Newfoundland and Labrador Ancestors: The Maritime History Archive Part 2

In Part 1, we looking at the catalog of the Maritime History Archive\’s holdings. In Part 2 we\’re looking at what else they have to offer.

Research Services

Staff can be hired to do research and provide scans of documents for a fee. Considering all they have in their holdings, the fees are not unreasonable. Research is done for $40/hour Canadian dollars, with a minimum charge of one hour\’s research time. Scans are an extra fee, the cost depending on what you are requesting. If you choose to go the snail mail route, there is a shipping charge. Depending on the size of the file, charges range from $2-$5 for shipping within Canada. Contact the Archive for shipping outside of Canada. Also note that a 15% HST tax is on top of the stated fees. A detailed breakdown of fees and how to make payment is on their website here. The page was last updated February 2017, so there should be no surprises.

Publications

The Archive has a few publications available for sale:

2018 Heritage Calendar:

Using images from the Archives, the calendar is $20.00 if you\’re local, or $25.75 if they\’re shipping it to you. Taxes are included.


Births, Deaths & Marriages in Newfoundland Newspapers 1810-1890:

This can be purchased as either a downloadable database, or as a CD. Cost for either is $57.44 with tax. Please note that neither is compatible with Mac operating systems.


Ships and Seafarers of Atlantic Canada:

This is also a downloadable database that can be purchased as a CD. It is actually three databases. There\’s one of Certificates of Registry for ships from major ports in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI. It covers years from 1787-1936.

The second database contains crew agreements from St. John (NB), Yarmouth (NS), Windsor (NS), and Halifax (NS). Years covered are 1863-1914. The database has information on over 200,000 names.

The third database contains crew agreements from non Canadian vessels, and contains over 100,000 names. They state that this database is a sampling, and by no means a complete database.

Cost is $57.44 taxes included. This product is also not compatible with Mac systems.


Canadian Fisherman

This is a set of 9 reels of microfilm. The Canadian Fisherman was a monthly journal that dealt with the commercial fishing industry. You\’ll not only find articles on the Atlantic Canada fishing industry, but also the Pacific, the Great Lakes, and the Prairies. It ran from 1914-1970. Cost is $290. It does not say but I would assume taxes are extra, since they do not specifically say taxes are included.

To see more details of the publications and place an order, look here.

Virtual Exhibits

This section can give you an insight into everyday life of Newfoundland and Labrador. There\’s exhibits on the ferries (called the Alphabet Fleet), Coastal Women, and the Titanic. You\’ll also find links to some of the collections we discussed in Part 1. They also provide links to virtual exhibits on other sites. Among the more than 20 exhibits I found:

  • 6 different collections of digitized diaries
  • Photographs from the Grenfell Mission hospital
  • The Twillingate Sun, a newspaper that ran from 1880-1953
  • The Mercantile Navy List and Maritime Directory. Digitized are various years from 1868 to 1938
  • An exhibit detailing the sinking of the USS Pollox and the USS Truxtun in 1942
NL Heritage Web Site

This will take you to the Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage website. Here you can browse articles relating to the history of the province. You can also access photos, sound recordings and videos. The sub categories on the main page include Aboriginal Peoples, the First World War, and Government, among others. As of writing this, their featured article right now is on the 1892 fire of St. John\’s. While there, check out the other resources on the main navigation bar. 
Photo Catalogue

Here you can search their photograph collection. A handy tool when you\’re looking for something specific. I typed in \”Grenfell Mission\” and got 426 photos. 
Crew Agreements

This is the gem of their collections. From this link you can access three different databases.

1881 Crew Lists Database

The database has names of over 300,000 seamen from British registered vessels. You can search in any of four ways: Last Name, First Name, Vessel Name, or Official Number. I typed \”Greening\” in the last name field and got four hits. Each hit took me to a digitized image of the crew lists. This is a work in progress, so if your ancestor is not showing up, then keep checking. As, well search with variations on the last name. My 2x great grandfather, Dougald McArthur, was a ship\’s steward from Glasgow. I tried both MCARTHUR and MACARTHUR, and got different results each time. Also try searching with an initial as opposed to a complete first name. You\’ll get more possible hits that way.
Newfoundland and Labrador Crew Lists Database

Set up the same way as the 1881 database, this one deals with only crew lists from Newfoundland and Labrador. Along with search terms above, you can also search by Voyage Year. There are lists from 1863-1942. The initial project is complete, but as they come across more of the documents, they will add to the database. 
Merchant Seamen – Commissioned Fleet Auxiliary, 1914-1920

This database deals solely with the crew agreements of the Sunhill. You can search by either Last Name or First Name. As with the other databases, your results page will include links to the digitized image. This one is also a work in progress, so keep checking back if you don\’t find anything at first.
Contact information for the Maritime History Archive is:
Maritime History Archive
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John\’s NL
A1C 5S7
709-864-8428
mha@mun.ca
If you want to visit the Archive in person:
230 Elizabeth Avenue
St. John\’s NL
Henrietta Harvey (Mathematics) Building
Hours are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The contact page was last updated in July of 2017. The first rule of visiting an archive is to always call to confirm hours though. I broke this rule last spring when I tried to visit an Museum/Archive in Alberta. We drove 3 hours only to find out that they were closed that day because they were changing their exhibits in the Museum. It was a nice drive, but not how I would have picked to spend the day!

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