Category Archives: Conferences

Search successes from NY State Family History Conference

I spent September 17 to 19 at the New York State Family History Conference in Syracuse, NY. It’s not too far from home, so I was glad to attend the first one, two years ago, and I certainly looked forward to attending future conferences, which are scheduled for every other year.

Of course I talked with lots of people, told them about ShipIndex, and learned about new sources of content to add, as well.

Here are two examples of searches I did for folks, which I felt were a great example of successes from searching ShipIndex.

First a woman was looking for information about a ship her ancestors emigrated on, from Holland, in the 1650s. The ship was named “King Solomon”. So I did a search in the full database for “King Solomon” and found the following result:




The entry from Coldham’s book, The Complete Book of Emigrants, makes sense, given the time period. (She said they emigrated in the 1650s; perhaps her dates are off by a decade, or perhaps this doesn’t include the travel of her ancestors but rather travel a few years later.)

But what I was most excited about was the discovery of the mentions in the Navy Records Society volumes. Of course, without checking the actual volumes, we don’t know if this is really the same ship or not, but the dates, the relatively unusual ship name, and the origin (more on that in a bit) all seem to work, so that’s in our favor.

The Navy Records Society has been publishing primary documents in British naval history for the past 130 years or so. The documents they publish go back to the 14th century. While each volume often doesn’t have a lot of ships in them, I feel that these citations are incredibly valuable, because they usually link to primary documents. In this case, it would appear that Sir Thomas Allin mentioned a ship named “King Solomon” in his journals at some point. It may or may not be the ship that these folks were researching, but it certainly seems close enough to warrant a second look.

By clicking on the “Find in a library near you” link from the ShipIndex page, we were able to determine that the library University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is near their home, has these titles. (A junior college in Durham also has the titles, but as a proud Tar Heel and UNC graduate, I choose not to speak its name.)

Screenshot 2015-10-08 13.32.04


I then took a look at the “other matches” in the green box and found the following citation:


So, a ship with the name “King Solomon of Amsterdam” is mentioned in another NRS volume that covers the same period, apparently in Samuel Pepys’ diary or papers. The name of the ship is probably “King Solomon”, but the city certainly confirms the information about the ship coming from Holland, which the researchers had provided before we started.

I particularly like the fact that we very quickly found citations that certainly appear to be related to the ship the people were researching, from a source far separated from standard genealogical sources. It’s possible that they’re not the same ship, or that there’s nothing relevant to the researchers’ work, but at the same time, it’s quite possible that they’ll discover something quite valuable. This is the kind of serendipitous discoveries that I love to help facilitate.

Here’s my second example. A gentleman sought information about the 19th century ship William Tapscott. From the ShipIndex database, we found multiple citations, from many sources. Some were standard works for that period, such as Fairburn’s Merchant Sail, but others were a bit different. There’s an 1856 article that mentions the ship in the newspaper News of the Day, accessed via Accessible Archives’ “Civil War Collection”. The link to an authority record for the ship, in OCLC, provided the best sources, however.

We found four works about the ship in WorldCat. One is a recent book, of which only 200 copies were printed, about a captain of the ship. Another was a manuscript resource from Utah State University Library, though unfortunately the URL in WorldCat to the finding aid online is broken. It would appear that when USU moved their electronic catalog into the joint Orbis Cascade Alliance of many Pacific Northwest university libraries, their URLs for finding aids were never updated. I went to the USU library catalog to find the correct URL, and their own link also broken – so certainly WorldCat is not to blame here, if USU’s implementation of Encore can’t connect to their own finding aid.

The resource called “Sketches from the Life of Hans Christensen Heiselt” is a small part of the overall collection called “Joel Edward Ricks Papers, 1850-1972”. You can find it via USU’s online catalog, or the Archives West search box. (Interestingly, the Heiselt resource doesn’t appear to be cataloged in the Archives West collection; it’s only listed as part of the Ricks Papers.) From these records, I believe from the original resource is just three pages long, and is in Box 6, Folder 7, of the Ricks Papers.

