This past weekend I did a Chat as a follow-up to the four lectures I recorded for the Celtic Connections Conference. I’ve always enjoyed this conference and learned a lot. Participants were able to send questions up to a week before the Chat which I got a chance to review (so no, it wasn’t cold). I’ve been researching in Ireland since my first trip in 1992, have worked as a Professional Genealogist since 2002 and have been taking groups of researchers to Ireland since 2012. Now, in 2022, I am “retiring” and focusing more on my own research. The Celtic Connections Conference was my last set of lectures. With all of my experience, I don’t know everything about Irish Research. That’s the thing about this hobby…you’re always learning.
When I get a question about a topic or an area that I am not familiar with, I Google it and you can, too. One of the questions this week was about an occupation…coopers, specifically coopers in County Cork. My first search was “coopers in Ireland.” There were over 79 million hits. It’s not like I’m going to look at all of them, but I’ll check out the first few pages.
This is great. It gives me some general information on the occupation. If you’re visiting, there’s a place in Cork City where you can observe a Master Cooper who presents talks on his craft. There’s also an article on coopering for the whiskey trade. And yes, since Cooper is also a surname (likely passed down from those in the trade hundreds of years ago) there’s a link to John Grenham’s site which shows you where the surname appeared in Ireland in the mid-1800s. That’s only part of the first page.
I can continue to narrow down the search…was there a guild for this profession? This time my search was “coopers guild in Ireland.” I only got about 3 million hits on this.😀 One of the results was for “Holdings: Dublin Trade Gilds.”
And a click on that took me to the National Library of Ireland, Sources Database. It not only mentioned Coopers, but lots of other professions. The reference was to a Journal article in The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Series 6, Vol. XII, pp. 143-163, 1922.
That’s great for me since I’ll be back in Ireland in October, but what if you’re not traveling? Head over to WorldCat. It turns out that the closest locality to me that has this Journal is just up the road in Tampa at the University of South Florida. I would have to check to make sure they had the specific volume.
Finally I search on “Coopers Guild in County Cork” and found that the Cork Archives has information.
If I was not going to be in Ireland, I would first check to see what might be available by Searching the Archives (last tab) and then placing a Enquiry (under Services) about getting a copy of pertinent material.
Many of the questions you might have about your Irish research can be answered by just searching using Google or your favorite search engine. This type of search is unstructured, unlike an Archive search where you need to understand the hierarchy of the data in order to get a result. Just type in a question, or a string of words and see what comes up. Then modify your search depending on the results. Give it a try.
Don't forget that you can also use the Links and Resources tab on my website to find lots of information, including resources by County.
As mentioned a few weeks ago, I'm cutting down my blogging to every few weeks. I will however continue to post items of interest on my Facebook Page. I'll be on vacation for the next few weeks so look for a new post on September 26th.