other information relevant to insurance activities at Lloyd's). However the filing system used to archive the cards is rather complex, making it necessary for Library staff to recover them for consultation by the public.

They are from an era pre-dating computers and take the form of simple index cards. For each ship there is a card (or cards) in the vessel's name starting when the vessel was named/renamed or handed over from the builders. On each card a clerk has written (or typed on later issues) or even pasted-in clippings from the newspaper, an entry of the date whenever the vessel's name appeared in the Lloyd's List.

The idea was to provide a shortcut to references to a vessel in the Lloyd's List. To research a vessel for insurance purposes, it was necessary to refer to its history as recorded in back issues of Lloyd's List. Rather than read through the bound volumes of back issues of Lloyd's List, it was only necessary to pull Voyage Record Cards for that vessel and scan them for the significant dates. Only the back issues for those specific dates need then be consulted.

On each card is a sub-heading for the year in question, under which is listed, in date order, all the dates in that year when the ship was mentioned in Lloyd's List. So the entries go: "27/2 arr. Valparaiso" "9/3 sld Valparaiso" "20/3 Panama Canal" and so on. If there was an 'incident' - collision, grounding, fire etc., the date entry is marked with an asterix * for emphasis, but only the date appears, without any details - remember that this is only an index card. To see the details of the incident, it is necessary to consult the Lloyd's List back issues for the date concerned

However there are some shortcomings. One of these is that Lloyd's List itself has some idiosyncracies. These take various forms, one of which is an indifference to the detailed ports within a large harbour system. For example you can see entries such as "14/4 arr Hampton Roads". The subsequent entry would be "18/4 sld Hampton Roads". Whether the vessel has docked in Norfolk Va, Philadelphia, Newport News, Baltimore or wherever (or even all of those ports), is not recorded. Similarly Elders & Fyffes vessel 'Golfito' used to arrive in Kingston, Jamaica on a Sunday evening to discharge passengers and cargo, sailing the following day to go around the coast loading bananas at various small ports e.g Bowden/Port Maria. She normally finished up in Port Antonio to complete loading and to embark passengers before sailing for the UK on Thursday. The VRCs for the vessel simply show her arriving in Kingston on Sunday and sailing from Port Antonio on Thursday. Where she was in between is not recorded - it didn't appear in Lloyd's List so it isn't on the VRC.

Within their limitations the cards are valuable aids. If you are in London you can visit the Library (very close to Moorgate underground station) and view the cards yourself. However you need to advise the librarians of the names of the ships and the voyage dates required (e.g. mv Nonsuch, May '54 to Feb '55) at least 2 working days in advance of your visit so that they can pull the relevant cards from the archives.

Anyone wanting to use the service and understand the background can see much more information in these two .pdf files: (
and (

Ships' Log Books

The University of Newfoundland's Maritime History Archive have a website where you can see the various listings of records that they hold and the services that they provide. If you are not able to attend yourself, on receipt of a list of ship names (and official numbers if you have them) and the dates concerned, they will look up the information and send photcopies to you by airmail or surface mail, as you request.

The information is free but the services of their staff to research it for you from the records is not! Their research fees are based on 1 hour to complete a search of 2 years of crew agreements for 1 vessel (or 2 vessels for 1 year). If there is a log book accompanying a crew agreement the number of copies for each voyage is usually around 40 although there could be more for the 1950s and 1960s.

Be prepared for a big bill if there are many ships and many voyages. I was quoted over £400 for the ports of call and crew lists for the 6 years I was at sea. The contact address is

Heather Wareham, Archivist
Maritime History Archive
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's, NL
A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 737-8203
Fax: (709) 737-3123

John Rogers
21st February 2006, 00:18
Its a shame that you cannot enter you Discharge Book Number and out pops the information,even on microfich would of been great.

peter lewis
21st February 2006, 00:45
thanks for a very infomative thread benjidog it would have taken me a week just to type it out the one place you forgot to mention was ships nostagia the informaition on this site is second to none as your thread shows

Hamish Mackintosh
21st February 2006, 00:47
You can pop your discharge book# into "kew" and you will see your name and where you were born,and it is possible to add (or delete) #'s and find out who is close to you in book #'s (*))

21st February 2006, 11:39
For those who are not aware
If you got to the National Archive Site:

I have helped many people looking for fathers, relatives, lovers etc using this.

