Author Topic: Helpful Links to Outside Information  (Read 9952 times)


  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 824
    • View Profile
Helpful Links to Outside Information
« on: January 22, 2011, 01:56:03 am »

Here are some links that may help you with everything from locations to historic context.  The addresses are embedded in the titles, so just click on the blue text.  Editors will find the old Helpful links list, heavy in Royal Navy resources, in the Editorial Office Archives.  Also, there is a US Navy online bibliography of sources for naval terminology that is quite extensive.

Note: There have been occasional copyright difficulties for accessing Google Books for Europeans; there is some success in reading them from Europe by using proxie IPs such as, but they may not be safe.

If you would like to submit a link for inclusion, please post it here

We recommend sampling these pages to learn tips on how to recognized the changing shapes of letters over history.

Old Handwriting Styles - How to read Gothic script, from a Finnish genealogy site.
Palaeography - Reading old handwriting 1500 - 1800; tips from the UK National Archives.
Tips for Reading Old Handwriting - A crash course in some of the unusual things you're likely to encounter, from
Crossword Solver - A way of finding possible letters for mid-word scribbles.


Maikel's Research Sources: Ships/Places/People/Miscellaneous - A list of resources for finding ship names. locations and crew for NHN's ship editors. 

Log Books of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Revenue Service/Coast Guard, and U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey
This is an Index to remarkable pages of full histories of the ships we are transcribing or might transcribe later. Many of these ships explored and patrolled the high arctic; some, like the USS Constitution, simply have historic value.  Welcome to our project.

Arctic Rediscovery: Coast Guard Image Gallery - This digital image library displays photographs taken by the crews of US Revenue Marine and Coast Guard cutters. In addition to showing what the environment looked like at specific times and places, these pictures also reveal fascinating details of daily life on the cutters.

Canada's Library & Archives Ship Registration Index - This contains more than 78,000 entries of ships registered in ports of Canada between 1787 and 1966.  It does not include naval warships.

Cutters, Craft & U.S. Coast Guard-Manned Army & Navy Vessels - This is a list of named vessels of the Revenue Marine, Revenue Cutter Service, Coast Guard and Lighthouse Service.  The Historian's Office maintains a file on most of the vessels. Click here to see available online pictures.

DANFS: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships - Part of the Naval History & Heritage Command, this indexes everything fighting and American, including Confederate Forces Afloat.  Scroll down to get to ship index.

Annual List of Merchant Vessels of the United States - US merchant ships with official numbers and signal letters, 1895 onwards. Also contains lists of vessels belonging to the US government.

Bombay Marine and Indian Navy Ships - A listing of British Empire naval and mercantile ships built in Bombay, India, in the age of sail. Although these ships were employed by the Royal Navy in time of war, no war fleet list includes them.

Clyde Built Ships - Now run by the Caledonian Maritime Research Trust, they are amassing of at least 25,000 ships built on the River Clyde, both naval and commercial, of all types, going back to the 1790s. 

Danish Ship Lists - Maritime Library has digitized Danish Ship Lists 1869-2002.

Historic Naval Ships Association - Huge amount of information about all things Navy, from broad overviews to things as specific as explanations of the hydraulic catapults in Essex class carriers. Sound fun? Wanna see the manual? No kidding, all the manuals to every little thing are on this site. Endlessly fascinating. 

Lloyd's Register Of Ships - Here you will find the registration details of a vessel such as the rigging, the tonnage, dimensions, propulsion, owners and her Master. These have been transcribed from the Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping from 1764 up to 2003, by Gilbert Provost with assistance from Pauline Joicey.

Maritime Heritage Project - The Maritime Heritage Project focus is a site, including books, ports, captains, ships and names of more than 20,000 passengers that sailed into San Francisco during the 1800s. Library - Here are ships listed by their voyages, frequently giving crew names; a partial Yacht Register List, 1872 to 1906, and various American ship registers, 1857 to 1900.

NOAA: Coast and Geodetic Survey ships - The major contribution of these small ships has been their devotion to accuracy and precision in the charting of our nation's waterways.

Norway-Heritage - Lists passenger-carrying ships, not only those which departed directly from Norway, but also other transatlantic ships which carried emigrants, 1825-1925.

