steamboatresearchlibrary has been on the air since 1998 and we have fielded thousands of questions about steamboat history and steamboat ancestry. This page lists all the tools we have assembled to assist in your research:

Books | Link Pages | Search this Site | Question Steamboat Experts | Model boat info. | Post to the Steamboat blog | Join Steamboat Societies | Help for Student Reports | Hire a Sleuth | Ancestry Web Sites | Buy or Sell Boats | Buy Steamboat Antiques | Locate Steamboats of the 50 States | FAQs | Social Media | Other Bulletin Boards


There are many good books available on the history of steamboats. Link to our Steamboat Bookstore to see them all. The best resource for boats on the Mississippi River system is Fred Way's Steamboat Packet Directory. This hefty steamboat encyclopedia lists 6,000 boats (1848-1994), organized alphabetically by ship name. If you want to learn about steamboat disasters, buy Lloyd's Steamboat Directory and Disasters on the Western Waters by James T. Lloyd or visit our steamboat disaster book page, click here. If you want to understand what life was like on the river in the 19th century, order these two books, now recently back in print: Old Times on the Upper Mississippi: Recollections of a Steamboat Pilot from 1854 to 1863, by George Byron Merrick and A-Rafting on the Mississip', by Charles Edward Russell. Read book reviews of these titles: click here. also offers a good collection of Dixieland Jazz music. Click here for our Jazz Bookshop.

Link Pages

This site offers extensive link collections. Click here for link page directory. If you want to look up boatyards, boats or captains in an alphabetical database, visit our friend Dave Dawley's Steamboat site. If you're interested in boat building, visit the sites listed on our boat builders' link page. If you are interested in steamboat models, click here for our steamboat model builders page. The best site for steamboat bells, whistles, and calliope music is and now, Youtube! enter keywords to search for steamboat-related videos. We also list museums, Steamboats of the 50 States, and many other relevant steamboat topics.

Search This Site has archived years of blog entries, latest news entries, and other information in the nooks and crannies of our research library and steamboat museum. Try our search engine to see if we have information on your subject of inquiry.

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Question Steamboat Authorities

Leading steamboat experts are standing by, ready to answer your difficult questions:

Facebook - steamboat people meet and discuss paddlewheel steamboat history in private groups. Search Facebook for "steamboats" and choose the best group to join and post your questions.

We also answer questions here . . .

Nori Muster (web master) Write to me if you want to post something at the site, if you find a broken link or missing jpg, if you want to talk about old times on the Delta Queen Steamboat, or if you are a student looking for ideas for a report.

Travis Vasconcelos Write to this expert if you have questions about the calliope, steam piano, found aboard paddlewheel steamboats.

Jerry Sutphin, past President of the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen (S&D website), takes questions on America's Western Rives and the steamboats that ran on these rivers.

John Fryant, publishes model building catalog available through this website* and answers questions about model boat building, supplies, plans, etc. John is also vice-president of Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen (S&D website).

Jerry Canavit Takes questions on General Steamboat History, Upper Mississippi Steamboat History, Texas Rivers Steamboating, and Steamboat Racing.

Ron Fossum Write to this expert if you have questions about the theory and practice of steam launches (under 50'). Pacific Northwest of USA for specific (named) boats.

If you would like us to list you as a steamboat expert, please email us!* Latest News Page

If you want us to post a press release or anything on our steamboat blog, contact the web master: click here.

Steamboat Societies

There are many good organizations dedicated to steamboat history. If you have steamboats in your blood, consider joining and supporting one or more of these groups. They will send you their journals and your contributions help support their research. Be sure to check our link page on the subject: links1.html#societies.

Help Save Steamboat History

There is an urgent need to preserve steamboat history, an all-important part of American history. encourages you to post your own steamboat history website and send us the URL for our link pages. Or, put together your info. and photos for an exhibit at the Virtual Museum. Write to the webmaster if you want to offer material for an exhibit (contact).

If you have steamboat artifacts, records, photos, or genealogy information, consider donating it to a museum, library, college, or steamboat society. For ideas, check our link pages,* or write to the webmaster.* Let the curator look through your stuff before you throw anything away!