The other sources were a bit more interesting. One, from the “Ebenezer Beesley papers, 1863-1950,” says it includes “a photostat copy of a handwritten list of passangers (sic) on the William Tapscott in 1859.” This was when the researcher’s ancestor was aboard, so it would certainly be worth viewing this collection, held at Brigham Young University, if the researcher is ever in Provo.

Finally, the “Jason B. Bell papers, ca. 1800-1860” include a “log (1855-1857) for the square-rigger sailing ship William Tapscott, noting weather conditions, sailing strategies, and location. The William Tapscott sailed between Europe and North America carrying cargo and passengers.”

The challenge with this entry is that it does not show where this logbook is held. I have written about how to track down the logbook, in a previous blog post – there’s no way you’d know how to do this without knowing it, so I want to repeat it often. Please take a look at that blog post, and keep it in mind when WorldCat won’t tell you where a manuscript collection is held. Long story short, I searched NUCMC (National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, searchable at and found the entry, among the 48 results:


When I clicked on “More on this record”, I found the following. (I added the highlighting, to emphasize the location information.)


The record showed me that this logbook is held in the Sheldon Museum Research Center, in Middlebury, Vermont. In looking closer at the “tagged display,” I believe this record was created in July 2010; either way, I’d certainly call the museum library before driving out to Vermont to see it. (And a quick review of the website shows their library is just open to visitors two afternoons a week.)


On an important note, this conference will switch from odd-numbered years to even-numbered years, starting in 2016, so that it’s off-set from the New England Regional Genealogy Conference, which currently occurs in odd-numbered years. That’s a good move on the organizers’ part, I think, and I look forward to returning to Syracuse next fall.

In the end, these two examples showed some of the resources – some monographic, and some manuscripts – that one can find quickly and (mostly) easily through a search at I hope they’ll inspire you to find remarkable resources through ShipIndex, too.

Upcoming Genealogy Conferences in NY State will be at several conferences in the next few months.

Come see us in upstate New York, at the first New York State Family History Conference, in Syracuse, September 20-21. It’s co-sponsored by the Central New York Genealogical Society and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. The sessions look like they’ll be pretty interesting, and it looks like they might also be pretty packed, as a number of meals and lectures are already sold out.

The exhibit hall is free and open to the public. Come visit us at the Holiday Inn & Conference Center, in Liverpool (just outside Syracuse). Hours on Friday, Sept 20, are at least 9:00 to 4:30, and possibly as long as 8:00 am to 6:00 pm (different sources have times; I’m seeking clarification). On Saturday, the hours are 8:00 am to 3:30 pm. Come pick up a bottle opener, try the database, as questions, offer suggestions, or just say hello!


If you live ‘downstate’, come see us at the second Genealogy Event, in Manhattan, Saturday, November 2, at the Metropolitan Pavilion, located at 125 W 18th St, New York City. This is the second year of this neat event, and I very much enjoyed exhibiting at it last year. The format this year is a bit different, however. Last year was a two-day event; this year, it’s one long day — in this case, a Saturday. The hours are 10am to 8pm, with all sorts of sessions and workshops through the day.

The exhibit hall will be open the whole time, as well; unlike in Syracuse, you do need to pay to access the exhibit hall. In any case, genealogy gatherings are rare in New York City, and a lot of people attended the inaugural event last year. I look forward to attending, but I think I will need to leave a bit early (like, maybe a half-hour early) to catch a bus home — given the cost of hotel rooms in Manhattan, it makes sense to catch a late bus home, if at all possible. I may miss the last half hour of the show, but the first 9-1/2 hours should be great! Please stop by and say hello if you’ll be there.


Beyond the state borders, I anticipate attending Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE, in London, in February 2014, and the National Genealogical Society conference, in Richmond, Virginia, in May 2014. If you know of other events you think I should consider, please let me know.

“The Genealogy Event” in NYC, and Glazier ‘Immigrants to America’ series

I went to a great genealogy conference in New York City a few weeks ago. It was just before Hurricane Sandy came through; we knew the storm was coming, but we didn’t know how bad it was going to be.