Plimsoll Ship Data - It has digitised pages from Lloyd's Register of Ships from 1930 to 1945. Easy to use source for ships that survived into the thirties and WW2.

Old Ship Picture Galleries - An enormous database of pictures. You can probably find yours here.

Palmer List of Merchant Vessels - A list of descriptions of merchant vessels, both sail and steam, compiled over the course of many years from a variety of sources, concentrating on 19th century ships.

(Wikipedia) Royal Navy and other ships - A listing of the correct spelling of the names of the more than 13,000 ships that have served in the Royal Navy over all time, with links to articles on individual ships where they exist.  NOTE: There are hundreds of ship lists in Wikipedia, including those of many of the world's navies.  See Search results: Lists of navy ships and use the browser Find function to locate nationality; don't forget to also try the next 500 list page.

Ship Index Org - Tells you which books, magazines, and online resources mention the vessels you're researching. With 142,804 entries in the free database and 1,515,323 entries available with premium access, you're bound to find useful information here.

The Ships List - There were a great many companies involved in the ocean trade. The Ships List attempts to collect the names of the companies and present a brief history of each and the names of the vessels they used.

ShipScribe - Home of the "Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy" and of "French Navy Ships", 1816-1859; also: "Steel Shipbuilding under the U. S. Shipping Board, 1917-1921". Wonderful.

South American merchant vessels - The text is in Spanish.

USN Naval History & Heritage Command Photographic Collection - The new NHHC site?s photographic collection no longer has a good index, but they do have albums of digitized photographs on this page.  The digitized USN artwork collection is also available in albums. It is recommended to search for ship photos and paintings in the general header search box as ShipName image.

U. S. Navy Auxiliary Vessels 1835-1945 - reference information on the auxiliary vessels of the United States Navy that were on hand or added to the force between 1835 and 1945.

(Wikipedia) United States Navy list of Ship Names - A listing of the thousands of ships that have been registered in the US Navy, with links to articles on individual ships where they exist.

(Wikipedia) United States Army list of Ship Names - A listing of the thousands of ships that have been registered in the US Army during WW2, with links to articles on individual ships where they exist.

Whaling, American Offshore Voyages: A Database - Their overall mission is to collect, preserve and make accessible maritime resources in electronic format; specializes on whalers.

Whaling and Sealing Ships of Dundee - A limited list of whaling and sealing ships. The Dundee whaling fleet participated in Arctic whale and seal hunting for longer than the fleets of many other countries.

WW1 Royal Navy Ships:
  • Complete List of RN war and support ships - All the Warships, Auxiliary Patrol vessels, and many Support vessels in WW1 from the following 3 categories in a single index by name - wonderful.  Many of the same vessels are now also sorted by Pendant Numbers, Admiralty Numbers, Motor Boat Numbers, and Fishing Port Registration Numbers; see top of index page for those links.
  • List of RN SHIPS OF WAR - WW1 warships sorted by assigned squadrons and with their listed locations on Nov. 1st 1914 and Jan. 1st 1916.

WreckSite - If your ship now resides on the ocean floor, chances are there's information about it right here.

Also see NEWSPAPER HISTORICAL ARCHIVES in the Historical Research section below - search for ship name.


A military and naval dictionary (1905) - A large list of abbreviations used in all branches of the US military.

Signal Flags - An explanation of how signal flags were used; including the code for "Signal Book Correct" that often appears in the logs. See also this list. And A long list of various signal and telegraphic codes.   The International Code of Signals can be found in its initial and then formalized sets:  The International Code of Signals, for the Use of all Nations: 1873.  It was revised (completely rewritten, really!) in 1901, and the later edition that is similar to today's current code, The International Code of Signals, for the Use of all Nations: 1909.

The Telegraphic Dictionary and Seamen's Signal Book, adapted to Signals by Flags or Other Semaphores and Arranged for Secret Correspondence, through Morse's Electro-Magnetic Telegraph: for the use of Commanders of Vessels, Merchants, &c. - By act of Congress, approved by Samuel B. Morse in 1845.  The 1868 version is also online.

Abbreviations Used for Navy Enlisted Ratings - An alphabetical listing of rating abbreviations, including long titles for the ratings and pertinent remarks concerning the abbreviations, 1775-1969.  See also Compilation of Enlisted Ratings and Apprenticeships, U.S. Navy, 1775 to 1969

Symbols of U.S. Navy Ships - The Aleutians Campaign June 1942 - August 1943 - Symbols of U.S. Navy Ships.  Giving naming conventions which list ships by classes.

