Source Information New Jersey, U.S., Disabled Merchant Seaman Hospital Records, 1802-1815 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2022.
Original data:

Hospital Records, 1802 - 1815. NAID: 4688501. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, 1745 - 1997. Record Group 36. National Archives at New York. New York, NY.

About New Jersey, U.S., Disabled Merchant Seaman Hospital Records, 1802-1815

About the New Jersey, U.S., Disabled Merchant Seaman Hospital Records, 1802-1815

General collection information

This collection includes hospital records for sick and disabled merchant seamen filed at the port of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, between 1802 and 1881. Most of the records are dated between 1802 and 1815. Port authorities filed quarterly records of the money received from captains and ship owners. These records included the date of a ship's arrival, the type and name of the vessel, the number of seamen, and the length of time they were employed.

The collection also includes records related to hospital relief and treatment for merchant seamen. The records include the seaman's name, the ship he sailed on, and the length of time served. The documents also may include a physical description of the seaman and the nature of his illness.

Using this collection

Records in this collection may include the following information:

  • Name
  • Birthplace
  • Age
  • Nationality
  • Date of the record
  • Ship names
  • The information from these records could be used to verify that your ancestor worked as a merchant seaman at a specific time during the 19th century. They may answer questions about when your ancestor was at sea, and the health problems they may have suffered during their service.

    Collection in context

    The records were created by officials working for the Department of the Treasury Customs Service in the Perth Amboy, New Jersey district. The collection includes images of the original records. They are high quality primary sources. The original documents are held at the National Archives in New York City.

    Established in 1687, the customs service at the port of Perth Amboy is the oldest in the United States. During the early 19th century, when most of these records were created, the port was booming with warehouses, outdoor markets, and a ferry service. In 1878, there were 519 merchant ships operating in the Perth Amboy customs district.

    Merchant seamen of the 19th century required medical care for accidents and diseases. Being a seaman on the sailing ships of this era was dangerous and accidents occurred that severely wounded or killed sailors at sea. The close, and often damp, quarters aboard a merchant ship and the poor diets of the seamen made them susceptible to diseases such as typhus, tuberculosis, and scurvy.

    Bibliography History of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, 1651-1958. Accessed June 1, 2022.

    Frayler, John. "The Medicine Chest." National Park Service. Accessed June 1, 2022.

    National Archives and Records Administration. "Hospital Records, 1802-1881." Accessed June 1, 2022.

    World Port Source. "Port of Perth Amboy." Accessed June 1, 2022.