The conference itself, though, was great. Called simply “The Genealogy Event”, it took place at The Metropolitan Pavilion, which was a beautiful space. I particularly liked the wood floor, rather than the standard poured concrete. A range of exhibitors attended, and it was fun for me to see folks I’d met at previous conferences, as well as meet some new ones. It was great to see a genealogy conference in a super-major city. NGS and FGS conferences are almost always in smaller cities, so putting this unaffiliated, independent event in a big city was a great move.

Interactions with attendees were also great; one highlight definitely was seeing a friend from library school who I hadn’t seen in maybe 10 years. I guess I knew he was in Manhattan, but it is a big place – it’s not likely that you’ll run into someone you know there, to say nothing of inside the conference hall!

I had two separate versions of another very interesting interaction. A woman came to me with a copy of her ancestor’s naturalization papers. On it, her ancestor had recorded his arrival at Ellis Island on board the ship Le Havre in about 1906, if I remember correctly. She told me that the folks at Ellis Island had said no ship existed with that name, and she wanted to see if I could help. I quickly looked up “le havre” in the database, and did expect to find a lot of ships with that name. However, in fact, there were just a handful of entries, and their timing didn’t match with passenger vessels of that era at all.

Now, granted, there are many, many ships that are not (yet) included in the database. But for immigration ships, I’d say it’s pretty comprehensive. Records for that time period are quite complete, and lots of databases and books cover the period (to say nothing of entries in, say, the magazine Steamboat Bill / PowerShips). Given the total lack of entries for that period, I felt that the folks at Ellis Island were correct. I pointed out that the date on the naturalization papers was 20-some years after the ancestor said he’d arrived, so it’s reasonable to assume that he just remembered incorrectly. Or, perhaps, his English was still not very good when he completed the form, and when an officer asked him what ship he arrived on, he instead answered with where he sailed from.

The solution to tracking this down, I think, is to look at the appropriate volumes edited by Ira Glazier & others, such as Italians to America, Germans to America, etc. These books, which transcribe thousands of passenger lists from the National Archives, are organized by date, then by vessel name. So if the ancestor’s date of arrival was correct (certainly not a given, since the ship name was wrong), then the researcher could locate the appropriate volume – first by nationality (for the proper series), then by date (for the proper volume), then by day, and then look at vessel entries.

One huge disappointment about these volumes (for me) is that they have no vessel index to them. Since they were clearly machine-processed, it would seem a vessel index would have been easy to generate, but as far as I can tell, it wasn’t done. A year or so ago I had a bee in my bonnet about creating such an index, but I tried one path to doing it and found it to not work. After these interactions in NYC, I went back to trying it. My results were actually better than I’d expected, but I am still afraid it will take far too long to do this work. I’ll keep thinking about it, though. I would love to make it work; I think a vessel index to those volumes would be incredibly valuable.

In any case, and even without the important vessel index, these Glazier volumes are a valuable tool. While I’m not certain of it, I believe that these volumes are not included in,,, or any other genealogy aggregated databases. There are so many resources that are not in these mega-databases; they’re fantastic places to start, but it’s important to not stop there!

In the spirit of encouraging further research in this area, here is a list of all the Glazier “Immigrants to America” volumes of which I am aware. Two series, Italians to America and Emigration from the United Kingdom to America, are still being published.

  • Germans to America: Lists of Passengers Arriving at US Ports.
    • 67 volumes, covering January 1850 to June 1897.
  • Germans to America, Series II: Lists of Passengers Arriving at US Ports in the 1840s.
    • Seven volumes, covering January 1840 to December 1849.
  • Italians to America: Lists of Passengers Arriving at US Ports.
    • 28 volumes so far, covering January 1880 to April 1905.
      (Vols. 27 & 28 were published in June 2012, by Scarecrow Press.)
  • Emigration from the United Kingdom to America: Lists of Passengers Arriving at US Ports.
    • 18 volumes so far, currently covering January 1870 to December 1881.
      (Vols. 17 & 18 were published two weeks ago [Nov 2012], by Scarecrow Press.)
  • Migration from the Russian Empire: List of Passengers Arriving at the Port of New York.
    • Six volumes, covering January 1875 to June 1891.
  • The Famine Immigrants: Lists of Irish Immigrants Arriving at the Port of New York, 1846-1851.
    • Seven volumes, covering January 1846 to December 1851.

