Tuesday, March 26, 2024

England Apprenticeship Records

Heber (2009) describes apprenticeship as a “contract by which a boy learned a trade from his master that was controlled by a guild.” This trade would be his way of earning a living for the rest of his life and supporting a family in the future.[1] The National Archives Website states the following in connection with laws governing apprenticeship:

The Statute of Apprentices passed in 1563, made it illegal for anyone to enter a trade if they had not first served an apprenticeship. Subsequent Acts of Parliament and legal judgments modified this statute, which remained in the statute book until 1814.


The Statute 8 Anne c.5 (1710) made stamp duty payable on apprenticeship indentures (that is, agreements), but until that time, there was no central register of apprentices kept in England and Wales. So, you will have to look for evidence of apprenticeship locally in the surviving papers of firms, parishes, charities, and individuals. See, for example, WB Stephens, Sources of English local history (1981).[2]

The document that accompanied an apprenticeship was called an ‘Indenture’ and would contain the following information:

Name of the apprentice

Name of the master

The trade being taught

The apprentice’s father

Terms of the apprenticeship


Note that sometimes, the occupation and residence of the father are provided along with the date and place of birth of the apprentice. One copy was given to the father, and the master kept the other. Apprenticeships were also recorded in registers, as indicated by the above law. The master would provide housing, clothing, and food along with full training in the specific trade/craft and receive payment for providing the training.

It was against the law to practice a trade without having been apprenticed; fines would be levied, and court records for these types of cases are usually found in the Quarter Session Records. To locate these records, one can check the guild, parish, or taxation records. These arrangements were often private and may only be located in family papers if they have survived. Digitization has made it possible for many of these records to appear online. The National Archives has a collection in their “Documents Online” section called IR 1. This collection is known as the “Apprenticeship Books, 1710-1811”. According to their site,

Duty (taxes) on indentures was payable by the master at the rate of 6d (sixpence) for every £1 under £50 received for taking on the apprentice. The rate increased to 1s (shilling) for every £1 over £50. These duties were due one year after the indenture expired.[3]

The payment of these monies was recorded in registers by Stamp Office clerks. Some of these records are online at According to their site, there are about 350,000 indentures included in this database that cover 1710-1774; interestingly, 20% of these records are Scottish. It is worth mentioning that this particular collection is typewritten abstracts from the originals.[4] Poor law indentures were exempt from this duty. This would mean that the only records available would be the original records created at the time of indenture. If it survived, it would be located among the parish chest records. has some apprenticeship records listed by county, as well as the UK Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices' Indentures, 1710-1811. has County Apprentices from 1710-1808. While visiting the Guildhall Library, I noted that they have the apprenticeship records of the individual livery companies in London. These abstracts, along with indexes to the London Apprenticeship Abstracts from 1442-1850 and Cutlers’ Company Apprenticeships, are all available online at On FamilySearch in the Research Wiki, there is an excellent article with links to multiple resources under England Business and Occupations: also has a collection of these records. A list of them can be obtained either by using the ‘keyword’ search or checking in a location under ‘occupations,’ ‘guardianship,’ ‘public, ‘or ‘church records.’ To locate them in the church records, one would need to check the ‘parish chest’ records of the church; these would be considered ‘poor law apprentices. For instance, just a quick look under film number 1470829 brings up the following:

Item 1 Apprenticeship bonds of parish poor children, 1694.  West Horsley (Surrey)

Item 2 Apprenticeship bonds of parish poor children, 1630-1821  Lingfield (Surrey)

Items 3-4 Apprenticeship records of parish poor children, 1802-1823, 1844  Mitcham (Surrey)

Item 5 Apprenticeship records of parish poor children, 1831  Mordon (Surrey)

Item 6 Apprenticeship records of parish poor children, 1778  Nutfield (Surrey)

Item 7 Apprenticeship records of parish poor children, 1833-1839  Petersham (Surrey)

Item 8 Apprenticeship records of parish poor children, 1670-1868  Send (Surrey)

Item 9 Apprenticeship records of parish poor children, 1739-1741  Titsey (Surrey)

Items 10-15 Apprenticeship records of parish poor children, 1742-1863  Wimbledon (Surrey)

Item 16 Poor law documents, 1659-1860  Betchworth (Surrey)

Items 17-19 Census and electoral papers, 1801, 1811, 1850 & 1852.  Bletchingley (Surrey)

Item 20 Statistical census of 1841 (no names)  Capel (Surrey)

Item 21 Papers relating to census returns, 1831-1841  Cobham (Surrey)

Items 22-24 Census and electoral papers, 1830-1838  Egham (Surrey)

It is worthwhile to see what is available on microfilm from the Family Search Library Catalog; it can be ordered through a Family Search Center or seen right at the Family Search Library in Salt Lake City.

