8 Replies Latest reply on Aug 26, 2021 1:39 PM by David Johnson

    What ship deck logs are available online?

    Tom Boyer Adventurer

      Are ship deck logs available online?

        • Re: What ship deck logs are available online?
          David Johnson Newbie

          I know of two places to get deck logs online.


          The first is: https://catalog.archives.gov/search?q=*:*&f.ancestorNaIds=594258&sort=naIdSort%20asc.  You can search for the specific ship you are looking for.


          The second is at: https://www.archives.gov/research/military/logbooks/navy-online. A list of ships and years are available.



          1 person found this helpful
            • Re: What ship deck logs are available online?
              Tom Boyer Adventurer

              Thanks for the links. The first one didn't work but got to the second one ok. Looks like there are not many deck logs at NARA. Maybe I will have to hire a researcher to find the deck logs of the ships I'm researching.

                • Re: What ship deck logs are available online?
                  David Johnson Newbie



                  Sorry about the link. Here is a sure fire way to get to searching for logs: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/594258

                  There's a button to "Search within this series" that should take you to the page I wanted to send you to.


                  I've been working on several projects that require deck log access too, so I know how you feel. What ships are you researching and for what years?  There's a commercial site, Fold3, that has some deck logs and a large number of war reports for WWII era ships.



                    • Re: What ship deck logs are available online?
                      Tom Boyer Adventurer

                      Thanks again for the information, David. I have two general areas of interest in deck logs.


                      First my father was on a minesweeper in WWII. It had no name, just USS YMS-196. I have seen the deck log for his ship when I visited NARA years ago and knew nothing about archives and making copies. So I would like to get a digitized version of that deck log.


                      Second, my father-in-law served on several submarines in WWII and received credit for four war patrols. I know of two boats and have versions of their war patrols in which he received two of his credits. I have his service record from NARA that lists all of his assignments but not by date. I have the Muster Lists from Fold3/ancestry.com that puts him on several boats on the east coast presumably as submarine school instructor. The Muster Lists do not include any service assignment for him in the Pacific plus the Muster Lists are not searchable by boat name. I thought looking at deck logs might indicate if he was on a boat during a period in the war. He was a yeoman so would have made the log entries.


                      That's my situation.

                • Re: What ship deck logs are available online?
                  Jason Atkinson Guide

                  Dear Mr. Boyer,


                  Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


                  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 the USS YMS-196 for April 16, 1943 through May 21, 1946. These logs have not been digitized and are not available online. This series also includes deck logs for submarines.  If you were to provide us the names of specific submarines, we will check our finding aids to see which logs we have for those submarines.

                  In regards to deck logs, these are generally not the best records for verifying enlisted service on a submarine or other ships.  Although the yeoman of the boat probably wrote the pages of the deck log, his name would not appear on the log form. The individual watches are usually signed by the officer of watch, and the pages are signed off by the CO and the Navigator. The contents of the logs may include the yeoman's name as he is being received for duty on day one and may appear as he is leaving and returning to the submarine while in port, however there is no guarantee that this information will have been recorded.


                  Additionally, we located Muster Rolls of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Other Naval Activities, 1/1/1939 - 1/1/1949 in the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24) which includes muster rolls of various World War II era submarines. Some of these have been digitized and are available through the Catalog.  All of these are available on Fold3 and on Ancestry. Both websites allow you to browse by ship name. Please let us know if you require assistance locating muster rolls for specific ships.  If you do, please let us know both the name of the ship and the name of the person for whom you are searching. Please note that because of issues with the quality of the original records and the microfilm from which the digital copies were created, some parts of the records may not be fully legible. Also, sometimes the name search features on these websites fail to come up with results even though the person is listed in the records.


                  We also located  World War II War Diaries, Other Operational Records and Histories, ca. 1/1/1942 - ca. 6/1/1946 and U.S. Submarine War Patrol Reports, 1941 - 1945 in the Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (Record Group 38) that contains patrol reports and other records concerning the various submarines.  These records have been digitized and are available online. If you require assistance locating documents for specific vessels, please provide the names in a follow up comment and we can search them for you. The war patrol reports can often be used to verify service on a submarine during a war patrol.


                  Finally, please note that a lot of submarines were built on the East Coast at Groton and Portsmouth and they would be assigned to squadrons that would be later home based on the East Coast, but spent the war in the Pacific.  Most of the named vessels served in the Pacific, with only a few exceptions such as the Mackerel.  Also serving in the Atlantic were some of the older  O, R, and S Boats; the Submarine School in New London, CT; and Submarine Squadron 50 (Atlantic Fleet).


                  For additional information about these records, please email the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) at Archives2reference@nara.gov.


                  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. 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]