Whaling Museum and Mystic Seaport Announce Expansion of Whaling History Database

“Since our founding over 100 years ago, our passion has always been to document and share the diverse stories of this vibrant maritime region.”

Amanda McMullen

Chairman and CEO of the New Bedford Whaling Museum

NEW BEDFORD — The New Bedford Whaling Museum announced a series of significant expansions to WhalingHistory.org, a joint project between the New Bedford Whaling Museum and Mystical Seaport Museum which collects data on past whaling voyages to build the most comprehensive historical database in the world.

“Since our founding over 100 years ago, our passion has always been to document and share the diverse stories of this vibrant maritime region,” said Amanda McMullenPresident and CEO of New Bedford Whaling Museum. “We are delighted to make this data publicly available and know it will be an excellent resource for enthusiasts, researchers and anyone around the world who traces their heritage to the whaling industry.”

Launched in 2018 as part of a partnership between two of the largest maritime history museums in the world, the Whaling History website compiles the archives of seven different whaling databases in the form of logbooks, diaries, ship registers, journals, commercial documents and customs documents. Users can access information on thousands of whaling trips, as well as a list of its crew members. All data is open to the public and downloadable for any researcher to use.

Last fall the website underwent a series of expansions that strengthen the archives of 18th and 19th century voyages with the addition of the Dennis Wood Abstracts of Whaling Voyages as well as significant additions, revisions and updates existing data from both American Offshore Whaling and British Southern Whale Fishery Databases.

The Dennis Wood Abstracts of Whaling Voyages consist of brief handwritten summaries of incoming and outgoing whaling voyages, as recorded by Denis Boismerchant and whaling agent in New Bedford during his 44 years at the Marine insurance mutual. The New Bedford Free Public Library digitized over 2,300 pages of Wood’s notes from its collection to provide up-to-date information on over 6,700 travel records between 1830 and 1874.

Further extensions to the database consist of additions as well as updates to existing data from the American Offshore Whaling and British Southern Whale Fishery databases. The American Offshore Whaling Database has been updated for 2021, adding over 370 voyages as well as numerous corrections and updates to existing voyage entries. The travels added date mainly from the 18th century and are taken from contemporary diaries. The British Southern Whale Fishery databases have been carefully reviewed and updated with additional voyages, crew lists and data corrections.

The Whaling History site is a collaboration between the New Bedford Whaling Museum and Mystical Seaport Museum. To explore voyage data, submit corrections, or add your own whaling story to the gallery, visit WhalingHistory.org.

“Since our founding over 100 years ago, our passion has always been to document and share the diverse stories of this vibrant maritime region.”

Amanda McMullen

Chairman and CEO of the New Bedford Whaling Museum