Student Reports

If you are a student doing a report on steamboats, you will find a lot of information here. Read over this page and also visit the Steamboat Classroom for more ideas: who built the first boat, the history of steam engines, etc. Click here. To ask the web master any questions, click here.

Ancestry Questions
Steamboat Sleuth for Hire

Carl Hugh Jones will do searches of his files and books for information on your river related family (steamboat captains and crew and even modern towboat personnel) He charges a small fee for this service $30 for the first look of not less than 3 hours and $10 an hour for additional work. He will respond to your first inquiry by indicating if he thinks he can help you or not. Because he is also a river historian he is able to point researchers to sources near them that they might have over looked. Mr Jones can be reached by email: Carl Hugh Jones.

Ancestry Questions
Join Ancestry Websites

Certain websites have digitized and posted thousands of documents, making them assessable to a wide audience on the Internet. It costs money to join, but you can turn your membership on and off, and do all your research at once. The foremost site is Just keep punching the names and dates you have into the slots, and see what comes out. It works!

Be sure to search Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet. This is NOT "Angie's List," which is an online Pennysaver-like classified ad rag with reviews. No, no, Cyndi's List is where you find the directions to your ancestors. The site offers additional resources for tracing ancestors associated with boats.

Access a free family tree template in PDF format - click here. These free forms created by Ethel Reagan can be used to create your own personal family tree. Also look up obituaries here:'s mandate is to provide as much free online genealogy resources as possible and it's constantly being updated.

Boats For Sale

If you have a boat to sell or you're looking for a boat (or related paraphernalia) or you know where there's a boat in need of a good home - please send jpgs and info. to and we will post it for you on our blog (contact info.).

Steamboat Antiques

If you're looking for a steamboat artifact, keep an eye on the auctions at eBay and Amazon. If you go to the "auction" section and type in the keywords "steamboat" or "paddlewheel" you will find a wealth of amazing items for sale. Also, if you have a boat or anything for sale, consider posting to the auction sites.

Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTION: How can we book steamboat passage, what is the schedule?

ANSWER: Contrary to public opinion, we here at do not actually have a boat or a bricks and mortar museum - although those things would be fun! We only have a website about steamboats. But our site makes it easy to find real boats and museums. Check our Steamboats of the 50 States page to find steamboats near you (in America). Also check our link page for real steamboats: click here.

Support your local steamboats: Visit the steamboat nearest you! makes it easy to find steamboats through the Internet!

QUESTION: I need to do a report on steamboats, can you help me?

ANSWER: We're always happy to email with students to offer ideas for reports. You can download photos, plus find interesting subjects to study. Link to the Steamboat Classroom or write to the webmaster click here.

Steamboat Social Media

Facebook is clearly the place where all the steamboat people meet. You can also find steamboat social media at Youtube, and I suppose also Instagram. There's a Yahoo Group for steamboaters, and there's the bulletin boards at

In the old days, when search engines were new, steamboat people found each other through webrings. Wikipedia definition of a webring: "A webring (or web ring) is a collection of websites linked together in a circular structure, and usually organized around a specific theme, often educational or social. They were popular in the 1990s and early 2000s, particularly among amateur websites." Hooray for the amateur websites! Who would want to live in a world of all corporate websites? (Only the heads of the corporations, so that's about twenty people. Not a popular idea.) There is still one good steamboat webring left!

Other Community Bulletin Boards

Yahoo! Groups Steamboat Group Go here to join the discussion: Description: "An eGroup page that shows an interest in steam boats, their machinery and operation, for both old and new vessels of any size. This group is dedicated to helping the development of a greater interest in steamboats and the steam boat movement." An interactive bulletin board at (based in Germany) News, Forums, Blogs Archive At this site!
Read visitors' posts to this website, going back to 1998 click here. Historic Preservation Board At this site!
Post information about your ancestry and connection with the old boats: click here to email.

Look Up Captains, Boats, and Companies

Find information in an alphabetical database at Steamboat Dave Dawley's Place click here.