Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Editing Youghal Harbour shipping records

Hello folks - hope you are all keeping well.

I should be posting more news of the medieval world but I am presently distracted away from the dark knights and fair maidens by some recently discovered shipping records relating to the port of Youghal, Co. Cork, Ireland.

In 2008 I published a book on the history of navigation and trade on the River Blackwater which enters the sea at Youghal.

Cover to my first book.

Although the book is over 550 pages there is always room for improvement. The Youghal Harbour manuscript records used in the book were in some respects restricting in the information they provided. The recently discovered custom officer records for Youghal Harbour provide far more detailed information such as where a vessel came from with its cargo of coal or iron.

Front cover of the Arrivals book

The Arrivals book contains above 200 folios. The verso page is arranged in columns showing the date the ship arrived - the name of the ship, the master, where the ship came from - its cargo and date of departure. Further columns in the recto page tell the registered tons of the ship and the amount of cargo. The recto page also says if the ship discharged its cargo at Youghal or at a location up the Rivers Blackwater and Bride.

Unlike the sources I previously used for my book the newly discovered books (12 in all) say at what river quay the ship discharged and loaded cargo. This detail of information was previously unknown.

Currently I am transcribing the information in the custom books onto an Excel spread sheet at a rate of about 5 to 7 folios per day. Not very fast but a person has to go out and do the day job to enjoy history exploration at night. The Arrival Book that I am transcribing covers the years from 1917 to 1930.

Front cover of the Sailing Book

After finishing the Arrival book there is the corresponding Sailing Book for transcription. This is also about 200 folios - arranged in columns and just as detailed as the Arrivals Book.

Yet I hope to be able to post some medieval news by next week all going well. Happy days.


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