(Thanks to Jared Hughes at Rowman & Littlefield for helping me confirm the publishing information above.)


The Genealogy Event was a great event. I hope it’ll become an annual event; I plan to attend as often as I can.

“Connecting Seas” 2013-14 Academic Year at Getty Research Institute

The Getty Research Institute’s 2013-14 academic year will be devoted to exploring the art historical impact of maritime traffic and trade.

From an announcement on the H-Net network:

The Getty Research Institute and the Getty Villa invite proposals for the 2013–2014 academic year, “Connecting Seas: Cultural and Artistic Exchange,” residential grants and fellowships. The theme aims to explore the art-historical impact of maritime transport: how bodies of water have served, and continue to facilitate, a rich and complex interchange in the visual arts from ancient times to the present day. Scholars actively engaged in studying the role of artists, patrons, priests, merchants, and explorers in oceanic exchange are encouraged to apply, and projects focusing on the Pacific are particularly welcome.

See the more complete description at the Getty site. Application deadline is 1 November 2012.

Report from Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE

A week ago, I traveled to London to attend the Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE genealogy event, at Olympia National Hall, in London. It was a great event, and I hope to return in the future.

I have managed exhibiting at conferences for a long time, both for and for my previous company. And I have attended conferences at Olympia before, for the previous company – but I’d never managed putting on an exhibit overseas. There were a lot of challenges, from trying to find out how to get the appropriate unnecessary insurance before attending, to restructuring the website so people could pay in foreign currencies. I had to figure out a way to get internet access, when paying about £300 is absolutely out of the question. I had to figure out how many handouts to take with me, and ensure I kept them under the airline’s weight limit. (The limit is 50 lbs; my bag weighed in at 50.5. The overweight fee is $200! They let my bag through, though I was ready to take out a batch of postcards, if needed.) There are always a million little issues to deal with when preparing for a conference, and adding international travel to it certainly seems to double the number.

I left the US on Wednesday evening, via Newark. I arrived early Thursday morning, spent nearly an hour and a half waiting to go through UK Immigration (this was pretty appalling – at one point, when there were NO UK or EU citizens waiting to go through, five different booths were open, with UK Border Agency staff sitting there doing nothing, and they didn’t invite any of the non-EU or UK citizens who’d been in line for an hour to go through), and eventually got to the place where I was staying, in central London. I spent Thursday walking around London, past Buckingham Palace, through Trafalgar Square, around Covent Garden, and lots more, getting gifts for family and the cell-network dongle I was to use for internet access.

On Friday, I was ready to head to the show early – long before its opening at 1pm. I had an 11:30am appointment with a colleague, and figured all was set. When I did show up, with my very heavy suitcase, at about quarter to 10am, I started to get worried: the signs said the show opened at 10am, and when I got in, I discovered that it did, in fact, open at 10! I have no idea how I made the mistake, but I did. Anyway, it doesn’t take me too long to get set up, and I was up and operating by 10:15 at the latest.

Then, it was hard work, all day long. I talked with folks constantly, from 10:15 to about 5pm. Exhibits closed at 6:30 on Friday (which seemed to fit fairly well with a 1pm opening, on a Friday, I thought), and I was busy talking with folks all day long. I had grabbed a sandwich at Pret a Manger on my way in, and I took bites, when time allowed. Saturday and Sunday were similar: the show was just incredibly busy, and basically constant, until an hour or 90 minutes before it closed for the day. There was no lack of people in those last 60 to 90 minutes; it just wasn’t absolutely constant talking. My voice was pretty much gone at the end of Friday and Saturday, but had recovered on Saturday morning. Sunday morning, when it hadn’t recovered, I was worried what the day would be like, since I just didn’t know how long it would last!

