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Launching of 10,000 ton ships


Registers and Lists


The sources in this section are focused mostly on general international titles and those covering the United States. There is a secondary focus on Great Britain and other sources on vessel information from specific countries – with most being long established titles or those with good retrospective holdings at the Library of Congress.

Ships and Ship Registers: Sources of Information

 Table of Contents

The Industry and the History
Registers and Lists
    United States
    Passenger Travel
Trade Literature
Databases and Internet Resources
LC Catalog Searches


Image (left): Launching of 10,000 ton ships. The first of 90 sister ships to be built for the Maritime Commission slides off the dock into the Atlantic.
Between 1941 and 1944?
LC-USE6-D-010609 (b&w film nitrate neg.) LC-DIG-fsa-8b08634 (digital file from original neg.)
Repository: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

Many registers look at merchant, military, and civilian travel though the predominant coverage is commercial vessels. For the United States, there is a strong emphasis on New England and the Great Lakes. A Federal Writers project compiled ship lists for locations in New England using National Archives materials while John Orville Greenwood undertook publishing titles that covered the Great Lakes.

Specific titles that list ships related to particular ports or waterways in the United States have been included but not for all individual places. To research ships active during the California gold rush (destination Yerba Buena Bay) or Klondike gold rush like Excelsior and SS Portland – articles and books on that topic or some of the more famous ships such can be researched on their own.

Lastly, there are titles that list shipwrecks and other disasters as they do pertain to knowing more about individual vessels. Individual situations like what happened with the Titanic and Sultana are not included, but those that were noteworthy or written on extensively have their own Subject Headings.


Bonsor, N. R. P. South Atlantic Seaway : An Illustrated History of the Passenger Lines and Liners from Europe to Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. Jersey Channel Islands : Brookside Publications, c1983.
LC Call Number: HE566.O25 B66 1983
LC Catalog Record: 84243842

Each chapter is by line beginning with the Royal Mial Steam Packet (1851) and ending with the Empresa Lineas Maritimas Agentinas (1962). There are appendixes with supplementary lines, largest passenger liners, ship losses, and index of lines and index of ships.

The Bulk Carrier Register / compiled and published by H. Clarkson & Company Limited. London : H. Clarkson & Co., c1969-
LC Call Number: HE566.F7 B79
LC Catalog Record: 70618134
Holdings: 1969-1997, 2004-2013 incomplete.

They are listed alphabetically by ship name. Data includes: owner/manager information, hull type, beam, draft, engine and hatch information, class, speed, grain/bale, etc. Title also includes index of name changes for vessels, ship ex-name, and ship fleet finding indices.

Gas Carrier Register. London, England : Clarkson Research Studies, c2002-
LC Call Number: HE566.T3 L55
LC Catalog Record: 2002242165
Holdings: 2009, 2011, 2014-.

Previous title was Liquid Gas Carrier Register. Listing is alphabetical by ship name. Data includes: owner/manager information, beam, draft, engine and hatch information, class, speed, etc. Includes index of name changes for vessels, ship ex-name, list of owners/manager, and ship fleet finding indices.

Handbuch für die Deutsche Handelsschiffahrt. Stollhamm (Oldb)/Berlin [etc.] H. Rauschenbusch [etc.] [n.d.]
LC Call Number: HE565.G3 H3
LC Catalog Record: 09029710
Holdings: 1879, 1885-1914, 1926-1939, 1956-1964 incomplete.

This is written only in German. Vessels are listed alphabetically by vessel name. Data includes numbers, signal letter, home port, type, dimensions, tonnage, captain, when built, etc.

Lijst van de schepen varende onder Nederlandse vlag, thuisbehorende in Nederland, 's-Gravenhage, Staatsdrukkerij- en Uitgeveribedrijf [n.d.]
LC Call Number: HE565.N4 L5
LC Catalog Record: 51021502
Holdings: 1870-1971 incomplete.

This is a ship register for the Netherlands and its colonies including Suriname and Curaçao. The name and coverage changes a bit over time, but the data is consistent. It is organized by country/place then alphabetical by ship name. Information on individual ships includes: type, dimensions, port, and signal letters.

List of Merchant Vessels of Japan. Tokyo, Teikoku Kaiji Kyokai [etc.]
LC Call Number: HE565.J3 L5
LC Catalog Record: ca06001341
Holdings: 1916-1922

The title covers steam, sailing, ships with signal letters, and name information.