US Navy Rank Abbreviations - A full 69 pages of them, officers and enlisted alike, on a tightly spaced chart. Whichever rank abbreviation is puzzling you, it will be here.

CLIWOC Multilingual Meteorological Dictionary - An English-Spanish-Dutch-French dictionary of wind force terms used by mariners from 1750 to 1850.

Seabed Symbols for Safer Sailing Navigation - The codes for describing the sea bottom, how to use them for navigating, and how they are determined while sounding.

Abbreviations (non-weather) - (one of our own reference posts) Naval abbreviations that most of us have never seen or heard of before.

Abbreviations (American and British Commonwealth Military) - Many historic abbreviations used in various forces as seen from a Canadian POV.

Cloud Types - (one of our own reference posts) What are Cum Cir Nim anyway?

Reading Wind Direction - (one of our own reference posts) What do those wind direction letters mean and just how complicated can they get?

Weather Code Chart - (one of our own reference posts)  What do those wind direction letters mean and just how complicated can they get? The abbreviated chart printed in the logbooks is included. (Log keepers have been known to use codes from the expanded list.)


Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society - ARLHS World List of Lights (WLOL).

American practical navigator: an epitome of navigation and nautical astronomy 1916 - Section 1 Appendix IV lists just about every port and lighthouse in the world by Lat/Long; there is an alphabetical index at the end. The rest of the book supplies everything anyone might want to know about navigation.

The Lighthouse Directory - Provides information and links for more than 13,300 of the world's lighthouses.

Updated address for: Maikel's Research Sources
Can't do that with Talk!
« Last Edit: January 27, 2017, 03:10:39 pm by Randi »

Janet Jaguar

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9655
  • Smell the sea, feel the sky, & fly into the mystic
    • View Profile
Helpful Links to Outside Information continued
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2012, 03:06:42 pm »

Naval Maps, - Outstanding resource put together by our Gordon Smith. Some are basic, showing relevant places only; others, British port maps for instance, are genuine, detailed sailing charts.

Asiatic Pilot, African Pilot, British Isles Pilot, etc. 1915 to 1925 - A detailed descriptions of landmarks (with English names) on every coast in the world, compiled by the United States Hydrographic Office. Superb name finder; landmarks are listed in order of sight as the observing ship sails past.

David Rumsey Map Collection - An enormous archive of maps both current and archaic. This arctic map (1929) and this map of Alaska (1924) are some of the best.

Fuzzy Gazetteer - An outstanding resource where you can plug in that place name you can't quite read all the letters of, and it will come back with potentially correct names

Geographic Dictionary of Alaska, 2nd Edition 1906 - By the United States Geological Survey; the purpose of this dictionary is to show in one alphabetical list all the published names which have been applied to geographical features in Alaska.

International Map of the World 1:1,000,000 - Put together between 1913 and the late 20th century, and less than half complete, it still covers much of the western world in greater detail than can be found anywhere else online.  Oceanographic depths as well as land features.  Worth looking for even if the dating may be iffy.

Geographical Names - National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Bethesda, MD, USA. This offers an alphabetical directory of place names. If you're trying to figure out what it says in the location box on a log page, this site might help.

Google Maps - A site that has become the standard.

Nautical Charts Online - Excellent access and search function for NOAA and international navigation charts.

NOAA Alaskan coastal charts - Historic ship charts with detailed coastal names. This NOAA Aleutian Islands coastal chart has to be the best yet for the Aleutian Islands.

Officers and Personnel

Various Lists of Ranks and Ratings:

Officers of the Continental and U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, 1775-1900 - A complete alphabetical list of all commissioned officers who served in the Continental Navy and Marines (1775-1785) and the US Navy and Marines (1798-1900). (From 1786-1797, the US did not have a navy or marine corps.)

US Revenue Cutter Service Historical Register of Officers 1790-1914 - A complete alphabetical list of all commissioned officers who served in the USRCS from its founding to its merger with the Life-saving Service to form the current US Coast Guard.