One highlight of the show was how many people told me that my product was “brilliant”. My comments were “brilliant”. My assistance was “brilliant”. The cost of the database was “brilliant”. The fact that it existed was “brilliant”. The database in action was “brilliant”. My coming from America was “brilliant”. They even said “brilliant” as they left! I quickly realized that the exchange rate from British English to American English for “brilliant” is about 20:1, or maybe even more. But it was fun to hear so many people tell me is “brilliant!”, even if the word means different things to each of us.


One thing that often drives me crazy is when exhibitors start packing up early. There may be situations when that’s necessary – to catch a train or a plane, for instance – but most of the time, they’re just tired and want to get out of there. I think packing up early is almost rude, especially when it impacts other exhibitors.

It’s also kind of dumb. At a previous company, we quickly learned that the folks who show up in the last few minutes are the ones who are making a definite point of getting to your booth, and they care a lot about what you’re doing. There’s a very high likelihood that the folks who come up in the last few minutes really want to buy your product. So I always stick it out. This show, actually, wasn’t as bad as the library conferences I’ve attended, and I heard much less of the loud “brrr-aaapppp” of strapping tape being applied well before the show closes.

About ten or fifteen minutes before the show shut down at 5pm, a woman came up to the booth, said “Oh, I’m so glad you’re still here!” and gave me the best experience of the show.

She explained that her father had been in the Royal Navy, and her mother had been a WAVES officer in the US Navy. She had a number of images of ships that she wanted to learn more about, and told me about another image, which unfortunately she didn’t have with her. One image was of a minesweeper with the hull number “J463” on its side, but no vessel name visible. I knew that a number of entries in the database have hull numbers in it, so a quick search of “J463” returned HMS Ossory. She was quite impressed at my finding this so quickly, as was another woman who was watching nearby – I think the other woman almost thought it was a setup! This was almost certainly one of the ships her father had served on.

The photos she hadn’t brought were of her mother launching a ship in Mobile, Alabama, late in World War II. (Her parents had met in Mobile when her father had been sent there to oversee construction of several ships destined for the Royal Navy, via the Lend-Lease Program, she explained.) We talked a bit about them and I said I’d try to help her learn more about the ship in question after she sends me a copy of the image. I do hope she’ll do that; I know it will be a while before she does, but I hope I’m able to help her discover more about her family, and particularly something about this remarkable event, of her mother being sponsor of a warship!

We talked for quite a while, and I didn’t start breaking down my stuff until about 5:15, at which point of course many people were well on their way to being done, but it was very much worth the long conversation with her.

I had many other similar interactions. One time, a person explained she was looking for a ship called “Maid of Sussex”. We didn’t find any ship with that name in the database, so I did a search just for “Sussex”, and found a ship named Sussex Maid. We figured that was probably the ship, and then the website took us to this incredible image of the ship.


Another man had heard family stories about an ancestor who had been aboard a ship called “Madge Doubtfire”. Again, we didn’t find any ships by that name, but when I did a search just for “Madge”, we found Madge Wildfire, which was pretty clearly the actual ship he’d been looking for. Making connections like that for folks was truly fantastic for me.

While I was at the show I learned about another genealogy conference in Dublin, and I may consider going to that show. These shows are expensive, especially when one is coming from the US, but it was a great experience. I’d like to see if I can attend WDYTYA?Live in the future; sometimes just the experiences like those above make the travel worth the costs and challenges.

Changing Conferences

In a previous post, I mentioned that ShipIndex is trying a bunch of new paths. One of those is to change the conferences I attend. Back at the old company I went to library conferences, library conferences, and library conferences. (And there are a lot of those…) In fact, ALA Midwinter is starting off today, and it’ll be the first ALA Annual or Midwinter show I haven’t attended in about 15 years. Now, though, I’ve added genealogy and maritime history conferences to the mix. I’ve attended two National Genealogical Society conferences, in Salt Lake City and in Charleston, SC, and I’ve attended a range of maritime history conferences and one or two maritime museum conferences. (Sometimes they’re combined.)