If you search Using DISCHARGE BOOK NO. and/or SURNAME and/or DOB using this format ??/??/19??, PLACE OF BIRTH
Using BT in the DEPARTMENT CODE. You should get a file, or list of files. The more info you have the more you can narrow it down. The discharge book number is ideal, the date of birth alone can produce a result.

Click on the file you want it will open it, Nothing much in it, but to the right click 'request this' it will explain how to obtain a copy of the file.
I am not certain whats in the file but usually a photo on joining and service history. Note these file are not accessable until 30 years after the last entry is made in them.


Tugboat 142

21st February 2006, 21:42
What I have found a very useful research tool is:

At the beginning I made a Word document called "Personal Details Sheet" (in the form of a 2 column table) setting out ALL the personal information on my father, name, DOB, place of birth, wartime address, NI No., Radio Certificate No. (these are held at Liverpool Maritime Musuem by the way) -ships, ships nos. dates of particular ships he sailed, every little detail I could find/think of. Does not matter if typed or handwritten.


Name: Joe Bloggs

Date of Birth: 01.01.1901

Place of Birth: London

(My example appears to have all gone to the left when saved, but if you can't do tables tab the info. over to the right. If handwritten, simply fold a piece of paper down the centre and insert a piece of info. on each side equally so its really neat, spaced and easy to read).

This has served me well as it makes life so much easier for the recipient and, hopefully, gets me quicker results! I simply attach it to any letter/e-mail which warrants its inclusion. The theory being - in secretary land we get lots of illegible work, untidy work (and believe me I have seen some masterpieces!) but if someone is known to turn out neat, tidy work they tend to get the very best of service. Its all psychological! Hope this helps. Helen

Blade Fisher
16th September 2006, 23:43
I have had a number of relatives ancestors in service of the sea. I have researched my Gt Gt Grandfather who sailed from 1830's to 1873 and am now starting on my Gt Grandfather. I had my fathers records from the companies he served with.

I have used Kew and this year went to St Johns. The staff there are excellent and I spent 4 days going and photocopying all the records. I have also tracked down all the ships my GGF owned/sailed upon and their histories including Lloyds List and the registration of these vessels whose records are held at Kew. Before this I knew nothing so it can be done.

If anyone wants any assistance its fairly straightforward but helps if you have cheap accommodation in/near London as it is all very time hungry!

K urgess
18th September 2006, 22:36
Is this restricted to internet research or can I request hard copy information?

There are so many publications about ships I'd love to know who recommends what.

The Observer's Book of Ships doesn't seem to be the sort of thing the "experts" use, So what's recommended?(?HUH)

1st November 2006, 11:01
Hi, spotted this site today. Just type in ships name. Ken.

dave beaumont
3rd November 2006, 10:45
I wrote to Canada some months ago and got log book copies of voyage i did on Antrim in 1972. Cost me $65 Canadian. Well worth it. About 60 plus pages. Names and addresses (from that time) of all the officers and crew, write up of whole trip,including my loggings!!draught of water etc for each port and much more. Asked for trip before(1971) but they dont have, in Uk maybe. Hope to get all trips if possible over time. Frome enquiry to receiving papers from Canada about 2 weeks all up. Dave

1st July 2007, 17:31
Hi, spotted this site today. Just type in ships name. Ken.

Ken, what a fabulous resource - answered almost all of my questions, thank you.

Yours Aye


1st July 2007, 19:00
Peter447 has reminded me of two other well-known sources of information:

1. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The CWGC have an excellent website at:

In addition to a lot of information about the good work done by CWGC to commemorate those who lost their lives for the sake of their country, there is a search engine to assist location of their graves.

The site has also commenced a History section starting with a great deal of information about the Battle of the Somme in WW1. I hope that in future there will be more information directly relevant to the RN and MN as well so it is worth keeping an eye out for this.

2. The Ships List

This site has a great deal of information about shipping fleets, individual ships, which were sunk in the war, passenger lists (mainly for the 1800s) etc. This is a great resource and I have used it extensively.



PollY Anna
2nd July 2007, 09:18
Hi guys
Just done all mine most were in Canada, but one was in Kew and the other at Greenwich it was great fun and interesting as the log book(s) brought back a few things that had been forgotten in the mists of time. Also a great record of all the ports Arr & Dept etc along with crew records so if you are thinking of tracing your history go for it, it will keep you enthralled for hours great to do in those long winter nights.

