While poking around in the library today, which is always a fun thing to do, I went in search of Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1994. It’s a great volume that has lots of information about many ships that sailed the inland American waterways. But the ships are listed alphabetically, so there’s no index to it that would indicate all the ships that are included. That’s certainly not a problem for using the resource, and I don’t mean it in any negative sense. If you know the ship you’re looking for, then it’s an easy resource to use. But if you want to create an index to the ships in the book, so you can put those in another database and tell people that the ship they’re interested in is mentioned in this book, you need to collect the list of ships by hand. This takes a ton of time, especially for a 600-page book. I have an idea that I might try, but that’s a long ways away.
Anyway, while looking at the shelves, I came across this volume: Passenger Ships Arriving in New York Harbor, 1820-1850, edited by Bradley Steuart, and published by Precision Indexing in 1991. It’s labeled as “Volume 1”, but I don’t think any other volumes subsequently appeared. Nevertheless, it’s pretty great for some instances. The first half of the volume lists vessel arrivals chronologically, so you see something like the following:
The second half lists the vessels by name, so you can see when and how often a particular ship arrived. Again, a great resource. I didn’t know about this – maybe I should have, but at least now I do, and I’m telling you.
As you can see, both halves include the NARA Roll Numbers so one can find the correct microfilm to find the related passenger lists. I expect that’s not vital anymore; online databases have digitized the vast majorities of these rolls (I think), but even today that information can be useful if there are limitations or gaps in the online resources.
I think this is a useful resource for genealogists in many instances, so I thought it’d be worth sharing here. You can always find this in a library near you, even if you can’t find it in ShipIndex.org!