Log Books circa 1700’s
I came across an article while reading the September 29th issue of Barron’s, the Dow Jones Business and Financial Weekly. It was actually in their “Our Gadget of the week:’ article. However it wasn’t about a “gadget” but more about a process. A process that is being taken to digitize the log-books of ancient sailors. Barron’s quoted a selection from the log-book from the HMS Bounty dated April 28, 1789. The selection is just one of 163 British naval records of voyages that were undertaken between 1757 and 1861. As you may have guessed that since these are British records these digitized records are available on-line through the website of the www.nationalarchives.gov.uk. These particular log-books can be downloaded for a modest fee.
These British log-books are not the only digitized records available for viewing and downloading from this archive website. They also provide information on census records, UFO records, and looted art from World War II, migration and much more. From reviewing the website in order to have full access it does appear that you will need to register with the website.
There is another website that was mentioned in the Barron’s article that is closer to home that deals with ship’s logs and also anything else related to the sea. They also have available in digitized format most anything related to the sea. This website is library.mysticseaport.org. The website is in conjunction with the Mystic Seaport, The Museum of America and the Sea. This website provides for ship registrations, yacht registrations, rudder designs, and image archives. Getting back to log-books the Mystic Seaport has over 1,300 logbooks, 300 collections, and 800+ volumes from 1720 to the present. An example of a log-book, is a journal of the Francis Allyn (Schooner) by Master, Fuller, Joseph J. from Aug. 2, 1887 to July 10, 1888. This document you can actually read on-line.
This brings us to the point that all this great information about the lives and conditions that these sailors experienced can now be read and seen in their own hand writing. That is why it is so important that these logs and old books in general be preserved.