Maritime History Archives

About our Maritime History Archives

Shipping records are one of the Archives’ earliest areas of acquisition; we have the second-largest collection of materials relating to maritime shipping in the Atlantic provinces. Our archival maritime records range from a seventeenth-century journal detailing an expedition along the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia and parts of New Brunswick (MS-2-370), to the nineteenth-century shipboard letters of a master mariner to his wife and daughter (MS-2-383). Shipbuilding and merchant shipping in Nova Scotia are documented by records such the Bigelow family’s personal and professional correspondence (MS-4-92), and the records of Himmelman Supply Company (MS-4-118), which include vessel papers, contracts, blueprints, maps and photographs.

Our reference holdings include microfilm copies of shipping registers for most Maritime ports from 1817-1920s, with some dating back to 1787, and microfilm copies of Naval Office Returns for Canadian, American and West Indian ports from the early 18th century to 1825. We also have copies of commercial shipping registers and the British Mercantile Navy Lists, and a card index of Canadian masters who appear in Lloyd's Captains Registers from 1851-1911.