List of Shipping ... Being a List of Vessels on the Registry Books of the Dominion of Canada ... Ottawa, Canada: Department of Transport, 1847-19
LC Call Number: HE565.C2 A2
LC Catalog Record: 06025855
Holdings: 1878-2003

Organization is alphabetical by ship name. Information on ships includes: official number, name, port of registry, rig, when built, dimension, tonnage, and owner.

List of Ships ... Belonging to the United Kingdom and the Colonies. London [1899]-1904.
LC Call Number: HE565.G7 A5
LC Catalog Record: 06007437
Holdings: 1899-1966

Ships covered include steamers and sailing. Information on individual ships and includes: by construction (under steamer and under sailing) for wood, steel, iron/wood; official number, name, port of registry, where and when built, tonnage, horsepower information and engine information.

Lista Oficial de Buques. [Madrid, etc.] Subsecretaría de Pesca y Marina Mercante [etc.] 1873-
LC Call Number: HE565.S7 A27
LC Catalog Record: 09016189
Holdings: 1892, 1908-1920, 1925-1928, 1931-36, 1939-1945 incomplete, 1947-1978 incomplete, 1982.

Title on the spine can vary but the holdings listed are at the same call number. Organization is alphabetical by ship name. Data includes, official number, tonnage, class, dimensions and capacity, who/when built, propulsion and engine information.

Lloyd's Confidential Index of British Steam and Motor Vessels. London: Lloyd's
LC Call Number: HE565 .G7 L63
LC Catalog Record: 57027369
Holdings: 1951-1965

Published semiannually. Organized by company name with ships listed alphabetically and includes when ship built/acquired, gross/net tonnage. Also includes a list of those shops lost.

Lloyd's List and Shipping Gazette. London [Corporation of Lloyds]
LC Call Number: HE561.L63 (folio)
LC Catalog Record: ca27000168
Digitized version available from Hathi Trust External Link
Holdings: 1914-1959

Front page has ads by Line with info. Section on Overseas Movement (by location). British focus on the local ports. Now off-site so turn around for this title is 2 days.

Lloyd's Loading List. [London, Corp. of Lloyd's]
LC Call Number: HE568.L6
LC Catalog Record: 53026508
Holdings: May 1951-November 1981
Sailings information presented by port.

The Royal Museums – Greenwich have created a helpful guide to various Lloyds publications External Link that may be helpful for those using the List and looking to expand their research. The List has been published in 1734 and is a newspaper covering shipping movements, casualties and news items. Chief among this is the Voyage Record Cards (1927–1975) and the Voyage Record (1946-).

Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping. Universal register. London, Printed by W. Clowes & sons, limited, 1886-
LC Call Number: HE565.A3 L77
LC Catalog Record: 16022487
Holdings: 1886-1889

Written in French and English. Includes separate listings of steamers and sailing vessels listed alphabetically by vessel. Information for both sections differs. For sailing vessels information give includes: number, rig, late name, dimensions, when and where built, builder name, date of metalling, owners/managers, port of registry. For steamers information given is official numbers, late name, material, rigs, number of decks, port of registry, tonnage, dimensions, when and where built, builder name, number of bulkheads, engine information including builder, owners/managers. There are other lists including signal letters alphabetically by country, list of name change, index of vessels having compound name, list of steamers by nationality (with net tonnage grouping), list of ship owners/managers, alphabetical list of shipbuilder in Great Britain with ships they built still in operation, and war ship of the world by country.

Lloyd's Register of Shipping. London : Lloyd’s Register of Shipping.
LC Call Number: HE565.A3 L7
LC Catalog Record: ca08001387 (link to HathiTrust)
LC Catalog Record: 82644426
LC Catalog Record: sn87022627 (Appendix)
Digitized version available from Hathi Trust External Link
Holdings: 1764-current

Also known as Register of Ships. There are a number of issues from the early 20th century and before available via the HathiTrust.External Link Information is alphabetical by ship and includes: official numbers, call sign, registered owner, manager, launched as name, gross/net tonnage, deadweight current class societies, service/machinery/strength class notation, shipbuilder, modification information, place/year built, yard number, various length/breadth/depth numbers, ship type/cargo facilities, hatch/machinery/engine information, etc. This is a good title to look at if one is looking to track the changes made to a vessel. The Appendix volume ceased in with the issue for 1982-83. This title has changed publishers over time and there are two names that are associated with it - Fairplay and IHS (see electronic sources list – Ships in class and Lloyd Register of Ships Online). Current edition in the Business Reference Collection.

