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Ask a Genealogist: Curious about an inventory of cordwainer tools.

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Question:

I am new to genealogy and have started to look at probate inventories for my ancestors more closely.  Can you tell me what "cordwainer tools" are?

Answer:

An inventory will often reveal things about your ancestor's life and occupation.  In the case of your ancestor, he or she was a shoemaker.  A cordwainer was another name for a shoemaker  They no doubt had a variety of knives, awls, and needles for cutting and sewing shoes.  This may include shoe nails, tack hammers, and other items for applying the soles to the leather shoes. 
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