Primary sources are materials that provide firsthand testimony to a subject under investigation. Researchers often use these firsthand accounts of specific events to understand events from the viewpoint of people living during that time period. Primary sources include documents and artifacts from the time period under study, such as letters, diaries, photographs, newspaper articles, pamphlets, government records, songs, poems, and videos. Primary sources also include writings and recordings by witnesses who experienced the events or conditions being documented. For example, oral histories, autobiographies, and memoirs are primary sources.
To find primary sources via Google, try adding keywords like journals, papers, letters, documents, primary sources, or documentary history to your search terms. Primary sources can often be found on library, museum, and government websites.
Here are some examples of websites that can help you find primary sources for ocean and maritime history:
Additional websites for finding primary sources (these collections are broader than those listed above but may still have relevant documents for your research):