Regards Ron

1st August 2007, 15:53
This Maritime museum in Halifax Nova Scotia did some searches for me on Canadian Shipping. Took a couple of weeks but they came back with all the names, dates etc on most of the vessels I asked for ..........and it was free!!

29th February 2008, 11:07
Thanks Brian for coming up with this thread, the more info on available sources the better. For a thirty day trial period ran a freebie access to US immigration records. I checked up on a previous master I had sailed with and found that on a visit to New York as second mate he was recorded as having tattoos. It gave me a smile as when I sailed with him he was a pillar of rightousness and never shirtless. Unfortunately a payment is required for access now, worth it probably for a keen researcher.

29th February 2008, 18:44
The actual form was displayed. Believe US Immigration must have actually sighted tattoo before entering such remark in appropriate column on entry record. Details of tattoo not recorded. Perhaps I am misjudging the man, it may it have been biblical related i.e. "The End is Nigh"/ "Jesus Saves" / "Down With Drink".

29th February 2008, 19:10
On a less frivolous note - the records were in the handwriting of the Immigration Officers. I actually sighted and printed out a record of my father's entry to New York when serving aboard the fleet oiler Brambleleaf loading for Scapa Flow in 1918. One of those days I will send in a group picture taken aboard at about that time.

Fiesty Fay
9th March 2008, 15:36
If anyone is interested in books of various shipping companies and vessels I came across this site while looking for information on the closure of Small & Co. (Lowestoft) Limited. It might be of interest to some of the members.


2nd May 2008, 16:52
The Merseyside Maritime Museum has a small number of records and may be able to help. If its specific mariners you want, you could try Southampton Archives Services, Civic Centre, Southampton, SO14 7LY

From an email from them: "We hold the Central Index Register of Merchant Seamen, which includes details of individuals serving on board British registered Merchant Vessels between 1918 and 1941. The Register takes the form of 4 series of index cards, 2 of which are arranged in alphabetical order of seaman’s name, and 2 which are arranged numerically by discharge number. The cards give various details on individuals including date and place of birth, nationality, rating, details of any certificates, physical description, sometimes next of kin, dates of engagement on board vessels, and one of the series which runs from 1918-1921, includes a photograph of the seaman.
Although the Register first began to be kept in 1913, unfortunately the parts covering 1913-1918 were destroyed back in the 1960s and so records only survive from 1918 onwards."



11th July 2008, 12:50
For many US ships, an excellent research website is Navsource -

The above has information on many US ships, past and present, of many different types. Each entry also has a link to the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships entry for that particular ship.

Muster rolls, deck logs, general correspondence files for any US ship after 1940 are kept in the US National Archives facility in College Park, Maryland. They have photos, engineering drawings, etc. there as well.

Anything prior to 1940 (say World War I) is kept at the US National Archives building in downtown Washington DC.

For an online search - the US National Archives has the following tool (they've just updated the design/functionality of it) - ARC, Archival Research Tool of the US National Archives. The link -

Though not listing everything the US National Archives has in their collections (it would take a system with infinite memory, almost) it's a good starting point for some basic research. They have some photos in the database..

If anyone needs help making their way through the US National Archives, send a private message.. I'm well familiar with the process and may be going to College Park sometime later this year

Bill Forster
28th October 2008, 21:26
These are a fantastic resource for tracking the ports of call of merchant ships but the earlier handwritten entries with their cryptic abbreviations can make interpretation difficult.

The Guildhall Library have published a list of the commoner abbreviations at:

If anybody can add to this list it would make the kind of research I and many others are doing a whole lot easier.

Any offers?


31st October 2008, 21:04
I have updated the Directory entry for research sources with the various suggestions made above over the last 6 months. For anyone not knowing where the list is, please go to Directory (see tab at top of page) then Categories - Information Sources - Nautical Websites.

Further contributions are always welcome so if you find a great site please post it here.

6th November 2008, 00:45
There is an excellent resource for researching American ships located at:

Some ships built elsewhere, but operated by Americans are also included.

