Getting started with Titanic Research


Bill Sauder

Member
Dec 19, 2000
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Mark,

Actually, I think "prioritie" would be a perfectly acceptable spelling, at least if researching the history of Naval Operetta.

W. S. Gilbert used the word in one of the lost stanzas for H.M.S. Pinafore:

"For when doing naval research your prioritie
Should be delving into details of the Queen's Navie"

It's a classic, and who has the strength to take on all those classics?

Bill
 

Philip Hind

Staff member
Member
Sep 1, 1996
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England
Nathan, this is your final warning. Keep your 'research' ramblings to this thread and nowhere else. Any other duplicate threads will be deleted and for the sake of our sanity your membership may be suspended. If you spent a bit more time working in the library and a bit less time muttering into your keyboard we might be inclined to listen to you.

I suggest you refrain from further posting until you have something substantive to tell us, otherwise you simply risk subjecting yourself to further ridicule.
 
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Nathan L. Casteel

Guest
Well I beg your pardon Phil, I'll start giving you people updates in this thread from now on. Anyways I already have my first set of construc-
tion notes about the R.M.S. Titanic & this is an update for everyone to know.
 
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Nathan L. Casteel

Guest
Hello everyone I have more notes on Titanic being "fitted out" for the voyage. I also have notes on the Titanic "getting ready" for the voyage. This is to update everyone thank you.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi!

Where are you researching, Nathan? I can't recommend the PRO more highly. A search for 'Titanic' under their online PROCAT catalogue yields a great deal.

Ditto Inger's recommendation of Colindale's Newspaper archive. A gem!

And not forgetting the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich.

Best regards,

Mark.
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
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Good suggestions all around, Mark. Much depends on your focus, but both the PRO and Colindale will yield rich finds for the crew, passenger and technical aspects of the disaster. The NMM tends to produce results for crew and technical interests. Both the PRO and NMM have MN and RN (also RNR) material.

Another one I'd add to the list for anyone focused on biographical details of passengers is the Family Records Centre (FRC) at Farringdon. Some of the material here - e.g. indexes births, deaths and marriage and census material, can be found elsewhere on microfiche or film, but it's a handy location to find all of it plus Wills and other such data. It's a very good place to start constructing a biographical background for any British passengers or crew you're interested in.

Another English archive that's worth a visit if you're interested in the Merchant Service is the Guildhall. Outside of London, many local records offices have good material. I've found the Liverpool Records Office to be an absolute gem of an archive, and made a couple of unexpected finds there. The Merseyside Maritime Museum is also useful. Outside of the UK most of my correspondence has been with local or national libraries (NSW's Mitchell Library was a good source in Oz, for example). A word should be put in for Newfoundland's Maritime Archives - this is a superlative source, with a very good staff. These are some of the folks that go above and beyond the call of duty. When a recent package of material went astray they went to great lengths to track it down, and finally re-copied and sent it registered mail. Of course, Mark and I are in England, so our research material biases tend to lean that way. I think you've also made use of the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, haven't you, Mark? There's also the PRONI (Public Records Office of Northern Ireland), and I know Senan Molony has made good use of the Irish Republic's national archives. American based researchers have readier access to, say, the Library of Congress material etc.

Side note to Mark - have you been out to Kew lately and seen what the PRO is now? In April, it merged with the Historical Manuscripts Commission to form a new body: The National Archives. So technically it's now called 'The National Archives: PRO' or 'The National Archives: HMC'. The building out there still has 'Public Records Office' in that sandstone slab over the door, but everywhere else the PRO logo has been replaced with the NA logo. On their website, it retains the 'Public Records Office' with a subtitle 'The National Archives'. Think I'll just stick to 'PRO'...
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi Inger,

Thanks for adding some excellent sources to the thread. You are quite right to point out to the helpfulness of some institutions in relation to a particular field. Am I right in thinking that the Liverpool Records Office also has some crew lists? I seem to remember it does. I've found several Canadian and American institutions helpful.

I have made use of the UFTM -- although always by enquiry, as I was unable to visit myself when I was writing my first book. It's got a very helpful staff, an excellent collection of photos, and some good sources. Sadly some material isn't in too good a shape.

I think I was last at Kew in early April, yes. I too prefer PRO, as it sounds much better. I seem to remember that their copyright guidelines had National Archives on for a while before that, but I may be mistaken. I hoped to get down there again this summer once my exams/holidays/leaving celebrations were all over, but might have to make do with a date by the end of this year. One thing I am sure of: with so many mergers it's a wonder anyone keeps track of anything!

Best regards,

Mark.
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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G'day Mark - The Liverpool Records office does indeed have a sampling of crew agreements (a part of that small proportion that are not at Newfoundland, Kew or Greenwich but distributed to local records officers). There are some other bits and bobs in there as well - some of them quite surprising.

Good to get feedback on the UFTM - I've never had cause to use them, but I know others seem to have good experiences there.

I suspect I'm not alone in owing acknowledgements up and down the country - there are all sorts of small local studies units in libraries and record offices throughout Wales and Yorkshire in particular that have been very helpful. Southampton, too - the archives down there are another excellent source. Among many overseas libraries, Newark and our own Pat Winship deserve a nod here. Pat has helped many researchers access sources in the USA, and not just those relating to her local area.

Yah - it's difficult to keep track of document distribution without the assistance of ARCHON! Drop us a line when you're down here next for a visit to Kew - I need to get out there again fairly soon. The backlog is building up.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi Inger,

I'm glad my memory was not failing me on the Liverpool Records Office. You're certainly not alone with regard to acknowledgements all over the country; I know I'm indebted to many kind people and institutions. Pat kindly sent me a NYT article on Olympic and offered help.

BTW, ARCHON?

Best regards,

Mark.
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
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G'day Mark -

Yup, I know someone else who happened to run into Pat when they were doing some research over in the States (it was, I gather, a mutual case of 'your name seems familiar...' after she'd supplied him with some excellent material).

ARCHON (Archives On Line)is the Historical Manuscript Commission's (HMC's) database of archival resources, projects and initiatives. Invaluable for locating archival material here in the UK.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi Inger!

Archives On Line! Forgive me, the initials didn't 'click.' That's been enlightening!

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi Philip!

A sad, but I suspect necessary, removal. Nathan could have learnt a lot here, yet his lack of attention to the many warnings pointed to only one solution.

As an aside, I hope this thread serves as a wealth of hints and information for all those getting started in Titanic research. There are many fruitful suggestions here.

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Jul 12, 2003
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I, too, am sad about the (or any) removal but I am glad for the moderators/administrators that believe in keeping to rules. Without some regulation I guess we would just have chaos.
 

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