ancestryink fisherman

Monday, October 15, 2012

Whalemen's Shipping List

The Whalemen's Shipping List, Merchants' Transcript was published in New Bedford, Mass. during the 1800's, and is a fascinating, fecund, briny source of information regarding arrivals and departures of whaling ships, masters, owners, tonnage, barrels of whale oil - and detailed descriptions of far flung destinations and adventures/misadventures on the high seas.

$1.00 / year, payable in advance, would give you six copies for 12 months.  The masthead states in fine print:  "This paper contains a complete list of American Whaling Ships, with the latest report from each."  And it certainly does deliver just that. is a good online repository for this paper.  You can enter names, date parameters, and include, and exclude, keywords. "Keywords" allows you to enter a ship's name, for instance.  Very helpful.  You need a subscription, but it is well worth it. 

The Whalemen's Shipping List is a very beautiful newspaper. Someday, I would love to actually hold one in my hand.  I am sure the New Bedford Whaling Museum has archives of these papers.  And while we are speaking of New Bedford, the New Bedford Public Library began a project some years ago to give access to information about whaling expeditions on their webpage.  Here is a link to this other very valuable, searchable resource.

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