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Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday: Tracing Ancestors by Occupation, Part II

There are two more sets of records that can help you understand your ancestor’s trade. In the mid-1500s, it became illegal to practice in a field without an apprenticeship so much information about masters and their apprentices was created. Documents from some businesses were deposited in archives throughout the UK, and a directory of where these records are held is maintained by the National Archives.

Apprenticeship records at the National Archives are being digitized. Check them at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk. The Society of Genealogists Library in London (the largest genealogical library in the UK) also has some transcriptions: www.sog.org . You must be a member to view the online apprentice records, but you can join easily on the website.
 
Society of Genealogists
14 Charterhouse Buildings
Goswell Road
London EC1M 7BA
UK

If you have a lot of tradesmen in your family, you might want to get a copy of this book:
          Raymond, Stuart. My Ancestor was an Apprentice. London: Society of Genealogists, 2010.

If you would like to research your ancestor’s company, the National Archives has an index of material held in all archives in the country at their National Register of Archives: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra. One of the tabs allows you to search by company name. When I inserted the word ‘Colman,’ I found that the Norfolk Record Office holds documents from the venerable mustard manufacturer. The other tabs let you search by:

personal name
family name
place name


This is an interesting site because when looking under personal or family names, you may find diaries which could be invaluable. In larger communities, there may be more than one brewery, for example. A place search might supply all the names of these businesses for you As would a historical directory (See the last post.).  According to the website, a place name “search will not retrieve all the records relating to a place. It will only find the archives of families, businesses and organizations based there, as well as diaries of residents and visitors who have on it in detail.” (I added the emphasis.) That seems like a lot of info to me!

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