The Whaling Collection Archives is a comprehensive index of men and ships on whaling voyages from the New Bedford Customs District from 1807 through 1925. This ongoing project is supported in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Historical Records Advisory Board and the Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Francis Galvin. The project is being coordinated by the New Bedford Free Public Library Archives Department. The database is maintained by the City of New Bedford Management Information Systems Department.
The database indexes crew lists and Whalemen Shipping Papers, written contracts with the crew, for the period from 1810 through 1860. The information here is a direct verbatim transcription of the information as it appears on the original documents. No modification to spelling has been made. The original documents of these voyages come from the New Bedford Free Public Library’s collection, and the collections of cooperating institutions; National Archives in Waltham, and the New Bedford Whaling Museum / Kendall Institute.
Availability of the index on the World Wide Web ensures preservation of the originals while expanding the audience base to world wide researchers on such subjects as immigration, whaling history, and the underground railroad. This index, searchable through thirteen fields, can be accessed 24 hours a day. Record fields include: last and first name of mariner, age, residence or birthplace, height, eye color, hair color, skin color, station or rank in the crew including lay or agreed upon share of profit, vessel, port of registry, whaling ground, date of sailing, date of return and repository of source documents.
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