As time continues, more and more of these valuable records will not only be digitized but also will be located in volumes of books not even listed or filmed at this time. Apprenticeship records are another great resource for locating ancestors who learned a trade and need to be considered as such when doing ancestral research.

[1] Heber, M.D. (2007). Ancestral trails: the complete guide to British genealogy and family history. 3rd ed. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2009.

[2] "Apprenticeship records | The National Archives. “The National Archives. N.P., 20 Dec. 2010. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <>.

[3] "Apprenticeship records | The National Archives." The National Archives. N.p., 20 Dec. 2010. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <>.

[4] "Apprentices of Great Britain 1710-1774 |" Research your family tree and family history today | N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <>.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

England Cemetery Records

Cemeteries, churchyards, and parish records are great resources for researching one’s ancestors. Often, memorials are etched in headstones made from either wood or stone. Some families were buried inside the underlings or in a vault in the church; however, most were buried in a churchyard.

One of the biggest problems is that these headstones have been deteriorating, and if your family was poor, they could be buried as a pauper in a common grave without a headstone. Many burial grounds are overgrown with natural growth, and tombstones are cracked or destroyed. The interiors of the churches with the tombstones and various plaques are usually in much better condition; however, these usually represent land owners, those of wealth, or heroes who may have died in a military conflict. Cathedrals are famous for having individuals in the church or on their grounds. 

Societies and various groups throughout England realized the poor condition of the churchyard tombstones back in the 1970s and began to walk through the cemeteries and record what was on the tombstones and created what is known as ‘Monumental or Memorial Inscriptions’.  These records are usually published and available through those societies as well as through the parish church itself and other libraries throughout the area.

Many of the MI records have been filmed along with parish burial registers and are available through a Family History Center or in the Family History Library. The Society of Genealogy (SOG) also has a very large collection of MIs. The one caution is that these were handwritten records and could contain errors as with any other record that individuals have transcribed due to the poor condition of the tombstone or just a simple transcription error.

When researching cemetery records, one must be familiar with the customs and the laws in effect during the specific time of the ancestor. Not only did churchyards provide burial locations, but to compensate for overcrowded churchyards, private companies formed to fill this need with a primary difference that anyone could be buried for a fee.

Originally, parish burial registers gave the scantiest amount of information, which included the name of the person and a burial date. To aid this, the “Burial in Woollen Acts 1666-1680” may provide some assistance as it was required that individuals have a woolen shroud. If the family could afford this, the register was marked with an “A” for the word ‘affidavit’ to confirm this was done or a “P’ for ‘poor’ for those who could not afford the shroud. There are also some separate registers where this information is recorded. For instance, the FHL catalog lists this entry for Barnby-in-the-Willows in Nottingham:

                                        “Register of burials in woolen, 1678-1734”

The above record is located on Film # 0580859 on items 21-23. The Rose Act of 1812 changed that and brought in printed registers to use which gave more information to help in identifying the deceased.

Eventually, the English government stepped in and created a ‘burial board’ to handle locations and cemeteries across the country. There are histories for some cemeteries and these can be found in various locations online or in books or on film. It is simply looking in a catalog for a particular repository.

Some families had private burial grounds on their own families, and the deeds for that burial property would usually be held in the families’ papers. There are many war memorials for those who died serving their country. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission was put in charge of handling these records. The various cemeteries are located in many different locations. Their website is a great aid to locating a specific individual at The site provides a wealth of information on fallen soldiers.

Another resource for burial information may be an academic location. Often founders and benefactors of the institution may have an obituary in the library and could be buried on their grounds. There are various governments and other outstanding individuals buried in unusual places in a country, depending on their stature in society. All these situations are often overlooked when researching and need to be considered if one is a descendant.

Here are a few online locations where burial records can be located:


Mentioning cemetery records, one can’t overlook obituaries. Various newspapers and histories could easily contain enough information about an individual who has passed on and provide burial information.

As one reflects on using cemetery records, the death of a loved one could have generated a number of documents depending on their status in society or their parish. One needs to look at all the possible places records could exist where death was recorded, including the family bible as well as the National Burial Index, which is available on CD and Currently this index contains over 18.4 million names and is representative of many family history societies hard work over the last 15 years. This index covers records from parish, non-conformist, Roman Catholic, and many other cemetery registers for the years from 1538 to 2005.

