Category Archives: New Content

Another round of new content

I can’t emphasize how excited I am to have so much new monographic (ie, book) content getting added to the ShipIndex database. The proverbial “we” of ShipIndex, which has mostly been “me”, has been enhanced by the addition of several great people, including one who has been doing yeoman’s work in getting files ready to be added to the database. This has been a game-changer, and a reason why we’re adding so many new monographic titles.

An aside: adding book content is really great. When we can find the book in Google Books or Hathi Trust, we add links to it. But when we can’t, it can be frustrating to end users that the content isn’t immediately available online. However — it is available. Just follow the “find in a library” link as one easy way to find out if a library near you owns the book. If they don’t, see if your local library can obtain a copy for you from another library, through Interlibrary Loan. They *want* to get you the book, and most of the time, they don’t charge you at all! (So, be kind, and support your local library! In fact, I’m writing this on #GivingTuesday, so today’s as good a day as any to support your local library!)

Online resources are great; they’re immediately available! Until they’re not. And then they’re gone for good. Books are almost never “gone for good.” Even if you can’t get a copy now, maybe the next time you take a trip to a bigger city, or to a town with a research library, you can check before you go to see if the book you want is available there. (Just repeat the “Find in a library” link, but put in the ZIP code or postal code of the city you’re visiting.) Having a reason to visit a library in a different city is a great thing!

Last month, I went to New York City for a big maritime event. I went a few days early, so I could do a ton of research at the New York Public Library, and it was an absolute blast. It was so much fun to walk around all the tourists (while secretly being one, as well) and go in to the Rose Reading Room to collect books that had been pulled from storage for me. Wow wow wow.

Anyway, back to the content. Here’s a list of titles added since my last update, which was only a few weeks ago:

As you can see, all of these are the start of the alphabet! (We organize them by author name, for the most part.) More to come, soon!

Even more new content!

In August, I posted a bunch of new content added to the database. We’re really on a roll here, and are adding more and more all the time. Here’s a list of titles that have been added since my last posting of new content:

As you can see, this is vaguely focused on the early part of the alphabet (when looking at authors’ names). Lots, lots more is being processed as I type, and I’m headed to the New York Public Library this coming week to gather even more.

If you know of a title whose index you think should be added to ShipIndex.org, please do let me know!

Still more new content!

This time last month I posted a list of several dozen new resources added to the database. I have a bunch more to list today.

The following have been added since I posted that list:

For the Naval Documents collection from the Quasi-War, we did some extra work on the files to ensure that the Captains names are findable in the index, and are connected with the appropriate entry. I’ll add a post soon with more information on how best to find those captains in the database.

We continue moving forward with more content; I plan to go collect more today, in fact. It’ll take some time to get it processed and added,  but it’s all moving along. All of the above, and what I collect today, will be from books, but we’ll also soon be turning to online resources, as well. As always, please let me know about any titles or resources that you think should be added.

Tons of new content; site upgrades

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything to the blog here. It might seem like nothing has been happening, but that’s actually not true. A quick look at the ShipIndex webpage will show that; we have a new, much-improved page that responds to the size of the screen, meaning it works as well on a smartphone as it does on a laptop or a desktop.

Getting that done was a pretty big project, and it took a long time. I’m thrilled that it’s finally done. We may spot a thing or two to change, but for the time being I think we’re pretty happy with how it has turned out. A friend and colleague took over the process of carrying the project across the finish line, and he did a great job on that.

Another change has been to bring on someone to pick up the data work that I hadn’t been able to get to. I love doing that stuff, but just knew it wasn’t going to happen any time soon, and there was (and remains) a ton of work to be done there. And if we’re not adding content to the database, then we’re not adding much value. So our new data expert is working through backfiles as quickly as possible, and will soon be moving on to new files and to websites, as well. We have been working through that backlog of content that was waiting to be finished and loaded into the database, and we’ve been loading a ton of it.

Here’s a list of content that has been added in the past few weeks:

That’s a lot of new content! We also updated links to some online resource, where the webpage had totally changed its structure and didn’t have updated links, and improved some others, as well.

Each new resource has a “new” note on it, on our Resources page. If you’re following a particular ship name, then  you’ll get an email when new content is added for that ship name. Remember, you don’t need to be an active subscriber to get those emails. You need an account (because we need to know how to contact you), but that’s it. If you see a new citation that looks interesting, you can either subscribe to access the new content, or access it through your local library, if they offer access.

New content will keep being added over the next few weeks, and we have a plan for collecting even more monographic content at a major research university, then at New York Public Library, then at the Library of Congress, and then beyond. If there’s a title you think we should add, please do let me know, either here, or by email to comments (at) shipindex (dot) org!

 

 

New content added in the past three weeks

The following resources have been added in the past few weeks. I have a lot more content still to add, but thought I’d get this list out there now, and will put out the next list after I add more.

