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U.S. Customs Records: Oswegatchie, NY District - GLMS 25

Introduction | Agency Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Order of Microfilming

Introduction

The three original customs volumes for the Oswegatchie customs district filmed for this collection were found in 1977 in Ogdensburg, NY. These items were transferred on a temporary basis to Bowling Green State University from the old customs building for microfilming. Filming was completed in September 1977.

Literary and property rights were dedicated to the public. Photocopying from the microfilm and duplication of the reel are permitted for research purposes.

Agency Sketch

The customs district of Oswegatchie was established on April 1, 1811 with the opening of a headquarters office at Ogdensburg, NY. Sub-offices were later opened at Hammond, Morristown, Louisville, Massena and Waddington, NY. Activities for this district were confined to St. Lawrence County, NY. Consolidations of offices led in 1913 to the adding of the Cape Vincent and Champlain districts to that for Oswegatchie. This new district was called St. Lawrence.

Customs offices collected duties on merchandise arriving from foreign ports and issued regulatory forms for merchandise being exported to foreign ports. The U.S. Customs Service began operations in 1789 as a branch of the Treasury Department. The Oswegatchie District was not one of the original 59 districts, but came into existence to help enforce customs regulations for the rapidly expanding Great Lakes trade of the early nineteenth century.

Regulation of steamship and sail vessel inspections occupied customs district office staff. Licensing vessels that would appear on insurance company registers fell to customs officials. After 1850 customs offices maintained records for vessel sales also. By 1860 customs agents were providing nearly half of all new revenue to the Federal government.

Records of the Oswegatchie district in this collection reflect the role personnel in a Great Lakes office played in the process of customs regulation. The vessel registration data allows the reader to follow the daily arrivals and departures of vessels in this district. The wreck reports for 1874 to 1924 provide a view of customs district activities in getting official accounts of wrecks for insurance purposes and to track the disposition of vessels that may have been lost.

Scope and Content

This collection contains a series on information for vessels calling at ports in the United States Customs District of Oswegatchie. Ogdensburg, NY served as the district headquarters during the years covered by this portions of the collection, 1836-1841. Commercial traffic in this district can be examined from the vessel, cargo and crew data compiled in the abstracts to form a view of the Great lakes regional economy around the middle of the nineteenth century.

The second series of this collection contains wreck reports for the Oswegatchie district from the years 1874-1924. These reports also provide information on the nature of Great Lakes vessel traffic through descriptions of vessels and cargoes involved in wrecks.

Series Description

ABSTRACT OF VESSELS REGISTERED

ABSTRACT OF VESSELS REGISTERED, ENROLLED AND LICENSED EMPLOYED IN THE COASTING TRADE AND FISHERIES
Oct. 1, 1836-April 16, 1841
Arranged chronologically
Contains vessel registration information for the customs district of Oswegatchie headquarters at Ogdensburg, NY. The register lists vessels arriving at and departing from the district. The information in each abstract generally contains dates of arrivals and departures, name and rig of vessel, clearance and departure ports, tonnage and crew data.

ABSTRACT OF AMERICAN VESSELS ENTERED IN THE DISTRICT OF OSWEGATCHIE FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES
Oct. 1, 1836-April 21, 1841.
Arranged chronologically
Contains vessel registration information for the customs district of Oswegatchie headquarters at Ogdensburg, NY. The register lists vessels arriving at and departing from the district. The information in each abstract generally contains dates of arrivals and departures, name and rig of vessel, clearance and departure ports, tonnage and crew data.

ABSTRACT OF AMERICAN VESSELS CLEARED IN THE DISTRICT OF OSWEGATCHIE TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES
Oct. 1, 1836- April 21, 1841.
Arranged chronologically
Contains vessel registration information for the customs district of Oswegatchie headquarters at Ogdensburg, NY. The register lists vessels arriving at and departing from the district. The information in each abstract generally contains dates of arrivals and departures, name and rig of vessel, clearance and departure ports, tonnage and crew data.

ABSTRACT OF FOREIGN VESSELS ENTERED FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES IN THE DISTRICT OF OSWEGATCHIE
Oct. 19, 1836- Dec. 7, 1840.
Arranged chronologically
Contains vessel registration information for the customs district of Oswegatchie headquarters at Ogdensburg, NY. The register lists vessels arriving at and departing from the district. The information in each abstract generally contains dates of arrivals and departures, name and rig of vessel, clearance and departure ports, tonnage and crew data.

ABSTRACT OF FOREIGN VESSELS CLEARED FROM THE DISTRICT OF OSWEGATCHIE TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES
Oct. 19, 1836-Dec. 7, 1840.
Arranged chronologically
Contains vessel registration information for the customs district of Oswegatchie headquarters at Ogdensburg, NY. The register lists vessels arriving at and departing from the district. The information in each abstract generally contains dates of arrivals and departures, name and rig of vessel, clearance and departure ports, tonnage and crew data.

WRECK REPORTS

WRECK REPORTS
1874-1924
Arranged chronologically
Contains wreck reports for marine accidents occurring in the Oswegatchie customs district. The content of individual reports varies, but, generally, the names of vessels involved are included with descriptions of the vessel, cargo, and wreck information.

Order of Microfilming

Reel 1

Volumes

  1. Abstract of Vessels Registered, 1836-1841
  2. Wreck Reports, July 9, 1874 - August 5, 1900
  3. Wreck Reports, December 16, 1902 - November 27, 1924

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