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Mar 24, 2022

The Whaling History Website Connects People With Their Whaling Ancestors

Researchers, historians, and genealogy enthusiasts now have an expanded resource to explore the history of the whaling industry and the individuals who were part of the global enterprise, with recent additions to the Whaling History website (WhalingHistory.org), a joint project of Mystic Seaport Museum and the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

William Bradford, The Port of New Bedford from Crow Island, 1854, oil painting. New Bedford Whaling Museum, 1975.18

The data presented combines many sources including logbooks, journals, ship registers, newspapers, business papers, and custom house records. Users can find and trace whaling voyages and ships to specific logbooks, as well as the list of crew members aboard many of the voyages.

A popular feature of the site is a dialog where users can search crew lists to discover if they have a relative who shipped out on a whaling voyage.

The foundational fabric of Whaling History features three databases that have been stitched together – the American Offshore Whaling Voyage (AOWV) database, the American Offshore Whaling Log database, and an extensive whaling crew list database. All data is open to the public and is downloadable for any researcher to use with other tools and systems.

At the heart of the current site are seven interconnected databases. Three of them relate to American offshore whaling: one describing every known voyage from the 1700s through the 1920s, another transcribing location information from whaling logbooks, and the third containing crew lists for these voyages. Two of the databases relate to the British Southern Whale Fishery (1775–1859): one describing every known voyage, whaling or sealing, to the south of Britain, and one containing the corresponding crew lists. The sixth database describes whaling voyages from British North America, including Nova Scotia and New Brunswick from 1779–1845. And the seventh describes voyages from France.

Details may be found at: https://bit.ly/3tAs81C.