PMARS stands for "Property Management and Archive Record System" and as they describe it, "PMARS is MARAD's official repository of NDRF (National Defence Reserve Fleet) ship and ship-related property records. The PMARS program is managed by the Division of Reserve Fleet (of the U.S. Maritime Administration)."

Records go all the way back to the EMERY RICE of 1876, 1246 gross tons "with 15 to 20% wood", which was, sadly, "Awarded Scrap Hull to The Boston Metals Company, purchase price $13,666.66... Date 2/7/1958 "

Some naval ships are included.

There is also a large page of historical photos of the "mothball" fleets themselves here:

There are also PDF's of the current fleet inventory listings going all the way back to January 1984.

6th November 2008, 01:11
For ships built on the clyde, there is the Clydebuilt database:

8th November 2008, 15:05
Thanks Bill. The PMARS one is new to me; I have used the Clyde one before but forgot to add it to the list.
Both have now been added.

Norman Brouwer
11th December 2008, 20:29
Re EMERY RICE of 1876: I am working on a history of this ship and already have a large quantity of information, photos, etc. She was the gunboat and later Massachusetts schoolship U.S.S. RANGER. They renamed her NANTUCKET. The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy renamed her EMERY RICE. Her original Navy logbooks from the time she left the builders yard are in the National Archives. I own an original cadet logbook from 1911 when she was still the RANGER.

I am currently writing final histories of ships in the Reserve Fleet for Marad.

I also have several indexes and databases that SN members should be aware of:

The International Register of Historic Ships - constantly updated.

Pictures of merchant sailing vessels in published works or collections; worldwide coverage - over 15,000 names

Square-rigged merchant vessels built in the world of iron or steel (ships, barks or barkentines) 1838-1926; with separate lists of auxiliaries, and conversions from steam.

15th December 2008, 21:14
Hello everybody,

I didn't know much about ships before I started my weblog "". For this blog I've used several sites to find more information on ships. For instance: (this site is very useful if you're looking for information on tankers)

Sites on genealogy sometimes have passengerlists and more information about the ships. Unfortunately you have to sign in as a member before you can retrieve information from

I frequently use the Lloyd's Registers and the dutch books "Maritiem Jaarboek" and "scheepvaart ..." to find information on dutch ships. I also browse the books about shipbuilding companies and the publications about the lines, published by the WSS to find more information.

These 2 are just for fun: and
I like to browse through them to find if there are any vessels coming in at Antwerp or Rotterdam. The first site also has a history, so you can search back. (comes in very handy, because we've got photos my uncle took more than a year ago. we know where he took them, but we don't know when)

Hope to have been of assistance.
Kind regards, Ies

10th March 2009, 23:04
The Plimsoll Ship Data website is useful for those ships active between 1930 and 1945. It has scans of Lloyds Register entries.

10th March 2009, 23:37
The Plimsoll Ship Data website is useful for those ships active between 1930 and 1945. It has scans of Lloyds Register entries.

Thank you for that link Mjroots - it is excellent for researching ships of this period - I am going to make good use of it and will add it to the list of resources on the site. (Applause)

17th March 2009, 07:33
Two significant photo collections of early shipping are held by the State Library of Victoria. They can be accessed via the web as follows:,1&SC=Title&SA=Malcolm%20Brodie%20shipping%20collection%2E&PID=yZ8WRylFdXgAuj-3UqqBDN4t6Zu&SEQ=20080228233126&SID=2

This above is the Malcolm Brodie collection. The other below is the Allen Green collection of glass negatives:

Warning - browsing these collections is addictive. While many of the photographs are situated in the southern hemisphere many of the ships of course were known globally.

17th March 2009, 23:03
I have added the Plimsoll and Victoria sites to the Directory listing for the benefit of members.

26th March 2009, 22:49
Useful shipwreck database

7th June 2009, 15:34
woody j i live in liverpool garston area over the years ihave taken my sons to the ship breakers yard of i think the name was s e evens things have now gone full circle inow take my grandson who is five he calls it shipwreak park the yard itself is no more there are still big items of ships notibly a car transporter with the name glasgow in red on the bow recently there seems to be some activity in cutting down this may be a safety thing the funnel is blue superstructure either side wooden deck typical of the transporters on the river seven before the bridge okay you lot info please think of the grandson this is his park

8th June 2009, 20:18
woodyj benjidog perhaps my request should have gone to ships and the breakers it was a bit tongue in cheek but there is genuine intrerest

25th August 2009, 02:20
I'm new here but wanted to make a contribution. Here are a couple of my favorite sites for pictures and research;;c=tbnms1ic

Obviously I'm a little partial to American steamship/boat history but there's a lot to see here.