Register of the commissioned and warrant officers and cadets of the United States Coast Guard in the order of precedence - A list of regular and reserve commissioned and warrant officers on active duty in order of precedence and temporary members of the reserve, including living retired officers for the years 1921 to 1940.Bound in volumes of 5 years and digitized by the Hathi Trust Digital Library at the University of Michigan.  Years 1915-1918 also available here at that Library.  (I can't seem to find 1919 or 1920 digitized.)

World War 1 at Sea: UNITED STATES NAVY, COAST GUARD & MARINE CORPS  CASUALTIES - Killed and Died - A complete list provided by

An Index to the annual Registers of the Commissioned Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps - 1802-1973, as submitted to Congress.  Some of these can use your browser search by ship name, others are hard scans not amenable to search functions, and yet others are not yet digitized.  For logs that give you an exact year, they can be very useful to give spelling of names.

The Internet Surname Database - A general listing of surnames, their histories and alternative spellings. Helpful in deciphering surnames for free, although included links may charge usage fees. - A very large database, good for locating deceased individuals by name; there are fees to see the listings, as well as additional fees to see databases outside the US.

A method for classifying offences and punishments on board vessels of the U.S. Navy, with directions as to good-conduct lists, badges, and discharges, and as to liberty on shore and liberty money. Pub.1870 - A complete list of punishments and rewards used in the second half of the nineteenth century.


  • William Falconer's Dictionary of the Marine 1780 - "A universal dictionary of the marine: or, a copious explanation of the technical terms and phrases employed in the construction, equipment, furniture, machinery, movements, and military operations of a ship. Illustrated with variety of Original designs of shipping, in different Situations; Together with separate views of their Masts, Sails, Yards, and Rigging."  1500+ pages of details.
  • A Dictionary of Sea Terms - The 1898 version of A. Ansted's guide for 'yachtsmen, amateur boatmen, and beginners'; full of useful information.   (Text-only version at A Dictionary of Sea Terms)
  • The Sailor's Word-Book 1867 - An Alphabetical Digest of Nautical Terms, including Some More Especially Military and Scientific, but Useful to Seamen; as well as Archaisms of Early Voyagers, etc.
  • SeaTalk Nautical Dictionary - The Dictionary of English Nautical Language: A comprehensive nautical dictionary, complete with usage, examples suggesting good seamanship, images of ships and gear and a nautical blog.
  • A Glossary of Whaling Terms - Clifford W. Ashley's A GLOSSARY OF WHALING TERMS. To Which are Added Certain Words Applying to the Trades of Cooper, Caulker, and Rigger. From his The Yankee Whaler. 1926.

American practical navigator: an epitome of navigation and nautical astronomy 1916 - The book teaches everything anyone might want to know about navigation.

Arctic Rediscovery: A Look Back - Gallery - Photos reveal fascinating details of life on historical ships in the Bering Sea ? Arctic region beginning in the mid-19th century. The photos augment the data being recovered from the ships logs.

British Naval Logbooks from the Late Seventeenth Century: New climatic information from old sources - Describing the weather recordings that were further defined and quantified by Beaufort. - An overview of the Great War.

Meteorology Glossary - Defines almost everything about weather and the instruments used to measure it.  "This electronic version of the 2nd Edition of the Glossary of Meteorology is meant to be a "living document" to be periodically updated as terms in our field evolve." - Nearly everything you would ever want to known about the histories of various Navies in several wars.  Everything from casualty lists to war diaries to in-depth info about the ships and men.  And it's run by one of Old Weather's science team members, Gordon Smith (with great assists from Don Kindall, our own Kin47!)

NavHist - Naval History via Flix.  A listing of ships and everything attached to them.


NOAA Photo Library - Built as to capture the work, observations, and studies that of the scientists, engineers, commissioned officers, and administrative personnel that make up this complex and scientifically diverse agency. 

Pathe Newsreels - You've seen 'em on TV, now you can access them Online and even search for newsreels covering specific topics.  Warning: it's very easy to get lost for hours watching these!

Ratings and the Evolution of Jobs in the Navy - The United States Navy's World of Work: Nearly 200 Years of Evolution.

SHIPS & SHIPPING: A Handbook of Popular Nautical Information; with numerous diagrams plans and illistrations - edited by Francis Miltoun 1903.  Extensive information useful to merchant vessels, spelled out for the landlubber, including some merchant lines' funnel colours and flags.  Kellscraft Studio's free library site.

