Original Portal for News, Research & Dive Info since 1995
The following databases include data for Great Lakes vessels or wrecks and are extremely useful for researchers. Those at the top were created by me. The others are made available through museums and societies and individuals around the Lakes. Databases without links are under development.
19th Century Great Lakes Vessel Lists - 1818 - 1920 - Includes early vessel lists, Board of Lake Underwriters Registers, etc. The source of each entry is noted. This database now includes nearly 10000 entries and will be placed online and updated as new documents are transcribed. Click here for a detailed list of contents.
19th Century Great Lakes Vessel Accident Lists - 1840 - 1900 - Includes compiled archival Great Lakes vessel accident data from several sources. The database now contains about 10000 accidents between 1865 and 1873. Accident lists from the 1870s are now being added. Click here for a detailed list of contents.
Mansfield's History of the Great Lakes Accident Index - This database was originally compiled by Save Ontario Shipwrecks. The entire text of both volumes of HGL has since been transcribed and is being placed online by Walter Lewis here. Another partial transcription of vol. 1 with a complete transcription of vol. 2 is online here.
Loudon Wilson's Great Lakes Directory of Commercial Sail - Compiled by Loudon Wilson, transcribed by SOS and databased by Brendon Baillod, this database includes only sailing ships and was mostly created from HGL, but includes a great deal more data.
The David Swayze Shipwreck Database - Compiled by Mr. Swayze and others, I have converted Swayze's text data to a database and built an update facility which Mr. Swayze uses to add data. The database version has very powerful search capabilities.
The Wisconsin Marine Historical Society Great Lakes Vessel Enrollment Index - Nearly 50,000 enrollments were transcribed for vessels 1815 - 1915 by WMHS volunteers. I placed this database online for them in 2001. Copies of enrollments may be purchased online from them.
Wisconsin Historical Society Shipwreck Database - This new online database features research by Dave Cooper, Brendon Baillod and others and includes nearly every historic wreck that ever occurred in Wisconsin waters. It was just completed.
Walter Lewis' Online Databases & Historical Documents - Walter Lewis' important site includes many transcriptions of historical Great Lakes vessel registers as well scans of these important documents. Numerous archival books and manuscripts are also available.
Walter Lewis' pre-1861 Great Lakes Enrollment Database - Walter and others have transcribed nearly 6000 early Great Lakes vessel enrollment papers in their entirety into a searchable database. Searches can be done by vessel name, owner/master name and dimensions.
The Maritime Wisconsin Newpaper Database - Searchable index of 39,000 maritime related articles from the Door County Advocate between 1862 and 1949.
The David Swayze Flat File Wrecklist- Dave's list includes thousands of wrecks with history and demographic information on each. Dave has gone through all the published reference materials as well as many original sources in compiling this massive index. Wrecks not in this list are truly obscure.
The Historical Collections of the Great Lakes Online Vessel Database - HCGL has placed all their vessel files online along with vessel photos. This is one of the best sources for information on vessels after 1870 and lists an amazing number of vessels. Be sure to read their statement on use and reproduction of images before publishing any photos.
The Father Edward Dowling Collection at the University of Detroit - Mercy - Father Dowling compiled a huge collection of archival Great Lakes vessel photos and data which is now available in this online database.
The Milwauke Public Library's Great Lakes Marine Collection - Formerly the Herman Runge Collection, MPL's ship files are now searchable through their online catalog. All other holdings in the Runge Collection may be located online as well. About 8,000 vessels are indexed in the collection.
Library of Congress Collection of Detroit Publishing Company Images - c. 5000 Great Lakes vessel images online, mostly yachts, but also many large commercial vessels.
Wisconsin Historical Society Great Lakes Maritime History Image Database - Part of a much larger digital collection at their main site, this database includes MANY unique archival vessel images from all over the Great Lakes.
The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston - This important repository for Canadian Great Lakes vessel information was one of the first to go online. Many shiplists, archives and collections including the Mills List and Canadian Vessel Enrollments can be searched through their excellent online interface.
Lake Erie Shipwreck Pages - This site uses a graphical interface to locate information on several hundred Lake Erie wrecks. This site was designed with divers in mind and give more dive information than historical info. It is the most complete listing of Lake Erie shipwrecks currently on the web.
Great Lakes Newspaper Transcriptions Database - Do keyword searches of thousands of Great Lakes archival news articles transcribed from microfilm by Richard Palmer, David Swayze, Rick Neilson and other Great Lakes marine historians.
Current Registered US Vessel Database - This is the official US Gov't database sponsored by the Dept. of Marine and Fisheries.
Paul Hancock's Online Shipwreck Databases - Paul has compiled almost 1000 Great Lakes losses into a searchable database. He has also created a nice stand alone browser for the data. This site was down last time I checked.