experiences doing family history in Ireland have generally been
frustrating. Our Buchanans and McCallums left Ireland before
there were good records kept.
experience with a friend's Peter Evans' family was fun and exciting. Searching
on the maiden name of Jane Cromer brought up a flood of information
about German clock makers who emigrated to Ireland in the 1800s,
including Jane's father, Conrad Cromer. He took over the watch making
business of his father-in-law Robert O'Shaughnessy at 18 George
Street, Limerick, Ireland.
Robert in turn, had continued the fishing
tackle business started by his father Daniel O'Shaughnessy, inventor
of the famous Shaughnessy or O'Shaughnessy fish hook, still in
wide-spread use over 200 years later. Daniel designed the
O'Shaughnessy hook, but the metal was brittle and would sometimes
break. Robert perfected the metallurgy, allowing his hook-makers to
do the heating and tempering on the common Irish turf fire, producing
hooks that were better than those produced by his deceased father and
deceased elder bother John. An apprentice of John's by the names of
Sells also sold O'Shaughnessy-style hooks in competition to Robert.
But Robert's main business was watch and clock making. The Limerick
museum has one of Roberts tall (grand-father) clocks on display. Some
of Conrad Cromer's watches are still in existence and photos can be
found on the internet.
Robert's children carried on the business
after the death of Robert in 1842. Conrad married Jane in 1854, so 12
years later. Conrad's family carried on the business after his death
never have expected to find myself tracing the pedigree of a fish
hook, but that is what led me to Daniel and John O'Shaughnessy!