Researching English cemetery records in its various formats is definitely a great aid to family history researchers everywhere.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

England-Assize Court Records

 Assize Records

The Assize courts dealt with serious criminal cases dating back to the 1200s and replaced Eyre courts. Heber points out that originally, these courts dealt with property disputes; however, over time, they dealt with criminal courts and were replaced by Crown Courts in 1971.[1] According to this guide, the types of cases heard in these courts were:

Assault-Coining-Forgery-Highway Robbery-Homicide-Infanticide-Rape-Recusancy-

The justices worked in pairs and followed a circuit system between towns to hear cases not handled by the local courts. This system allowed individuals to be heard in their own local rather than having to travel to London for a trial, with the drawback being many accused were held in jails for long periods of time waiting for a justice to hear their case.

There were six assize circuits set up by 1340; this list is available online in the FamilySearch Research Wiki Over time, these jurisdictions were changed, so one needs to know the time and place to locate a specific case record.

The type of information available on these records can prove helpful for those researching their family history as they would contain the name, occupation, and residence of the accused. The guide provided by the National Archives mentions that the residence could be the location of the crime rather than where that individual actually lived[2]. Assize records can also include:

Coroners’ inquests

Gaol delivery calendars (gives the name of the judge, place, and date of the court session, prisoner names, and their sentences)


Crown Minute Books, Agenda Books – listed prisoners and records of whether they were charged and sentenced.


Assize vouchers (includes costs submitted by the sheriff for reimbursement per person) National Archives

Gaol books (jail books)

Treasury warrants (sums paid to sheriffs) National Archives

Criminal Biographies

Appeal Registers (A conviction could be appealed-Located at the National Archives)

In accessing these records, one needs to remember that prior to 1732, they were in Latin[3]. Assize cases usually involve individuals from the middle and/or poorer classes. Records pertaining to the cases are held at the Public Record Office, with few being available at the Family Search Library.

Some cases have been reported in the newspapers. To see if a transcript of a case is available, one can check the local County Record Office website as well as any of the British newspapers that existed for that time period.

Unfortunately not all assize records have survived as clerks would often destroy old cases to make room for new cases. According to the National Archives, most of those that have survived were from the northern counties before the 19th century, while Midland circuit court records have survived since 1818. The National Archives publishes two keys broken down by counties to aid in locating available records viewable at the National Archives:

Additional records were created in conjunction with the assize courts. For instance, Biographies of Executed Criminals, 1676-1772, is available online at London Lives. These prisoners were executed at Tyburn and spent their remaining time at Newgate Gaol.  These biographies contain valuable information about the condemned as recorded by the prison chaplain.

A similar publication in relation to Old Bailey’s is called The Ordinary’s Accounts, which is also available online at London Lives. An index of individuals who are in both these record sources and their biographies is also provided on this site.

According to Heber, “convictions could be appealed or reviewed by a writ of certiorari”. In the beginning, they would be directed to the Court of the King’s Bench; after 1848, they went to the Court for the Crown Cases Reserved, from 1907 by the Court of Criminal Appeal and from 1966 by the Court of Appeal (criminal division). Some of these appeal registers are also held at the National Archives.[4] Some records are available on

·         England & Wales Criminal Registers, 1792-1892

·         Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913

These records are worth looking at regardless of one’s ancestral circumstances. Often individuals can be witnesses and provide valuable information at the time of a crime. As with all research, no stone should be left unturned.

[1] Heber, Mark D.. "Records of The Criminal Courts and Criminals." Ancestral trails: the complete guide to British genealogy and family history. Gloucestershire: Sutton Pub. in association with the Society of Genealogists, 1997, p. 458. Print.

[2"Assizes: criminal trials 1559-1971 | The National Archives." The National Archives. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Jan. 2012. <>.

[3] Heber, Mark D.. "Records of The Criminal Courts and Criminals." Ancestral trails: the complete guide to British genealogy and family history. Gloucestershire: Sutton Pub. in association with the Society of Genealogists, 1997, p. 456. Print. 

[4] Ibid, p. 463. Print

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Genealogy & Family History - The Perfect Social Media

Genealogy & Family History ~ The Perfect Social Media

by Claire V Brisson-Banks, BS, MLIS, A.G. ®
© Copyright 2013 Timeless Genealogies

This class will cover a variety of Web 2.0 Internet-based tools that assist with connecting and keeping in touch with family while locating new family information and staying up-to-date with genealogical technology and social media. Wikipedia defines Social Media as follows:

“Social media are primarily Internet-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and "building" of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories and experiences.”

