Research

New York State Department of Transportation Division of Waterways Maintenance Barge Canal Vessel Registers

Held by the New York State Archives


Overview of the Records

Repository:

New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

Summary:
The series consists of nonactive registration applications and certificates of registry for vessels operating on the Barge Canal system, as well as documentation of vessels' trips on the canal. Applications provide information on each vessel, including vessel type, dimensions, history, and owners. The certificates provide a chronology of ownership. The Division of Waterways Maintenance was responsible for the operation, maintenance, and repair of the canal system until 1992.
Creator:
Title:
Quantity:
6.9 cubic feet
Inclusive Dates:
circa 1918-1991
Series Number:
17674

Arrangement

Roughly alphabetical by first letter of the last known name of the vessel or numerical by state registry number.

Scope and Content Note

The series consists of nonactive registration applications and certificates of registry for vessels operating on the Barge Canal system, along with information documenting vessels' trips on the system. The applications provide information on each vessel, including type of vessel, dimensions, history, and owners. The certificates provide a chronology of ownership.

Maintaining these records was the responsibility of the Division of Waterways Maintenance which retains the forms for vessels that are still considered active. The division was responsible for the operation, maintenance, and repair of the canal system until the legislature transferred that responsibility to the Thruway Authority in 1992.

Applications for registration and certificates of registry are arranged alphabetically by last known name of vessel while operating on the state system, usually (but not consistently) by the first letter of the second name. They frequently include additional comments and occasionally include magazine clippings referring to the vessel. The state registration number is usually in the upper right corner. This number remains the same throughout the life of the vessel, regardless of name change or owner. Researchers using these records may consult a list of state registered vessels found in series B1363-92, Superintendent and Lock Operators' Records.

Also included in the series is a "Graveyard" section dating into the 1940s that lists vessels by state number, and describes the eventual status of the vessel (sunk, burned, etc.). A third section of the records may be a preceding "inactive" file; it predates the applications for registration and certificates found earlier in the series.

The last two sections of the records provide an accounting of a vessel's trips on the Barge Canal system. The trips are recorded on the reverse of vessel information cards (similar to applications for registration) and provide a wealth of otherwise unobtainable data on early Barge Canal traffic. The first group of trip cards, arranged alphabetically, apparently refers to vessels that were not on the state register. No state numbers are recorded in the first group. The vessels were probably granted temporary permission to use the system. The bulk of vessels represent single passages through the system, work scows, or federal vessels. The second group of trip cards is arranged by state registry number.

17674-01: This accretion consists of later registration cards of vessels still in active service when the series was originally accessioned. There are usually multiple forms per vessel. Also included is register book of vessels currently in use listed sequentially by register number (1962-1991). In addition, there is a small ledger (1919-1952) entitled "Abandoned - Out of Service" that lists vessels individually and includes reason for leaving canal service.

17674-13: This accretion consists of published lists of canal vessels registered for canal service that were occasionally issued by the Department of Public Works. Vessels are listed by state registry number and by name of vessel. Name of owner of vessel is also given. Additionally, there are separate lists of commercial firms that performed canal work, providing types of services and craft. There is also one manuscript journal that is an itemized list of canal craft, listing those in service, those sunk, etc.

17674-15: This accretion contains annotated vessel cards for ships acquired by the state for use on the Barge Canal. The cards include the name of the vessel, type, former owner, when acquired by state, and details about the vessel’s capabilities and structure. Many cards are undated, but they appear to be from the 1950s and 1960s. The accretion also contains lists of operators of commercial vessels who expressed their intention to use state canals, 1937-1961.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of this material.

Related Information

Other finding aids

17674-92: Container list is available at the repository.

Acquistion Information

17674-15: These records were identified and transferred by principal engineer William Schollenberger of the New York State Canal Corporation in April 2014.

Access Terms

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