Recently I have taken a rather lazy approach to research.
From the comfort of home, if a question pops to mind, I would often find an answer by pressing a few keys. Need to research something? Just pop the word in Google and in a blink of an eye a treasure of information comes to hand.
I had forgotten that there was a time and not everything was so easy. It was not all that long ago and one had to put in that bit more effort if they wanted to find out about something.
Even now, the internet has its limitations. You might think it is a bottomless pit of information but everything is NOT to be found there.
Last week while strolling around the ‘Real Capital’, I decided that I should expand my research horizons and take a chance on some of the ‘old fashioned’ way of carrying out a bit of research. I popped into the Cork City Library and took a look at their reference section there. My hopes were not too high, as the subject of my research was mostly Dublin based, and the tennis scene to be more precise.
Why tennis? Well, the subject of my book series back ground research has always come down to the Stoker/Maunsell family. And Frank O. Stoker, the father of Ruth Stoker (so who is Ruth?) was big into tennis back in his day. As were the Maunsells, Rita Maunsell being Ruth’s mother.
Anyway, without going into too much detail, and limiting the research to ‘Irish tennis, Frank O Stoker and/or Maunsell’ it all came down to the library having only one book that met any of my search criteria. You can imagine how thrilled I was to discover this book by Ulick O Connor- who by all accounts was not only a poet but a keen tennis player and dedicated sports fan to boot.
Not expecting to find much in the line of Stoker/Maunsell side of things, you can imagine my delight in finding the following:
Irish Team 1896 at Fitzwilliam Square. Included are Three Wimbledon Champions: Mahoney, Pim and, looking very handsome altogether, seated second from the right, Frank O. Stoker!
My blog pages does expand some more on Frank and his tennis achievements, but this tit bit I found was interesting.
The book , as per the title, goes into the clubs history spanning a hundred years. Whilst reading the early years, I read with interest various names that Frank O. would have been acquainted with, and even played tennis against. I also read that Ulick thought ” Stoker never seems to have done as well in singles as he should have. He made a perfect partner for Pim, and his stamina acquired on the rugby field was always useful when the net cords weren’t coming as sweetly as they might”
And as the years followed, the book went on to mention Ruth’s sister, Norma Stoker, who went on to play and win ladies doubles in 1933 and 1935. A few years short of her father’s death in 1939. Her mother also died in the same year.
And so I was moved to see a new name jump out of the page at me.
H.R Maunsell – President of the club 1941-43
There was no more detail in the book and so I was left to my own devices to find out more. H R was club president around the same year as my father was born and so I expect H R is no longer with us. That being said, it has given me a new shoot of family history to trace and so when I came home I tried google H R to find out more.
No results, alas.
As the saying goes, ‘give the dog a bone’ and I have a fresh one between my teeth.
Some more digging will need to be done.
I think I will have to visit some more libraries.