English Guild and Apprenticeship Records for Genealogists

This page of resources was compiled to accompany a webinar for the English-Welsh Interest Group of the Minnesota Genealogical Society in April 2016.

Guild and apprenticeship records can be a fantastic source to help you take your family tree further back in time or to flesh out the stories of your ancestors’ lives. They frequently provide the evidence to confirm family connections and can enable the migrant to be traced to his place of origin.

There are many published volumes of Freemen and/or Apprentice registers and increasingly databases are appearing online making these records more accessible than ever before.

Online Guides

Apprentices and Masters (The National Archives of the UK)

Searching for members or those apprenticed to members of City of London livery companies (London Metropolitan Archives)

City Freedom Archives (London Metropolitan Archives)

Livery Company Membership Guide (Guildhall Library)

Livery Companies of the City of London (The Livery Committee)

London Lives 1690-1800 : Guilds

London Lives 1690-1800 : Capenters’ Company

User Guide 7 : Guild Records (Tyne and Wear Archives)

Freemen of Dover (Dover Museum)

Online Collections

Guild & Borough Records

Ancestry : London, England, Freedom of the City Admission Papers, 1681-1925

FindMyPast : London Apprenticeship Abstracts, 1442-1850

FindMyPast : City Of London, Haberdashers, Apprentices and Freemen 1526-1933

FindMyPast : City Of London, Ironmongers, Apprentices and Freemen 1511-1923

Records of London’s Livery Companies Online (ROLLCO) : Apprentices and Freemen 1400-1900

British History Online : Records of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters Volume I: Apprentices’ Entry Books 1654-1694

FindMyPast : Freemen Of Ipswich, Suffolk

Tax Records (The National Archives of the UK class IR1)

The National Archives : IR 1 Board of Stamps – Apprenticeship Books (see also Free Online Records : Digital Microfilm for guidance)

Ancestry : UK, Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices’ Indentures, 1710-1811

FindMyPast : Britain, Country Apprentices 1710-1808

Parish and Poor Law Union Records

Ancestry : West Yorkshire, England, Select Apprenticeship Records, 1627-1894

FindMyPast : Devon, Plymouth & West Devon Apprentices 1570-1910

Ancestry : London, England, Poor Law and Board of Guardian Records, 1430-1930

Staffordshire Name Indexes : Staffordshire Apprentice Records

Hertsdirect : Apprentices Index 1599-1903

Related Online Resources

FindMyPast : Boyd’s Inhabitants Of London & Family Units 1200-1946

ElectoralRegisters.org.uk : Poll Books

Livery Companies of the City of London

Records Transcribed and Published in Book Form and Available Online

Register of the Freemen of the City of York from the City Records. Vol II. 1559-1759.  https://archive.org/details/registeroffreem02surtuoft

Recommended Books and Articles

The following two books are aimed at genealogists and provide an easy to understand overview of their subjects with lots of specific information on sources and where to find them:

Raymond, Stuart A. My Ancestor was an Apprentice. London: SOG. 2010. (Available on Kindle)

Aldous, Vivienne E. My Ancestors were Freemen of the City of London. London: SOG. 1999.

The next book provides a very comprehensive account of apprenticeship in England:

Lane, Joan. Apprenticeship in England 1600-1914. London: UCL Press. 1996. (Available on Kindle)

Providing more detail regarding London Livery companies and their records:

City of London. City of London Livery Companies and Related Organisations : A Guide to their Archives in Guildhall Library. London: Guildhall Library Publications. 2010.

Churchill, E and Webb, C. “The City Boys: Records of London Apprentices”. Ancestors 21 (2004).

Erickson, Amy Louise. “Eleanor Mosley and other milliners in the City of London companies 1700-1750”. History Workshop Journal 71 (2011) : 147-172.

Parish Apprentices:

Honeyman, Katrina. Child Workers in England, 1780-1820: Parish Apprentices and the Making of the Early Industrial Labour Force. Aldershot: Ashgate (2007).

Other useful books:

West, John. Town Records. Chichester: Phillimore. 1983.

Martin, Charles Trice. The Record Interpreter: A collection of abbreviations, Latin words and names used in English historical manuscripts and records. London: Reeves & Turner. 1892. Digital images. Internet Archivehttps://archive.org/details/recordinterprete00martiala : 2016.