Last week we talked about getting started on researching a family member who served in the US Navy. This week we would like to take a minute to talk about researching ships. A great starting point is the Naval History and Heritage Command Frequently Asked Questions on Ship’s History and Record Logs. This will provide you with very informative links on Deck Logs and the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships among other resources. Here in the Navy Department Library we have numerous books on ships, plus a unique collection available on individual ships called the ZC Files.
Our ZC files are an incredible resource when it comes to researching ships. The ZC series comprises material relating predominantly to 19th century ships of the US Navy. Data on a few Revolutionary, Confederate, and private ships also are found, as are some files on 20th century ships. Examples of the types of materials in individual files include: (1) brief ship histories; (2) movement reports; (3) newspaper and magazine articles; (4) official Office of Naval Records and Library, and Naval History Division correspondence relating to the history of the ship. Twentieth century material in this collection includes items such as commissioning brochures and welcome aboard pamphlets.