Each result will include a transcript and an image of the original document.
Transcripts may provide details pertaining to the following fields:
Birth or baptism year
Means – how the individual became a freeman: birthright, servitude (apprenticeship), or redemption
Document type –Register of Admissions to Freedom of the City, Apprentice indentures, Electoral Roll of Freemen, Freeman Claims, Register of Apprentice indentures, Register of Freemen, and Register of Admissions & Apprentice indentures
The images provided of the original registers may offer additional details about your ancestor.
A freeman was a rank within livery companies signifying that the individual had been granted freedom of the company. Livery companies pertain to those ancient and modern guilds and trade associations of London and relate to various trades.
An individual became a freeman in one of three ways: (1) through completion of an apprenticeship, (2) by patrimony, meaning the individual’s father was a freeman at the time of birth, or (3) by redemption or purchase, where a fee is paid to the company.
Apprenticeship has a long history in the United Kingdom. Generally, a child around the age of 14 would be apprenticed to a master for a set number of years (between 5 and 9 years). The parents of the child would pay a fee (depending on when the apprenticeship occurred, this could have been a lump sum or fee paid in installments) and the apprenticeship contract was documented in an indenture. The master would be responsible for clothing, housing, and feeding the apprentice, as well as technical training. From time to time, there were laws passed to protect and regulate the apprenticeship system. For example, in 1563, the Statute of Artificers and Apprentices stipulated that one had to have completed a 7-year apprenticeship to a master before practising any trade or craft.
Begin your search broadly with only a name.
While you can narrow your results by occupation, please note that occupation was not always provided or indexed. Therefore, searching with an occupation defined may result in your ancestor not showing in results if the occupation was not recorded. Be sure to check the transcript against the provided original image to ensure all available information is obtained.
The optional keywords search field will also search means (i.e. the means by which an individual was made a freeman: birthright, servitude, or redemption).
Depending on the means by which an individual became a freeman, there may be multiple records pertaining to that individual. For example, where the means was by servitude (apprenticeship), there will likely be two or more records, such as an indenture signifying the start of the apprenticeship and a freeman claim and entry in the freemen admission register at the end of the apprenticeship.