1 Reply Latest reply on Sep 21, 2021 11:24 AM by Jason Atkinson

    How to find the name of US ship(s) in a certain time frame and port city?

    Charlene Craig Newbie

      I wish to find the name of a US service ship(s) that were in a certain port city (San Diego) over a specific window of time - last half of July in 1956)? Is this possible? Any search tips or suggestions appreciated on where to start.

      This may help me find out what ship my husband's unknown real biological father was serving on in July of 1956 when doing genealogical inquiries.


      Would possible ship crew members name sources be out there to find also?

      Thanks for any guidance on this long shot! CL Craig

        • Re: How to find the name of US ship(s) in a certain time frame and port city?
          Jason Atkinson Guide

          Dear Ms. Craig,

          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          We are unaware of any set of records or databases that would make this research easy.


          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941 - 1983 in the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24) that include the deck logs of most US Navy ships from 1956. Deck logs record where the ship visited.  We also located Muster Rolls of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Other Naval Activities, 1/1/1939 - 1/1/1949 in the Record Group 24 that list the names of crewmembers of naval vessels. However these records are arranged by ship rather than port of call or home port, making searching all the records for vessels visiting San Diego prohibitively time consuming.  There is an ongoing project to upload word searchable scans of logs to the Catalog, but this has not yet been completed. Please note that San Diego is one of the busiest ports in the world, with multiple naval facilities located in and near the city. Even in such a short period of time, many ships would have passed through, and many sailors would have been stationed at the various facilities.  Furthermore, naval vessels often had hundreds of personnel on board at any given time. These records would not provide any additional information that might be useful for narrowing down which sailor you are looking for or who was on shore leave on any given date, their activities while off duty, or their physical description. For more information about these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at archives2reference@nara.gov.


          Additionally, you may wish to contact the National Archives at Riverside (RW-RS) at riverside.archives@nara.gov to inquire about Records of Naval Districts and Shore Establishments (Record Group 181) for the San Diego area, as well as contacting the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) at archives1reference@nara.gov regarding Records of the U.S. Coast Guard (Record Group 26).


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2, RW-RS, and RDT1. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!


          [Information provided by Nate Patch, Subject Matter Expert]