Textbook of Seamanship 1891 - The equipping and handling of vessels under sail or steam for the use of the United States Naval Academy.  Good for newbie sailors.

The merchant marine manual 1918 by ODonnel - Everything a sailor needs to know about sailing, maintaining and operating every bit of machinery and equipment on a cargo ship.

U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Annual Reports - This site provides access to the annual reports to congress of the Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1837 to 1965 in PDF format.  Use the alphabetic index in each to find the report on your vessel that year.

U.S. Coast Guard and Revenue Cutter Service Annual Reports

US Navy Department Library Online Reading Room - The full library of all online books, documents and photos that belong to the US Navy.

US NAVY MANUALS AND DOCUMENTS ONLINE (Historic Naval Ships Association) - Many how-to books and documents printed by navies for their officers to use, ranging from the "Textbook of Seamanship" 1891 to Gunnery and Foundry manuals to WWII submarines. 

WWI - The War At Sea - A section of the WWI/WWII which provides resources for doing historic research on the naval side of the conflict.

The young sea officer's sheet anchor; or, A key to the leading of rigging, and to practical seamanship - A key to the leading of rigging, and to practical seamanship / by Darcy Lever, Esq. (1808); with additions by George W. Blunt (1853).  Where to turn when asked to box-haul the catharpins, in the age of sail.  Photoed pages, browser searches do not work.

Online 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica - based on what many consider to be the best encyclopedia ever written: the eleventh edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, first published in 1911.  Many other career specific encyclopedias available on the same site.  Also available at

Updated address for: Abbreviations Used for Navy Enlisted Ratings
Can't do that with Talk!
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 04:06:31 pm by Randi »

Janet Jaguar

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9655
  • Smell the sea, feel the sky, & fly into the mystic
    • View Profile
Re: Helpful Links to Outside Information
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2015, 06:07:33 pm »

Amateur Hobbyist Weather Sites - This is a link to links, basically.  Here you'll find links to a small stack of amateur weather observation websites.

Cloud Observers - Here's their Mission Statement: 'To keep the Meteorological Observers Branch alive and to foster good relations with members young and old. To establish and promote links with other Fleet Air Arm Branches.'

MARINE OBSERVATIONS OF OLD WEATHER - Published results from OldWeather's predecessor.

NOAA Pictorial Definitions of Types of Sea Ice - Pages 10-12 have many images of different kinds of sea ice (and icebergs). Also some pictures of other ships mentioned, like the whalers Aurora and Arctic. All from Schley, Report of the Greely Relief Expedition (Bear, Thetis, Alert 1884).

Solar Stormwatch - A sister Zooniverse, very interested in collecting our recorded events of auroras and sunspots.  Please note these in the Natural Phenomena topic.

Space Weather - Archive of the most severe solar storms and their aurora, listed chronologically.

US Navy Glossary of Sea Ice Terms - The following  text  and  photos  are  adapted  from  Sea Ice  Nomenclature,  WMO  No.  259, TP  145.


Boxing the Compass - Boxing the compass is the action of naming all thirty-two principal points of the compass in clockwise order. Such names, formed by the initials of the cardinal directions and their intermediate ordinal directions, are accepted internationally, even though they have their origin in the English language, and are very handy to refer to a heading (or course or azimuth) in a general or colloquial fashion, without having to resort to computing or recalling degrees.

Swinging the Ship - All the whys and hows of adjusting a ship’s compass to account for deviation due to both the earth’s variations and the effects of the steel in the ship.

Glossary of Naval Architecture Terminologies & Definitions (Concise Edition) - a.k.a. parts for building ships.  A more complete set of glossaries is available at Naval History and Heritage Command / Nomenclature of Naval Vessels

Calculate the day of a year, date validity - Your log keeper gave you the day of the week, but you think his year is wrong?  Check that out here.

Reaumur temperature conversion - Link to a Wikipedia page about Reaumur scale with conversion table between different temperature measure units and Reaumur temperature conversion forumlae.

Sailing Ships - the Square Rigging - Interesting site that explains the specifics of rigging a ship, from full-rigged to barques, barquentines and brigs. 
« Last Edit: June 13, 2015, 12:31:53 am by Janet Jaguar »