Monthly Archives: December 2011

ShipIndex as a gift

Looking for a last-minute gift for a maritime historian or a genealogist?

Consider a limited-span subscription to!

You can give a genealogist three months of access to the premium database for just $25. Or give a historian access to the premium database for six months for $45. Or give a maritime history fanatic access for a year, for just $85! This is a one-time payment, via PayPal (and yes, you can use a credit card through the PayPal site).

To make it happen, send a note to We’ll need the following information:

  • The recipient’s email address
  • When you’d like access to begin, and for how long

We’ll create a pdf certificate that you can print out or email to the recipient. It will include a username and a temporary password, plus information on how to access the database.

This can be a great gift, for any occasion — from a holiday or birthday gift to a retirement or ‘Thank You’ recognition.

On the naming of naval vessels

The US Navy has not been very good about how or why it names certain naval vessels. Given today’s political environment, it’s no surprise that even the naming of ships has taken on controversial tones with politicians of all stripes looking for reasons to get up in arms.

A story from San Diego describes Congressional dissent over recent naming decisions. It does seem like the Navy would benefit from a significant review of how names are assigned. The Navy would benefit significantly from some standardization in how names are assigned, such as using a certain type of name for a certain type of vessel. Some additional rules, such as not selecting a person until at least, say, ten years after they’ve passed away, would also be valuable. Each action would take a lot of the politics out of the decision-making, I think. The Navy must name its vessels, and this is an opportunity to recognize its illustrious history, and that of the country itself. If the Navy could do something that would reduce the political backlash it receives for its actions, and improve its own profile in the process, it really ought to consider doing it.

It’s a shame that there’s so little standardization in the naming of US naval vessels, and that politicians use these items to make unnecessary political hay, and that nothing will significantly change, regardless of what happens. But we can always hope.