From 21 April, the first part of the Sound Toll Registers Online database will be open for consultation by researchers and other interested parties. The data, concerning 125,117 passages in the years 1787-1799, will be presented on the website
The Sound Toll Registers are the administration of the toll that the kings of Denmark imposed between about 1400 and 1857 on ships sailing through the Sound, the passage between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. The registers recording the tolls have been preserved since 1497. For each passage, the name of the skipper, his home port, the port of departure, the composition of the load, and from 1660 on the destination of the ship were noted.
Half of the ships that sailed through the Sound came from the Netherlands. During the 17th century ships from the province of Holland dominated this route, but during the 18th century this role was taken over by ships from Friesland. The toll books contain data about 1.8 million passages and thus form an exceptionally important source for the economic history of Europe.
The University of Groningen and Tresoar have taken the initiative to digitize the contents of these toll books. With financial support from NWO and several cultural foundations in Friesland, all the data is currently being entered into an electronic database by Breed, the sheltered employment service for Nijmegen and environs. Over the next few months, the number of years that can be consulted with gradually increase. The whole project is scheduled to finish in 2013.
The results will initially be used to research the history of Frisian merchant shipping in the 17th and 18th centuries. Currently, two PhD students and a postdoc are working on this at the University of Groningen.
InformationUniversity of Groningen: Jan Willem Veluwenkamp 050-3639345Tresoar: Siem van der Woude 058-7890755http://www.soundtoll.nl/public/menu: ‘Zoeken in de Sonttolregisters online’ [‘Searching in the Sound Toll Registers Online’]
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