My data focus over the past few months has been on printed resources (primarily monographs). I’m doing a separate large data set project, and hope to include those resources soon. In 2016, I plan to be looking more closely at online resources.

Lots More Book Content Just Added

Since my last update on new content, in mid-March, I’ve added indexes to over two dozen new monographs and one new online collection. I have a lot more content to process and add, and I’ll just keep plugging away at it, as best I can.

The exciting thing (for me) is that this gets the total number of citations to over 3.4 million now. Especially with print resources, it takes a long time to really move that dial. But I feel like I did, and I’ll keep at it. Now, 3.5 million is next…

There are parts of multi-volume naval histories of the US and Britain, several more Navy Records Society volumes, some passenger list books, and some good non-Anglo/American content, as well. The new content is as follows:

New Content Added: 17 Books, One Web Source

I’ve added more new monographic (and one web: Blue World Web Museum) content, and I’ve still got tons more to work through and add soon. In any case, the following have all been added since the list that I posted on February 27.

This upload includes two volumes from two major multi-volume sets of naval history: Clowes’ The Royal Navy, and the US Navy’s Naval Documents of the American Revolution. Additional volumes will follow for both sets; it seemed silly to hold onto them until all the files were completely finished.

New Content Added for Over a Dozen Titles

Recently, I’ve been preparing a lot of new content to add to the database. The first evidence of that went into the database today. Ships mentioned in the indexes to the following resource were added to the subscription database today:

This is just a start; many more, including several multi-volume sets, will be added very soon.

Tracking Shipwreck Survivors

I got a note the other day from the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, directing me to a resource about tracking shipwreck survivors. It’s an online publication, titled The Shipwrecked Passenger Book: Sailing Westbound from Europe for the Americas, 1817-1875, by Frank A. Biebel. It’s available for free here, hosted by FamilySearch. It will also be available on the NYG&BS website soon, in the members area.

The publication tracks 339 identified shipwrecks, and, to the best of the author’s ability, includes as much information as can be found regarding the wrecks and the recovery and repatriation of those on board. Biebel provides citations for whatever he was able to find, in newspapers, books, and more.

He also provides a few fascinating stories. In the case of the William Nelson, sailing to New York in the summer of 1865, a violent fever passed through the immigrants on board, while off the coast of Newfoundland. The captain decided to fumigate the areas where the sick had been by dipping red-hot irons in tar, and then swinging them around the space. Somehow, this was supposed to clean the air. Near the completion of this project, an iron fell into a tar-pail, and it caught fire. The passenger overseeing this fumigation process tried to smother the blaze with a mattress, but it exploded (!) and with each roll of the ship flaming tar spread throughout the area belowdecks. In moments flames raced up the hatchway, “running up the mainmast and rigging like fiery serpents.”

The captain got a number of boats launched, but only about 87 passengers, from among 448 originally on board, survived. Survivors were picked up by the steamship Lafayette and a Russian bark, and eventually taken to New York.

While this story and others in the volume are fascinating, one of the most important contributions is in the discussion toward the very end of the book. The author, after looking through so many records and tracking down all kinds of data, provides the following very useful synthesis (p. 616):

Survivors were often picked up at sea or otherwise came aboard a vessel that reached a U.S. port; for that, they were likely deeply grateful. At port, the rescuing captain or master filed a manifest as required by law. But, the survivor’s ancestors, the family historians of today, may sometimes not be pleased.

The U.S. Passenger Act of 1819 which required the recording on an arriving ship manifest of those passengers who boarded at a foreign port made no provision for shipwrecks, including possible survivors. Nor, do I know of any (U.S.) legislation prior to 1875 which accounted for this gap. And, apparently, contemporary social norms did not touch upon the subject. Thus, adding survivor names to his manifest was solely at the whim of the rescuing captain.

The result is that in doing this work, I encountered the full range of possibilities. A rescuing master’s manifest may have nothing at all of the shipwreck and its passengers, the only confirmation of survivors aboard coming from newspaper accounts (strangely enough, sometimes from an interview with the rescuing master himself). At the more desirable extreme, a captain may have mentioned the shipwreck and recorded survivor information as ifthey were his own passengers.

It may be of little help, but even though there was ”nothing at all,” if the name of the rescuing ship was known, it is included in the shipwreck information found when accessing any of the 339 listed wrecks.

I added the ships mentioned in this book to the ShipIndex.org database yesterday, but I particularly wanted to point out the value that Biebel provides by offering some analysis of what happened, across many different situations, with regard to shipwrecked immigrants.

New content, through early June 2014

I’ve been writing a lot about the 38th Voyage, but in fact I’ve also been working on new content for the database. Here’s a list of content added since the last time I posted such a list:

New content:

Updated content:

So, we’re still plugging away at getting new content into the database, even while preparing for the sail. The free database grew by over 20,000 citations. And right now, the subscription database is at 3.36 Million citations.