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Ships and Ship Registers: Sources of Information

Ship Registers and Lists

Bain News Service. Luciana, ship.. No date. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The sources in this section are focused mostly on general international titles and those covering the United States. There is a secondary focus on Great Britain and other sources on vessel information from specific countries--with most being long established titles or those with good retrospective holdings at the Library of Congress. Some titles give particular information on ships while others are more related to tracking its movement.

Many registers look at merchant, military, and civilian travel though the predominant coverage is commercial vessels. For the United States, there is a strong emphasis on New England and the Great Lakes. A Federal Writers project compiled ship lists for locations in New England using National Archives materials while John Orville Greenwood undertook publishing titles that covered the Great Lakes.

Specific titles that list ships related to particular ports or waterways in the United States have been included but not for all individual places. To research ships active during the California gold rush (destination Yerba Buena Bay) or Klondike gold rush like Excelsior and SS Portland--articles and books on that topic or some of the more famous ships such can be researched on their own.

Lastly, there are titles that list shipwrecks and other disasters as they do pertain to knowing more about individual vessels. Individual situations like what happened with the Titanic and Sultana are not included, but those that were noteworthy or written on extensively have their own Subject Headings.