Of these, library conferences are far and away the most expensive. These are huge productions that cost a fortune for everything. (Internet access through the local providers at PLA, below, starts at a gut-reaming $885, for instance.) While I think that ShipIndex is an incredibly valuable tool for academic libraries (in supporting historians of all stripes) and for public libraries (in supporting genealogists), I apparently haven’t succeeded in getting my message across to librarians. In my career as a librarian and as a library vendor, I’ve attended every ALA Annual and Midwinter conference since about 1997, as well as every ACRL conference since then, plus a bunch of NASIG, UKSG, Charleston, and other conferences. The big ALA shows cost me the most, and I don’t have much to show for them, so this January will be a big change for me: I won’t be going to ALA Midwinter for the first time in a very long time.

There’s much more to the conferences than just meeting with librarians; meeting with other vendors is incredibly valuable, as is seeing what else is happening in the library world, and also just getting together with long-time friends. But the cost is too great, so I’m going to try a different path. I think that, from now on, I’ll focus on attending the ACRL and PLA conferences every other year (they alternate; last year was ACRL, this year is PLA), and attend more of the other conferences, as time allows.

I’m going to give a try at a big genealogy conference in London next month, to bring to Europe. Actually, I already have a lot of European (and ANZ) subscribers, which is one reason why I think this will be so good. I’m actively preparing for attending the Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE 2012 conference, and it’s certainly adding a bunch of wrinkles.

At the moment, I’m trying to get personal liability insurance for my very modest booth at the show. This is a requirement for exhibiting at WDYTYALive, but I’ve never had to do that before for shows in the US. The trick is that UK insurance agents don’t want to offer coverage because I’m based in the US, and US agents don’t want to offer coverage for the event because it takes place outside the US. I honestly don’t know how this will get resolved, but I guess it’s just one of the challenges associated with going outside your comfort zone.

If you’re in the London area during WDYTYALive, please come visit the stand (311). And if you want a free pass to the conference, send me an email – I think I’ll have a few.

The next conference after WDYTYALive will be a library conference, though – the Public Library Association conference in Philadelphia, in March. Then, in May, I’ll attend the National Genealogical Society conference in Cincinnati. That should be appropriate; I have family in Cincinnati, as that’s where my dad grew up, and he has nephews and family there. If you’ll attend either of those shows, please let me know, and come by to say hello.

New Linking Relationships

Yes, I know it’s been far too long since I posted something here. As ALA Annual rapidly approaches, however, lots of news is coming up. I added a big file a month or so ago, and I’ll add a note about that soon.

Right now, I want to mention a great linking arrangement that we recently settled on, with the good folks at Accessible Archives, who digitize 18th and 19th century publications. We’re actively collecting links to ships mentioned in the newspapers in their Civil War Collection, so you can find mentions of ships in those newspapers.

Read more about this in the recent press release, either via PR Newswire, or at the Accessible Archives website. I’ll write more about this soon.

Don’t forget that we’ll be in New Orleans in about ten days, at the American Library Association Annual Conference! We’ll be at Table 3818. See you there.

Upcoming Conferences – SCELC, ACRL, NGS, ALA

At the American Library Association Midwinter conference in San Diego last month (where it was wonderfully warm and sunny, compared to the 8-12” of snow dumping outside my window at the moment), we ran a promotion for librarians, which we called “We Sing Sea Shanties on the Show Floor”. When librarians signed up for a free trial of, I’d sing them a sea shanty, right there on the convention floor.

Folks from Perkins Library, at Hastings College, filmed the first shanty I sang, then posted it to their Facebook page. They also promoted their trial on the campus radio station! Very cool.

Anyway, it was a rousing success, and we’ll do it again at the ACRL conference in Philadelphia, at the end of March. If you’re attending, please make a point of visiting us at Table 155. Bring your IP ranges, and I’ll sing you a shanty!

We’ll also be at the following conferences and gatherings:

  • SCELC Vendor Day, March 3, Los Angeles. I’ll also be the keynote speaker at the SCELC Colloquium the day before, but I won’t be talking about ShipIndex. Instead, I’ll talk about an idea I have for improving the way libraries manage electronic resources – especially the niche ones, like ShipIndex. So, it’s relevant to ShipIndex but it’s more of a proposal of something I’d like to see someone else build than a pitch for ShipIndex. Those occur on Thursday, the 3rd, at 10:50 and 1:40.
  • National Genealogical Society Conference, May 11-14, Charleston, SC. Here, we’ll be talking more about our individual subscription offers. Charleston is a great city; this should be a fun conference. We had a great time at NGS last year.