25th August 2009, 22:32
Thanks for recent entries - I have added them to the links page.

Dinosaursoupman - your links were to items in the University of Michagan database and I have added a general link to that.

29th August 2009, 05:50
Glad to be of some help here. Now, can someone point me to the links section?

Thank you, Randy

29th August 2009, 19:31
Glad to be of some help here. Now, can someone point me to the links section?

Thank you, Randy

Hi Randy,

I guess you have not found the SN Directory yet! (EEK)

If you check out the tabs at the top of the page you will see one labelled, Directory. Click on it and follow the Information Sources link. There are a number of things there that might interest you but the main one for links is the Nautical Websites one.

1st September 2009, 06:16
For information on Australian shipping companies and ships:


1st September 2009, 09:29
For information on Australian shipping companies and ships:


Thanks, Ian, for share this source of information.....!

It's superb!


20th December 2009, 07:28
Found this good site www.Equasis.Org, its free to join, and it give ships in current services together with owners and management addressesv etc

Regards Aldersdale

20th December 2009, 11:22

Sounds like it might be a good site but I have tried to register about 10 times without success. I have sent a query to the site so will provide an update if they reply.

Once this is sorted I will add it to the list.

21st December 2009, 19:46
For information on Australian shipping companies and ships:


I have added a few more of the above links but this one Ian seems to have died a death so I have left it out.

Pity ....

3rd January 2010, 05:17
I have added a few more of the above links but this one Ian seems to have died a death so I have left it out.

Pity ....

Flotilla Australia site is live now.

3rd January 2010, 09:04
Interesting database, centered in the World War Two:, also provide graphics and photos.


uncle al
9th January 2010, 12:40
Hi, spotted this site today. Just type in ships name. Ken.

at the moment this site is free--BUT as of the 20-jan-2010(so i`m told)it will cost $20 for a year(MAD)

25th February 2010, 13:01
Does anyone know what happened to the Shaw Savill Ships website?
I am sure it was under the URL "", it had huge numbers of photos of vessels belonging to or at some time affiliated with SSA, Royal Mail, Furness Withy, Houlder Bros (to name but a few). This was a huge amount of information and I used to browse it for hours on end. It must be a year or so since I last visited and now it appears to have gone. The URL in question now comes up with some fairly inane information about "Drop Shippers".
Any information would be appreciated.

27th February 2010, 10:15

Good morining.

I have used the following link to obtain movment records of Merchant Ships during WWII.*&queryType=1

27th February 2010, 22:11
at the moment this site is free--BUT as of the 20-jan-2010(so i`m told)it will cost $20 for a year(MAD)

I'm surprised it has been FoC for so long ! A very worthwhile 20USD in my view, as good value as SN

6th March 2010, 12:08
Here is the location for two pieces I wrote/published focusing on available resources for U.S. shipping in WWII:

“Researching World War II Era Seamen.” Rootsweb and Mariners-L. December 1999

“Have Ship, Need Information: How to Research the History of a World War II Era Ship.@ The American Merchant Marine Veterans News. Number 3 (Autumn, 1996) pp. 27-29. Reprinted in The Pointer [U.S. Navy Armed Guard WWII Veterans Magazine] (November/December, 1996) pp. 11-12. Text with hyperlinks also found at
[] Webmaster: Greg Hayden.

I have been slowly working on a "biography" of the S.S. SANTA MARGARITA, a C2-S-B1 freighter launched in mid 1942 and scrapped in 1970. I am combining her footprint in the reocrds with first hand accounts and recollections of her crews, passengers and of individuals who sailed in the same convoys or who called at the same ports at the same time.