Mercantile Navy List. London, H. M. Stationery Off. [etc.] [n.d.]
LC Call Number: HE565.G7 M5
LC Catalog Record: 50033347
Holdings 1916-1976

Related title names are General Register and Record Office of Shipping and Seamen and Board of Trade. Commercial Code of Signals, for use of all Nations. Supplement. Title comes in 2 parts. Part 1 is steam and sailing ships part two is motor ships. Information in both is much the same and includes 2 lists within each title: list one includes official number, name/description, port/year of registry, when/where built, registered tonnage, and owners.

Merchant Ships ... London, S. Low, Marston & co., ltd. [1936- ]
LC Call Number: HE565.A3 M4
LC Catalog Record: 36022441
Holdings 1936-1963

This title covers the British Empire. There is an index of funnels and flags(companies). Also included are photographs of British ship and descriptive information by company. During the war years it include illustration of the front, underside, and side view of Japanese, German, and Italian aircraft. There were also illustrations of private liners as well as U.S. Navy ships with their names included.

Norway. Departementet for handel, sjøfart, industri, håndverk og fiskeri. Fortegnelse over Norske Orlogs- og Handelsfartøier med Kjenningssignaler ... Oslo, 18
LC Call Number: HE565.N8 A3
LC Catalog Record: 43022018
Holdings: 1870-1974

Title continued under the name Norges Skibsliste. Title is organized into two sections. The first is basic information signal letters and ship name. The second has more complete information and is alphabetical by ship name. Information includes: name, owner information, class, official numbers, tonnage, when built, home port, and type.

Norway. Sjøfartsdirektoratet. Norges Skipsliste. Oslo, Kommisjon hos Grøndahl.
LC Call Number: HE565.N8 A317
LC Catalog Record: 76646432
Holdings: 1976-1989

Title is in English and Norwegian. Title is organized into two sections. The first is basic information signal letters and ship name. The second has more complete information and is alphabetical by ship name. Information includes: name, owner information, class, official numbers, tonnage, when built, home port, and type.

Rejestr / Polski Rejestr Statków. Gdańsk : Rejestr
LC Call Number: HE565.P7 A3
LC Catalog Record: 60025762
Holdings: 1960-2008/09

The format of this changed with the 1982 edition though the information seems to be the same. There are a number of sections. The first is alphabetical by ship and includes: official number, name, ton and dimensions, class information, refrigeration and machinery information, port of register, owner name, hull information (when/where built, which shipyard, type of construction, passengers, holds, containers, grain/bale, derricks, cranes, winches, hatches), machinery information (engine, boilers, and generators). Another section is just additional information about ships filled with refrigeration and is also alphabetical by name. Information includes: name, refrigeration information, class, compressor information, cargo chambers, etc. There is also a list of ship by owner.

Register / Germanischer Lloyd. Hamburg : Germanischer Lloyd, 1954-
LC Call Number: HE565 .A3 G6
LC Catalog Record: 52030900
Holdings 1907-2004

Continues Germanisher Lloyd. Internationales Register (before 1952). In English and in German. It includes seagoing and inland vessels listed alphabetically by name. Data includes: Call sign, register number, radio, nautical and radio equipment information; name (and former name), owner port of registry, flag, classification, classification of machinery plant and refrigeration, completion month/year, hold capacity, kind of service tanks, contents, number of hatchways, lifting devices (number, type), power information includes engine information (type and manufacturing data), boiler information (type and manufacturing data).

Register of Ships. Tokyo, Nippon Kaiji Kyokai, [n.d.]
LC Call Number: HE565.J3 R4
LC Catalog Record: 68047267
Holdings: 1953-1987 incomplete.

In Japanese and English. Vessels are listed alphabetically by vessel name. Data includes: official number, type, various dimension numbers, tonnage, cargo capacity, engine/boiler information, builders of ship/engine/boiler, where/when built.

Register over Norske, Svenske, Danske, Finske og Islandske Skip. Norske veritas, Oslo.
LC Call Number: HE565.A3 N67
LC Catalog Record: 50023213
Holdings: 1911-1998

Covers Scandinavian countries as well as Finland. Includes information on ships: name, number, signal letters, hull information, tonnage, where/when built.

