My William SMITH research plan

Davo the Tassie Devil tours Albany whaling station

As part of this family history course we have to come up with a research plan. Here is what I have added to our discussion area.

As I have already completed a lot of my family history over the last 40 years, I want to try to find out more about my great great grandfather who was given the name William SMITH. I would love to find out his actual Samoan name.

So the following is my research aim:

To create historical timeline of Captain William SMITH’s life as a whaler. To do this:

  • find out the names of the ships he was on and the dates (PS2) (PS1) (PS4)
  • where the ships voyages were (PS1)
  • his role on each ship (PS1)
  • life on board the ship (PS3) (SS1) (SS2)

Hopefully find his Samoan name by finding out when he was given the name William SMITH.

Primary Sources:

  1. Marine Board records of ship’s voyages – government record
  2. Application for master of foreign vessel certificate – government record
  3. Newspapers of the time – shipping news and articles about voyages – newspaper record
  4. Images of ships he served on

Secondary sources

  1. Susan Chamberlain thesis about early whaling in Hobart Town – public record
  2. Books about whaling around Tasmania from the 1850’s to the 1890’s – public record
  3. My relatives including Glenn (who I will be interviewing) and Kim – great grandsons of William
  4. I am wondering if there might be records at the Australian Maritime Museum?

Once I find his Samoan name, then Missionary records held at the Mitchell Library – might need to visit Sydney at some time in the future.

I have lots of records once he became a master mariner in the 1870’s but don’t have much prior to this.

 Readers: Can you think of any other primary or secondary sources I could use? Which repository would I find them in?


2 thoughts on “My William SMITH research plan

  1. Hi Suzanne,
    You post here has given me food for thought on where I could possible track down my grandfathers shipping records from Finland. He arrived in Newcastle from Uruguay and I would like to find out how he ended up in South America,
    Thanks for your great blog.

  2. Hi Sue. I am lydia crane’s grandaughter and have also doing some research on william smith. My late husband and i went to Samoa and got married while there i did some research and spoke to registra of B, D&M. He said smith was a very common name the people took names from the missionaries but probably had a native christian name. Smiths were in a certain area of samoa have it written down, need to find it. A lot of there records were destroyed in a fire. Nan always said he was like royalty also found info on that.

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