7th March 2010, 11:52
Hi Brian

I would like to submit a few links for the directory

First up My own Irish Site Wrecks Data Base.
The material for the site has been obtained from original sources such as Admiralty and Board of Trade Wreck Returns, The Life Boat Journal, Lloyd's List and contemporary newspapers.
Irish Site Wrecks Data Base (

The Clip Project
This one has been listed before but its such a great free resource I have to mention it again.
The Clip Project have now included the Mercantile Navy Lists, the 1857 and 1860 are complete
and transcribers are working on 1870 - 1880 - 1890.
The Clip Project (

Wreck Site.
A lot of free information here but subscription is required to view charts. I have been a member for two years and its well worth the 25euro fee.
The wreck site is the world largest online wreck database, has 77.000 wrecks and 75.360 positions, 9.240 images, 514 maritime charts, 10.940 ship owners and builders and a lot more...
The Wreck Site. (

Convoy Web this may have been mentioned before, The Website for Merchant Ships during WW2
Convoy Web (

A Small Library Of Maritime Interest
The material here originated from G-Books and The Open Library. but may not be available in UK or Ireland from its original sources.
Wreckmaster On Scribd (


7th March 2010, 14:46
Thanks for the continuing contributions.

I will update the links page as soon as I have a little time. I do a load of them in a batch as this is quicker.

Please keep them coming - there have been some really useful ones added.

13th March 2010, 19:50
Danish shipping registers, 1869-2002

John Dryden
8th June 2010, 23:56
The Hull History Centre recently opened and has a decent maritime section and may be of use to SN members.I have not visited yet,just looked at the web site but the building looks good and it seems there is a lot of info in there for Hull and East Yorkshire maritime history.

17th July 2010, 21:13

two very interesting sites about ship preservation

albatross 1923

17th July 2010, 21:32
Lots of photos here but no info.

31st August 2010, 12:25

History of the North East during the war with lots of shipping casualty details, very sad.

30th October 2010, 22:19
This Maritime museum in Halifax Nova Scotia did some searches for me on Canadian Shipping. Took a couple of weeks but they came back with all the names, dates etc on most of the vessels I asked for ..........and it was free!!

Thanks Brian for coming up with this thread, the more info on available sources the better. For a thirty day trial period ran a freebie access to US immigration records. I checked up on a previous master I had sailed with and found that on a visit to New York as second mate he was recorded as having tattoos. It gave me a smile as when I sailed with him he was a pillar of rightousness and never shirtless. Unfortunately a payment is required for access now, worth it probably for a keen researcher.

11th November 2010, 15:29
Hi guys
I am well aware the following is listed in the nautical website area but like many I had not found my way to it until I actually started reading posts within this thread. To make it easy just click the following link and navigate down to the shipping companies section where you will find details of lots of the ships you are probably looking for.

21st November 2010, 03:16
Great to find this forum! I am researching RMS QUEEN MARY and am looking to obtain copies of her original ship plans. Specifically, I'm looking for her shell plate expansion plan, docking plan and general arrangement plans. I have heard that they are at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Has anyone had success obtaining good copies of these plans or ones like it through this source? Would the University in Glasgow also be considered a source for these plans. Any help greatly appreciated.


21st November 2010, 06:45
Welcome aboard Joe, get yourself around a bit and enjoy the trip.

Every time I see, "shell expansion", written down I get cold shivers. I used to mend shipa in Rotterdam and if the shell expansion came out of the drewer then there was a big job on the cards, if it was an OBO or a VLOOC then the explosion risk started to climb as well. My hair is silver white these days........

29th November 2010, 14:08
Can anyone advise if there is a website where I could obtain info on s.s Darius for 1910/1911beleive she was classed with LLoyds.

29th November 2010, 16:30
Welcome aboard Joe, get yourself around a bit and enjoy the trip.

Every time I see, "shell expansion", written down I get cold shivers. I used to mend shipa in Rotterdam and if the shell expansion came out of the drewer then there was a big job on the cards, if it was an OBO or a VLOOC then the explosion risk started to climb as well. My hair is silver white these days........


Thanks for the greeting. You're absolutely correct when that question is asked. I'm curious as to her shell plate size for the underwater portion of the hull. I did find that the University in Glasgow repsonded with all of their plans and data/specification books. A huge leap forward.

Keep your hair, I use Greecian Formula!


9th December 2010, 11:20
Just found this site:

Gives a list of sites in various countries that have been found useful by the site owner.

Plenty to dig at here - perhaps the site owners might like to apply for an award and listing for SN?


8th February 2011, 13:20
The Plimsoll Ship Data website is useful for those ships active between 1930 and 1945. It has scans of Lloyds Register entries.

The invaluable Plimsollshipdata seems to have gone off-line in last few days.