Material Presented:
  • RSS Feeds
  • ITunes
  • The Old Reader
  • Netvibes
  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Family Websites
  • Photo Sharing
  • Pins
  • Video Contact
  • Skype Research Communities
  • Facebook
  • Facebook Genealogical Applications
  • Facebook Research Communities
  • Twitter
  • TweetDeck
  • Social Bookmarking
  • Grave Networking
  • Genes Reunited
  • WikiTree
  • DNA
  • PC, Online and Portable Genealogical Software Programs
  • Digital Genealogical Books and Readers
  • FamilySearch Digitized Books Collection
  • YouTube
  • FamilySearch and Ancestry Online Research Classes
  • ICAPGen Mentoring and Educational Resources
  • Dropbox – Google Docs – Your Files online
  • Genealogy Training in Second Life
Websites Referenced:


Top Social Media Sites

Personalized Home Page



Family Websites

Social Media Sites

PC Genealogical Data Management

Online Genealogical Data Management

Portable Genealogical Data Management

Mobile Genealogical Applications

Digital Books

Digital Readers

Training and Information

Files Online

Virtual Training

Reading Materials

Social Media for Family Historians by Carole Riley
Social Networking for Genealogists by Drew Smith
The Social Media Guide for Ancestral Research by Claire Brisson-Banks

The future holds the promise of new technological developments to assist in locating more of those long lost ancestors with online records and open communications between families wherever they are living. Embrace the future of genealogy as it expands and brings together the family of man.
© Copyright 2013 Timeless Genealogies.  All rights reserved.  Written permission to reproduce all or part of this syllabus material in any format, including photocopying, data retrieval, or the Internet, must be secured in advance from the copyright holder. Contact:

Updated 25 June 2013

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Breaking Through the Generation Gap

Updated 22 Aug 2017 by Claire V Brisson-Banks, BS, MLIS, A.G. ®
           © Copyright 2005-2017 Timeless Genealogies

Learning about ones' family history is both rewarding and interesting no matter what age the individual asking is concerning their ancestral background.

To assist this endeavor it helps to tie in historical events to their ancestors. Suddenly names, dates and places become connected when ancestral family members are part of the history lesson. They may have fought in the Civil War, WWI or WWII; taken part in the expansion out west or participated in the women's movement for the right to vote along with any other historical event. Just where do they fit in American history?

Learning styles can affect the outcome when working with youth and making oneself aware of them will help them to be successful in their ancestral research. According to Colin Rose, "There are three types of learning styles:
  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Kinesthetic and Tactile
Those who are visual will enjoy working with fan charts, creating an online presence for the family and perhaps hunting in cemeteries for long lost relatives and collecting photographs of ancestors. If they are listeners they may be the one who remembers names, dates and places, doing data entry, indexing and hunting through records. The last area brings in enjoying historical research combined with historical events, even participating in historical recreations or developing a family website. The combination of all three learning styles makes a great combination for a family of genealogical detectives!

Home Treasures

These artifacts and others can be intertwined into stories about ancestors. Once the stories are written they can be shared through blogs, wikis, websites, an online journal and scrapbooks. Some of the programs that make these things happen and possible are:

Scrap Booking

Scrapbooking has come a long way from years ago; however, scrapbooks are what is wanted by those creating them. Some are the ones created with scraps and stories written in by hand, others are done with the newer templates and photos added and end up with a more professional look and now there is online scrapbooking, choose the one that works best for your family. provides some great supplies shipped to your home.
Ancestral Activities 

To help children remember who their ancestors are one can make those ancestral pictures into jigsaw puzzles and then spend time putting the puzzles together and adding stories of those ancestors with the youth is a great resource that should not be overlooked.
One can also make a coloring picture of a family photo with a program by Anthony Craft called My Picture Puzzle, once installed it can be printed and then an individual can color the picture. Additional activities with pictures is to create online family albums with Flickr, Picaboo, Snapfish, Shutterfly or Photobucket.

Additional ideas are:

Ancestral Places

Looking for ancestral places can be done by using Wikipedia or Ask. Adding locations currently and throughout time helps to add understanding for the time periods ones ancestors were living in. One can also search for a map online and look under images instead of the web responses.

