Historical Collections of the Great Lakes
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U. S. Customs Service (Ludington, Michigan) - GLMS 91
The original volumes from which the nineteen reels of microfilm in this collection were made were loaned to Bowling Green State University in 1981 by the US Coast Guard 9th District Commander, Rear Admiral James S. Gracey. Upon completion of the filming project, the volumes were returned to the 9th District office in Cleveland, Ohio. These records are now located at the Chicago branch of the National Archives and Records Service.
Copyright has been dedicated to the public and duplication from the microfilm is permitted for research purposes.
The United States Customs Service, created by an act of July 31, 1789, became part of the Department of the Treasury when that Department was established in September of 1789. The service has been responsible for the enforcement of numerous laws and regulations pertaining to the import and export of merchandise, collection of tonnage taxes, control of the entrance and clearance of coastwise and fishing trades, and the protection of passengers. A Bureau of Customs was established March 3, 1927, to supervise these activities and in 1942 it assumed the responsibilities of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation relating to the registering, enrolling, licensing, and admeasurement of merchant vessels. This responsibility was assigned to the Coast Guard in 1967.
The act that established the Customs Service in 1789 also provided for the creation of collection districts in various coastal, river, Great Lakes, and inland ports. A Collector of Customs in each district was responsible for the enforcement of all rules and regulations including the protection of American seamen and passengers and the forwarding of basic data on immigration, imports, and exports. A Naval officer in each district, coordinate in rank with the Collector, was required to keep separate accounts and copies of all manifests and entries and to countersign certain of the daily record of all vessel arrivals and clearances, and was assisted by inspectors, weighers, and gaugers in the collection and payment of bounty allowances and fees and the admeasurement of foreign vessels for tonnage duties.
This collection of nineteen microfilm reels documents the sale of vessels recorded at the Ludington, Michigan office of the US Customs Service for the years 1864-1949. Bills of sale and conveyance records are foundon thirteen of the nineteen reels and mortgages are included on six reels. Vessel names, terms of agreements and names of sale participants are included. The economic aspects of vessel acquisition are clearly described in the mortgage agreements detailing the long-term aspects of boat purchases.
Information on specific vessels is readily available in the form of enrollment data filed with the bills of sale. These records become a useful supplement to the researcher concerned with vessel histories.
The certificates filed by master carpenters attesting to the accuracy of construction details provide additional material on the history of individual vessels from 1898-1939.
The financial and legal files in this collection document a portion of the regulatory work of the US Customs Service in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
BILLS OF SALE AND CONVEYANCE
Reels 1, 7-17
Series contains forms used as bills of sale for vessels at the US Customs Service office in Ludington, Michigan. Information on these forms includes vessel names, owners, purchasers, location where the sale was recorded, date of sale, amount paid, place of build, date of build, dimensions, official number, number of masts, and type of head and stern. This series is indexed on reel 1.
Series contains full descriptions of sales for vessels not included in series one. Included are vessel names, rig type, sale date, copies of miscellaneous instruments such as discharges of mortgage, liens and lists of conveyance.
BILLS OF SALE FOR VESSELS UNDER 20 TONS
Series contains vessel names, participants in the sale, sale price, sale date, vessel rig, official number, tonnage, dimensions, year and place of build, number of decks, number of masts, type of head and stern.
BILLS OF SALE FOR LICENSED ENROLLED YACHTS UNDER 20 TONS
Series contains vessel names, participants in the sale, price, rig type, official number, tonnage, dimensions, year and place of build, number of decks, number of masts, type of head and stern.
US MARSHALL'S BILLS OF SALE
Series contains bailiff names, district in which sale occurred, participants, price, vessel name and rig, sale date, and enrollment information.
Series contains mortgage agreements regarding vessels, terms of sale, participants, amounts of money borrowed, vessel name and rig, tonnage, terms of mortgage payments, and dates for terms of transactions.
MORTGAGES OF ENROLLED OR LICENSED YACHTS
Series contains vessel names, terms of mortgage agreements, participants, enrollment information, and dates for terms of transactions.
MASTER CARPENTER CERTIFICATES
Series contains certificates signed by master carpenters attesting to the facts of construction for vessels on which they worked. Included are the districts where construction occurred, places and dates for certificate issuance, vessel names and rigs, owners, dimensions, tonnage, number of decks, number of masts and building material. Indexed by vessel name.
- Legal Records--Master Carpenter Certificates, 1898-1939
- Financial Records--General Index of Conveyances of Vessels, 1864-1916
Reel 2: Legal Records
- Index to Preferred Mortgages, 1921-1940
- Mortgages and Maritime Liens, 1936-1949
- Record of Mortgages, 1866-1880
Reel 3: Legal Records
- Record of Mortgages, 1875-1885
Reel 4: Legal Records
- Record of Mortgages, 1884-1891
Reel 5: Legal Records
- Record of Mortgages, 1891-1911
Reel 6: Legal Records
- Record of Mortgages, 1912-1931
- Legal Records--Record of Mortgages, 1931-1941
- Financial Records--Bills of Sale & Conveyance, 1866-1878
Reel 8: Financial Records
- Bills of Sale & Conveyance, 1870-1879
Reel 9: Financial Records
- Bills of Sale & Conveyance, 1875-1886
Reel 10: Financial Records
- Bills of Sale & Conveyance, 1881-1882
Reel 11: Financial Records
- Bills of Sale & Conveyance, 1888-1892
Reel 12: Financial Records
- Bills of Sale & Conveyance, 1892-1897
Reel 13: Financial Records
- Bills of Sale & Conveyance, 1897-1904
Reel 14: Financial Records
- Bills of Sale & Conveyance, 1904-1911
Reel 15: Financial Records
- Bills of Sale & Conveyance, 1912-1919
Reel 16: Financial Records
- Bills of Sale & Conveyance, 1919-1935
Reel 17: Financial Records
- Bills of Sale & Conveyance, 1935-1940
- Bills of Sale for Vessels Under 20 Tons, 1870-1883
- Bills of Sale for Enrolled or Licensed Yachts Under 20 Tons, 1928-1940
- US Marshal's Bills of Sale, 1933-1938
- Miscellaneous Conveyances of Vessels, 1872-1880
Reel 18: Financial Records
- Miscellaneous Conveyances of Vessels, 1880-1909
- Financial Records--Miscellaneous Conveyances of Vessels, 1909-1942
- Legal Records--Mortgages of Enrolled or Licensed Yachts, 1932-1935
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