Anyone know about this?


4th March 2011, 02:19
Found on "Scribd" not sure if this belongs here but here its anyway

Shows Callsign - Name - Designation - Side Number - Country Code and Branch of Service

Further on it breaks it down by country

31st May 2011, 12:10
WikiProject ships on Wikipedia maintain a sources page.

Members of this forum are welcome to join Wikipedia or improve articles - you don't have to become a member to edit Wikipedia, although there are advantages in doing so. The biggest things to remember are "no original research" (i.e. reminiscences) and to state your source for any info added. Don't be afraid to have a go, it isn't that hard to learn the markup language, but plain text is fine, as another editor will probably see to the fine tuning. I'm an admin on Wikipedia - and can be reached there via my talk page - - just leave a message in the "New messages" section at the bottom of the page. I'll move it myself in due course.

17th May 2012, 21:38
First post on these forums.My surname is Venus and at least one of my ancestors sailed to/from South Shields in the 1850's.Voyage record shows Fort Augustus.Shields Out and Home in 1854.Is the Fort Augustus part a ship's name or a port in Scotland?Apologies if this is a silly or naive question!!

23rd June 2012, 14:06
I use to research a ship history in this way:
1) Shipyard archives - construction data, dates, trials, trial speed, delivery status etc. Shipyard archives can also be stored at local state archives and regional offices of a government or a privatly organised archive foundation etc.
2) Shipping company archived documentation (the same as undr "1").
3) Literature on the shipbuilder, shipyard group, shipowner - also in other languages than you yourself may be able to read - very important source!
4) Classification register books and archives at the classification society: DNV, RINA, LR, BV, RS and others.
5) State and government authorities: archives and files over the ship under this flag authority, National Maritime Inspections and authority etc.
6) Museums and maritime institutions. Also port authorities, ports archives have a lot of information.
7) Private organizations, maritime and enthusiasts' societies and clubs etc.
8) Internet searches.
9) Other valuable sources of information, like private persons and individuals with a good knowledge of the ship, shipping company and its surroundings where it used to operate.
ADVICE: be prepared to yourself go to this archived sources and search yourself. It is not sure that the local staff will work for you and your private aims in the subject, and maybe not for free. Try to send correspondance in the local used language used at the place, with help from others. In Europe many local archives and staff may not use english at all. German is very common in Central Europe, as Russian and French, Italian and Spanish and also Portuguese must often be used in western and southern Europe. Russian is often the only workable language inside Russia and the former USSR at local authorities and archives. In Scandinavia (Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland as well as the Baltic Estonia) the English language works very well.

Hope this will help a bit forward,
J de Nauclér

24th June 2012, 10:43
Adelaide's Christine Courtney runs "Sea-Witch Images" down at Port Adelaide in South Australia. She says she has more that 100,000 shipping related images but she doesn't have a website, so you have to go down to the Port to view them. However I'm not sure how you would find what you were looking for unless they were indexed and searchable.

Christine authored the book:
"The Adelaide Steamship Company Ltd: A Nostalgic Voyage" (ISBN 9780646547176),
and was co-author of:
“Tales from a Commodious Harbour” (ISBN 0646420585)

Christine can be contacted via email at
or by phone on +618 8447 5000

1st May 2013, 15:41
I have written an article about Joshua Cockburn the first Black Star Line Captain. It can be viewed at

For my next article I need to know what the average cost of a British registered steam ship was in 1919. Specifically a tramp steamer, which I assume would be the cheapest one could buy.

How and where can I find such information? Cockburn is remembered as a poor captain who cheated The Black Star Line. I believe that he was not as bad (and perhaps quite good). The main rap on him is that he received a commission for his arrangement of the purchase of The S.S.Yarmouth for Black Star for an inflated price. It seems to me that a commission arranged by a broker is not necessarily unfair.

John Cafearo
18th August 2013, 00:20
hi, my name is John and I served my apprenticeship as a Fitter/turner in ship repair work in Liverpool. Doing my family history I have discovered my G,Grandfather was a Master of the steam tug Rattler on the Mersey and involved in the rescue, and loss of life of the crew of the sailing ship Ellen Southard in Sept. 1875. (see Wikipedia). Has anyone any information on the Rattler, tonnage, propulsion, owners, etc?? A news paper report for Aug. 1890 has her being in collision in Royal Abert dock and sinking. Any info. would be hugely welcome.

kewl dude
13th January 2014, 06:42
re Post # 52 "[] Webmaster: Greg Hayden."

Now resides at:

Greg Hayden

Novice 9
13th March 2014, 18:37
Good photographic site from Canada;dc
It is quite slow in loading but have a lot of pre-WW2 ships

19th March 2014, 02:07
I have just transcribed an oral history interview with a crew member of HMS Savage, one of the escort ships supporting destroyers and supply ships into Russia to defeat the post WW2 blockade. This was for an organisation called Legasee, if you are interested which is making various WW2 and later interviews public. It can be found at

I also have snippets of an interview transcription from 1993 ish of a 107 yr old man who worked on Merchant sailing ships out of Liverpool until his retirement. Also he was at Gallipoli. If people are interested I could scan in what I have (unfortunately only summaries- the tape and transcript went to the Centre for Policy on Ageing)

26th March 2014, 22:21
A quick plug for Flotilla Australia. John Hoskin's excellent site is an invaluable source for anyone with an interest in the history of Australian shipping.
John is asking for donations to help keep the site going, and I reckon that it's worthy cause......he's even offering free historic postcards in exchange for donations.

Barrie Youde
4th April 2014, 07:43
This is a long shot.

Please, could anybody advise where a crew-list might be found for a Portuguese merchant ship (September 1967- May1968)?

Information is that a long-established Portuguese Registry closed in 1975. It is hoped that records might have been transferred elsewhere. Any information would be most gratefully received.

Many thanks,


25th June 2014, 15:04
Here are some on-line resources I have found useful.

Lloyd’s Register of Ships online:

Mercantile Navy List:

Board of Trade Wreck Reports:

30th June 2014, 19:38
Thanks for that information I will check out the sites not having much luck up to now


11th July 2014, 20:15
A first instance to turn to is the Head offices or Archive Service of the National Archives in any country - they can always search in archive databases or document archives where an archive is located and give you an address of the very location. Another good institution is Always the national Maritime Museum in the very country - and Portugal has probably the oldest national merchant navy traditions than any other country here in Europe - in fact they discovered Waters beyond Europe to India and China before most other countries. To my own research experience, all contacts south of Germany and outside Scandinavia/Britain should be written on paper letters to the Director of the actual National Archives - e-mails are treated with no or minimal responsibility in most Central and Southern European countries and by pure luck you can get a reply in that way, often they can read English, but replies often returns with the own local home language.

So the National Archive Agency or National archives ant the main National (or local as well) Maritime museums are good starts in this case, I guess. Also local maritime journals can have access to local crew clubs and interests of closed companies - always with extraordinary local and company knowledge. Good luck and good hunting!

This is a long shot.

Please, could anybody advise where a crew-list might be found for a Portuguese merchant ship (September 1967- May1968)?

Information is that a long-established Portuguese Registry closed in 1975. It is hoped that records might have been transferred elsewhere. Any information would be most gratefully received.

Many thanks,


13th July 2014, 16:10
Does anyone know how long do they keep shiplists of port authorities from the past in archives? If I needed to know, which ships visited a port on a certain day in the past, where do I get the information? Can I find that info myself or do I need to ask for it somewhere? Thanks for possible answers.

19th August 2014, 11:42
Have just found a fantastic site said to be better than Lloyds giving all the info you need from1868
this is frm the site

21st September 2014, 01:25
How wonderful!
I haven't seen mention of the National Maritime Museum, Cornwall. I used their research service recently - volunteer researchers try to answer your questions - I found some answers. Also they have a page of research resources here:

21st September 2014, 09:55
Many thanks for the thread there seems to be lots of information I will have a good look at the site tonight I intend to spend the day in my garden it is so sunny today.
Thanks again


26th November 2014, 06:53

Good photographs of WW1 and some WW2 photographs.


27th April 2015, 15:01
MIRAMAR - Just to note that a server problem has hit Miramar over the weekend. Roger is hoping it will be fixed tonight/tomorrow

27th April 2015, 16:55
Hi, spotted this site today. Just type in ships name. Ken.

did not work Ken

Hugh MacLean
30th June 2015, 21:57
Crew lists of the British Merchant Navy - 1915. Free and searchable.