There are various map games at Map Web Games. Taking an ancestral trip is also another possible opportunity to locate ancestors in distance cemeteries and their home towns. Family Atlas can help you with mapping your family.

Historical Records

There are many locations to find historical records both online and in person. Archives, libraries and the Family History Library are just a few of the many physical locations. A few online locations are:,,,, and There are many others that have records available online however many of them are also subscription websites.

Viewing historical movies of the time period can also help to add understanding the culture of the times. Many like this are available through the public libraries or simply using a Google search engine and typing in "historical movies for children", you will be surprised at how many are available for free. The Ancestors Series is available online through BYU

There are also online games to help learn more about specific time periods through the Library of Congress' online website and these other sites:  

US Gen Web Kidz
Family Tree Kids
I Dream of Genealogy: Family is all around..
Walk Through Time
You Be the Historian
Who Am I?
America's Story
Abraham Lincoln Research Site
Middle Ages
Great Websites for Kids

Genealogical Software Program

Ancestral Quest

Maintaining total control of your family's information is most important, especially in today's world.
Ancestral Quest donated the code for PAF and created the first Family Tree Maker. It is simple to use, yet powerful for sourcing, adding pictures and linking and syncing with It is available for both the PC and the Mac operating systems.
Youth Online Resources

"There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children - one is Roots and the other Wings"
                                                                       by Hodding S. Carter

© Copyright 2005-2017 Timeless Genealogies.  All rights reserved.  Written permission to reproduce all or part of this syllabus material in any format, including photocopying, data retrieval, or the Internet, must be secured in advance from the copyright holder. Contact:

Updated: August, 2017

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Libraries: Portals To Your Ancestral Past

Family History on TV
-African American Lives PBS
-Faces of America PBS
-The Generations Project BYU TV
-Who Do You Think You Are? NBS
-Ancestors (Not running but available online) /

Social Media Fuels Family History Interest

-Release of 1940 Census sparked interest

Public Library Resources

-Local Historical Events
-Centennial & Bicentennial memorabilia
-City/State Directories
-Historic Maps & Photos
-Historic Audio & Video Records
-Access to Online Databasses
-Pathfinders/Library Guides

Patrons Know What Resources are Available?

-online through library website
-online to public

Additional Newspapers Resources

Access to
Internet Archives:
Various ProQuest databases:
Wikipedia’s Online Newspapers Listing -

Access to Online Databases

Internet Archives:
Mortality Schedules:
Ancestry:  ($)
Heritage Quest from ProQuest: ($):
World Vital Records: ($)

Create Library Guides of your resources

Pathfinders of your resources

Collaboration Through their Library with other Libraries
-Interlibrary loans-books
-Interlibrary loans-films
-University Libraries

Online Research Communities

-Skype Research Communities
-Facebook Research Genealogical Communities

by Claire V Brisson-Banks

© Copyright 2012 Timeless Genealogies. All rights reserved. Written permission to reproduce all or part of this syllabus material in any format, including photocopying, data retrieval, or the Internet, must be secured in advance from the copyright holder. Contact:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Harnessing 'Cloud' Technology to Expand & Extend your Family Tree

Websites and Topics From Presentation


World Wide Collaboration
     Social Networking

Research Wiki:
Encyclopedia of Genealogy:
Biographical Wiki:
Who will tell their stories?
Genes Reunited:
My Heritage:
One Great Family:
Ancestry Family Trees:
Tribal Pages:
John Pack Family:
Who Will Tell Their Stories?
Find A Grave:
We're Related:
Elusive Ancestors:

PC/Mac Genealogical Software: Record Management Tools
Ancestral Quest:
Family Tree Maker:
Roots Magic:
MacFamily Tree 6.14:
GeditCom II 1.6:
Family Tree Maker for Mac:
Reunion 9.0c:

Online Genealogical Programs
Ancestry Family Tree:
My Heritage Family Tree:
One Great Family:
The Next Generation:
We Relate:

Collaborating with Online Files
Microsoft OfficeLive

Simultanneous Collaborating
Will You
Google docs:

Mobile Applications
Android Mobile Genealogical Applications:

Online Learning
Digital Genealogical Books:
FamilySearch Research Courses:
Ancestry Learning Center:
Second Life Virtural World Training:

Virtural Worlds List by Category:  

Reading Materials
  1. Social Media for Family Historians by Carole Riley:
  2. Social Networking for Genealogists by Drew Smith:
  3. The Social Media Guide for Ancestral Research Applying Web 2.0 Strategies by Claire V. Brisson-Banks: