Fonds - Registrar of Shipping fonds

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Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Registrar of Shipping fonds

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Dates of creation area


  • 1869-1962 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

78 cm of textual material.

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Administrative history

The Registrar of Shipping, Hamilton, Ontario documented the ownership of small vessels and large passenger and freight ships, by administering and tracking ownership, transfers in ownership and vessel name changes. The Registrar documented the particulars of vessels through builder's certificates and ship surveys, and also compiled various correspondence, as well as reports for shipwrecks, strandings and collisions. In the early years, the Registrar of Shipping operated its offices out of the Hamilton Customs House, which handled the flow of trade and passengers through the Port of Hamilton and along the railway line.

Custodial history

The original accession forms indicate that this material was donated to the Hamilton Public Library, Local History & Archives department in 1977, but the donor is unknown.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of one series of ship registration records compiled by the Registrar of Shipping, Hamilton, Ontario. The series includes file level descriptions for 34 vessels that sailed through the Port of Hamilton.

Notes area

Physical condition

Many of the documents are fragile and torn.

Immediate source of acquisition

Unknown. HPL has no record of how this material was acquired.


The files have been arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the ship. The documents within each file are arranged chronologically by date.

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Restrictions on access

The collection is open to researchers.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright held by the Crown. These materials cannot be published without permission from the copyright holder.

Finding aids

File list available.

Associated materials

The following related material can be found in the Local History & Archives (LH&A) department at the Hamilton Public Library pertaining to the Registrar of Shipping fonds.

Accession # 00166 – Head-of-the-Lake Historical Society fonds – Series 10 – Photograph Collection, Box #23, Folder #1 – Original photograph of the S. S. Turbinia

Accession # 00166 – Head-of-the-Lake Historical Society fonds – Series 10 – Photograph Collection, Box #23, Folder #6 – 2 negatives of the S.S. Mazeppa

Burkholder, Mabel. “Out of the Storied Past: Colourful Steamers Have Plied Waters of Hamilton Bay.” Hamilton Spectator (Hamilton), December 22, 1956.

CF – Hamilton – Steamships and Steamboats – Arabian, Cadillac, Canada, Hamiltonian, Kildare, Lady Hamilton, Macassa, Mazeppa, Modjeska, Rosedale, Turbinia

CF – Hamilton – Steamships and Steamboats – Canadian Coastal and Inland Vessels, 1809-1930.

Picture Collection – Hamilton – Steamships and Steamboats – Hamiltonian, Kildare, Lady Hamilton, Macassa, Mazeppa, Modjeska, Turbinia

Unknown Author. History of the Great Lakes. Cleveland: Freshwater Press Inc., 1972, Vol.1, pp. 788, 791, 855.

Related materials


Further accruals are not expected.

General note

The material in this fonds is associated with a sub-series within Canada’s Department of Transportation Ship Registration Division, entitled, Hamilton Registrar of Shipping, located at Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. Archival Reference No. R184-84-3-E

Title is based on the contents of the Registrar of Shipping fonds.

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Fonds processed and finding aid created by Archives Technician Kelly Bucci, 2019.

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