Register of Japanese Vessels. [Tokyo? Maritime Transportation Bureau] [n.d.]
LC Call Number: HE565.J3 A3
LC Catalog Record: 51031362

Published in 1949 this is a 4 volume (there is a single volume that is A-Z as well) set organized in alphabetical order. There is one page per ship and includes official number, name, port of registry, owners, tonnage, dimensions, where/when built, launch date, superstructure, alterations information, engines and boilers information, etc.

Registre Maritime. Bureau Véritas, Paris.
LC Call Number: HE565.A3 B68
LC Catalog Record: 68038919
Holdings: 1964-2005

Ships listed alphabetically by name. Date on ships includes: name, company, official numbers, registry, when/where built, classification information (refrigeration, cargo, fishing, etc.), dimensions, hull information, and engine information (make, installation, speed, etc.). Same publisher as an earlier title Répertoire Général.

Registro Italiano Navale. [Genova] [n.d.]
LC Call Number: HE565.J3 R42
LC Catalog Record: 50031701
Holdings: 1929-1951 incomplete, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1970.

It is also referred to as Libro Registro and is in Italian and English. Vessels listed alphabetically by name and data. Includes: ship numbers, class, surveys, bull builders with when/where, number of decks, date of last improvement/repair, propelling machinery (builder, when/where of engines), boiler information (builder, when/where), free board.

Répertoire Général... Bureau Véritas, Paris.
LC Call Number: HE565.A3 B7
LC Catalog Record: ca11000273
Holdings: 1900-1940

Same publisher as Registre Maritime. Title is in French and in English. Organized alphabetically by vessel name. Information includes: class type, call signal, tonnage, port of constructions, vessel and captains, rig, when built, name/address of owner, and flag information.

Shipping Digest. New York, Journal of Commerce, etc.
LC Call Number: HE561 .S4
LC Catalog Record: 47034248

Published since 1923 (folio), 1945 – forward regular size. Has news and advertisements. Many advertisements had ship names, ports, etc. There is an Exchange Rate section. Oversize folio volumes now off-site so turn around for this title is 2 days.

Shipping and Mercantile Gazette and Lloyd's List. London [W. Mitchell] 18 [Spottiswoode & co., ltd.] 18 -1916.
LC Call Number: HE561.L62
LC Catalog Record: ca27000167
Holdings: 1856-Feb. 1916.

Daily reports of shipping movements. Outward/homeward vessels (Great Britain perspective), customs entries, loading and dock directories, as well as news on Maritime Dispositions and Official Enquiries. There is a Steamship Index section lists information by ship. Now off-site so turn around for this title is 2 days.

Signal letters of United Kingdom and Commonwealth ships for the use of ships at sea and signal stations. London, H. M. Stationery Office [n.d.]
LC Call Number: HE565.G7 A3
LC Catalog Record: 09019519
Holdings: 1872-1968

Related title name is General Register and Record Office of Shipping and Seamen. British Code List for the Use of Ships at Sea and for Signal Stations. Comes in 2 parts. Part one is by signal letters part 2 is alphabetical by vessel name (only includes signal letter and name). Part one covers: Royal Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Ceylon Navy, Ghana Navy, Indian Navy, Royal Malaysian navy, Royal New Zealand Navy, Nigerian Navy, Pakistan Navy, ships from East Africa, ships from the UK government that were not military.

Tanker & Bulk Carrier World Directory. London, Terminus Publications; [n.d.]
LC Call Number: HE566.T3 T3
LC Catalog Record: 60003769
Holdings: 1960-1967.

Vessels are listed alphabetically by vessel name. Data includes: deadweight tonnage, flag, description, owner, builder/year built.

The Tanker Register. London, H. Clarkson.
LC Call Number: HE566.T3 R4
LC Catalog Record: 71565903
Holdings: 1915-1984 incomplete, 2014.

This title continues Register of Tank Vessels of the World. Publisher changed over time – publisher was Standard Oil then ESSO. Because it was originally published by oil companies was explicitly about carrying petroleum. Organization is alphabetical by ship name. Data includes: draft, engine, and engine information as well as speed, hull type, capacity, etc. There is also index of name changes for vessels, ship ex-name, and ship fleet finding indices.

Last updated: 05/09/2018

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