Monthly Archives: November 2014

More images from our 18th century Irish trade data project

Via slideshare, a presentation about our 18th century Irish trade data project.

This has more images of the source documents, showing how consistently structured they are over the decades. Also, a few slides towards the end about some of the technology tools we’re playing with in anticipation of capturing the full dataset.

Sample charts of data on the tonnage and shipping of Ireland, by port, 1719–1764

I’ve updated content for the CUSTOMS15 18th century Irish trade project, which is joint work between Patrick A Walsh, Eoin Magennis, and myself, with:

This is our first real cut at getting trade-related data at the port , rather than national, level. Even though it is work-in-progress, a little background  to the work is appropriate, well in advance of a fully documented dataset.

The core trade data in the sources, i.e., detailed quantities and values of commodities imported and exported, are each year typically supplemented by tables with trade-related information. Each of the annual ledgers seem to have a one-page table on the tonnage and shipping of Ireland. These tables are so well and consistently structured, that their essence can be grasped fairly immediately. Click to zoom in on the image:

Image of tonnage and shipping table from Customs 15 ledgers (UK National Archives) Vol. 17 (for the year ended 25th March 1714)

300 years old, useful, and beautiful: the tonnage and shipping table from the Customs 15 ledgers from the UK National Archives, Vol. 17 (for the year ended 25th March 1714).

We see, for any given year, the number of ships in total, the number of ships for each port, tonnage also at national and port level, with tonnage distinguished further by (what we take to be) the country or region of origin of the owners of shipping. The numbers are uncomplicated, in being in either units of ‘ships’ or ‘tons’ (with the occasional fraction of a ton). So, data-entry is fairly easy. Tonnage data is totalled across rows and down columns, which makes data-checking straightforward too.

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