Whaling Collection Archives
New Bedford's Whaling Collection Archives has a search interface that's extremely lenient. Not only can you search for crewmen by name, but also by hair color, skin color, rank, and residence. (Useless fact: Edmund Butler of Edgartown was the only crewman of the period reported to have freckles.) You may also search by ship name, port of registry, departure date, and whaling ground. No single field is required, so queries may be as broad or narrow as you like. At least one famous name appears in this index: Herman Melville departed on the Acushnet on Jan. 3, 1841.