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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Your history: Maritime History

The hundreds of thousands of common sailors who formed the backbone of early North American commerce are virtually invisible. Unless they were among the very few who left diaries and letters of their travels they have disappeared from the historical record for all except the very dedicated researcher willing to spend countless hours pouring over fading reels of microfilm containing the crew lists. While more and more museums, maritime or otherwise have exhibits focused on the experience of the common man, as opposed to the leading class, captains, etc. very few if any have identified all the participants by name.

Now however there are a few notable exceptions:

New London Crew List Database: 1803-1878

Young Men and the Sea: Salem Databases

Black Sailors Research Project

The research potential is enormous!

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