If you attend any of these conferences, please come by and say hello! If you know of other conferences we should attend, please let us know; we’d be interested to hear about them.

From the 9th Maritime Heritage Conference, Baltimore

I’m writing from the 9th Maritime Heritage Conference, in Baltimore, right now. The Maritime Heritage Conference takes place every three years, and I’ve had the opportunity to attend a few conferences in the past. It’s neat to get reconnected with friends in the maritime history community, and find out what’s been happening in the maritime history community.

Given the subject, we’ve had some great conference receptions on board ships, and I must admit I’ve failed to take advantage of seeing the most of these ships. I certainly attended, and wandered around a bit, but (so far) I didn’t explore the vessels as much as I should have. On Wednesday evening, when I arrived, we had a reception on board the Liberty Ship John W. Brown. The folks running the Brown have done a great job in putting together a walking tour of an incredible amount of the very large ship. The Brown is also nicely represents a specific time – 1944, when it’s getting ready to travel on a convoy across the North Atlantic. The folks working and volunteering on board the Brown have had a lot of history with these ships, and some attendees told me about talking with the volunteers, some of whom began working on these ships when they were operating in convoys, or soon after the War.

Last night’s reception was on board USS Constellation, and again I enjoyed it, but didn’t take advantage of going through all levels of the ship. However, I understand today that I can board any time during the conference, so I hope to get a chance to go again.

Tomorrow morning, there’s a tour of NS Savannah, the first nuclear merchant ship, which is moored in Baltimore while its future is being decided. I hope I’ll be able to participate, though the tour is quite long and I am also giving a talk about tomorrow afternoon and need to be sure I’m fully ready to give this presentation.

Tomorrow evening, we’re scheduled to have a reception on board USCG Barque Eagle, which arrived in Baltimore today. It may have done so; I haven’t looked out yet to see if there’s a new set of masts in the Inner Harbor. I feel certain we won’t be able to go below on board Eagle, so I should feel OK about just standing on the deck tomorrow evening!

ShipIndex as bag sponsor at 9th Maritime Heritage Conference

I’m excited to report that ShipIndex is a Bronze level sponsor for the upcoming Maritime Heritage Conference in Baltimore, this coming September. We’ll also be sponsoring the conference bags, which is particularly cool. This is the first sponsorship that we’ve undertaken so far, and we hope that it will go well.

A lot of what we need to do right now is get our name out there, so that the appropriate people learn what we’re doing, what our benefits are, and why their institutions should subscribe. (Of course, we also offer individual subscriptions, which are certainly a good thing, too — but they’re not appropriate for institutions, for a variety of reasons.)

So, getting our name (and our very cool logo) in front of several hundred maritime historians should be a very good thing. I’m going to attend, and I’ll spend my time talking with folks, too, about what we offer. We’ll have to see what comes from the event, and decide if it’s worth doing at other conferences in the future. It costs money, obviously, and that’s in reasonably short supply at the moment, but I think that, in the end, it’ll be worth doing. We’ll just have to wait and see, I guess.

A friend told me I should have put together a presentation about, and he pointed out all sorts of great stuff I could have done — talking about how we’re actually doing it, what problems we’re facing, what the implications are for unique vessel identifiers (especially for ships of a previous era, before IMO numbers and other modern identifiers), how developing identifiers for non-extant vessels could benefit researchers, and more. I wish I’d thought of it in time to submit a proposal, but I didn’t. Alas. But I think it’s actually a very interesting story, and I think that there’s quite a lot one can learn just from analyzing and discussing this very big database we’ve built (and continue to add to), so I hope I’ll find a good opportunity to talk about this some time in the not-too-distant future. If you think of a spot, please let me know.

And, of course, if you’ll be attending the conference, or if you’ll be in Baltimore during it, and you’d like to talk about, please tell me. It’s nearly my favorite subject, so I’m always happy to talk about it.