The basic structure of the database

We kept this section as short as possible, but please read it carefully to avoid misinterpretation of the data.

The data-base is structured on the points (ports, or maritime) which an individual ship touched on the course of her voyages.

The understanding of this structure is crucial to interpret the results of your queries.

Information concerning Captain Roclof Typke who clears from La Rochelle to Bordeaux on the 17 March 1787 on a ship recorded as the Jeune Pierre by the French authorities is for instance structured in two points: La Rochelle (with the 17 March 1787 as out-date) and Bordeaux (with a date marked as greater than 17 March 1787). Researching Roclof Typke as captain will therefore produce two matches (corresponding to the two different points).
This same captain cleared from Bordeaux on the 29 March 1787 bound to Hamburg. In Bordeaux, the clerk of the Admiralty office spelled his name as “Roclofs, Tiepke”. The decision that this was the same captain and the same ship was taken manually, by taking into account the ship-class, its tonnage, its flag and port of register, the consistency of the itinerary and dates, the information on the ship-name or captain-name.

Different spellings of names (person, places, and ships) are a usual feature in early modern and modern sources. We decided to insert data as they appear in the sources, but we processed the data in order to offer to users the possibility of accessing to results in a more efficient way. We provided therefore Roclof Typke and Tiepke Roclofs with the same identifier. If you perform a research on the identifier instead than on the spelling of the name you will retrieve 3 points: La Rochelle on the 17th March 1787 as clearing point; Bordeaux on the 29 March 1787 as clearing point; and Hamburg as destination. We eliminated from your view the point Bordeaux as destination of the ship when clearing La Rochelle, as the information that the ship was in Bordeaux is already provided by the second entry.

In this case, two dates are provided by the sources (the two clearances dates). The character “=” which precedes the date expresses a date provided by the sources. We ignore, on the contrary, the date where the ship eventually arrived in Hamburg (if she ever arrived). We added therefore a relative date to the point Hamburg which is expressed as a relative date “> 29 March 1787”. Similarly, a ship stated in the sources when entering a port as arriving from a given place with no indication of the date of departure has been attributed a relative date preceded by the sign < and followed by the next known date.


Dates in Navigocorpus are expressed in the following format YYYY=MM=DD

The symbol = preceeding a date expresses a precise date stated by the source

The symbol > preceeding a date expresses the fact that date related to the given point is posterior to the following date stated by the source

The symbol < preceeding a date expresses the fact that date related to the given point is anetriour to the following date stated by the source


Similarly, all places have been geo-referenced. The user can decide if he or she wants to restrict the query to a specific spelling, or access all data concerning the same person, ship and/or place disregarding the spellings. By using the identifier to research a place, you will retrieve all the entries which refer to the same place regardless of the spelling and language which was used in the sources.

Ex.: A query on “Leghorn” will produce only those records in which the sources expressed the place name in English. If you use the identifier of this port in Tuscany, you will retrieve instead also “Livourne” (French sources) and Livorno (Italian sources).

Other symbole use : ( [ ] )

Finally, you should know that we automatically reported the information on the next or previous point of the voyage linked to the point where the information was collected, but put this information in brackets. We assumed for instance that captain Tiepke Roclofs clearing from Bordeaux will also be the captain when his ship Jeune Pierre will enter Hamburg. All data attached to Hamburg related to this ship and captain is in brackets.

Square brackets express information stemming from other sources in the data-base, but which not stated in the source which provided information on this specific point. After identifying the ships and the captain, we assumed that some information concerning the ship (rig, tonnage, flag, registered harbor) are likely to last over time (although not necessarily forever). A vessel mentioned as “non-French” in one source when clearing a port might be qualified as a 220-ton Swedish brig by another source, a month later, once the ship entered her destination. In this case, the information [220] [tons], [Swedish] and [brig] has been added to the port of clearance.


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Last update on Monday 25 March 2013 (09:24) by  Silvia Marzagalli

© 2012 - Projet Director:
Silvia Marzagalli, University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis - Pierrick Pourchasse, University of Brittanny (Brest) - Jean-Pierre Dedieu, LARHRA, CNRS, Lyon
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