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 Apprentices of Great Britain series

There was a tax on Apprentices from 1710-1810 paid to the Board of Stamps. In the 1920s the volumes for the periods 1710-1762 and 1763-1773 at the (then) Public Record Office were transcribed by members of the Society of Genealogists. The typescript index has been on the Library shelves for over 80 years, sorted alphabetically by the names of the Apprentices. The details of masters are found using the separate volumes of the Index to Masters. The original registers are in class IR1 at The National Archives, but the Society of Genealogists holds images of most of the pieces on CD or film.

For each folio reference there are two microfilm images of the original ledgers - the first image is of the left hand side of the open volume, which contains the names and occupations; the second image with the same reference is the right hand side, with the details of the tax paid. Working from the films it is difficult to ensure correct alignment across the centre of the open volume and thus the details from the right hand side (tax paid) have been omitted after 1773. As with any index it is strongly recommended that the original image is viewed.

There are three discrete sections of the records at the TNA viz:

1 1710-1762 TNA Pieces IR1/1-23, 41-54. Typed in the 1920s and bound into 33 volumes on the Apprentices shelves in the Upper Library, along with a separate index to Masters. Before about 1750, this series includes details of the father or widowed mother of most of the apprentices. The Society holds a set of CDs of the original registers, which are in piece number order.

2 1763-1773 TNA Pieces IR1/24-27, 55-58. Typed in the 1920s and bound into 7 volumes on the Apprentices shelves in the Upper Library, along with a separate index to Masters. This series does not include any details of the parents of the apprentice.

3 1773-1811 TNA Pieces IR1/28-40, 59-72. These have now been transcribed from the microfilms but without inclusion of financial details from the right hand page. This series does not include any details of the parents of the apprentice. The Society holds a set of the films which are in piece number order.


The original books in the Society covering the time period 1710-1773 have now been input into a database by Society volunteers, headed up by Frank Hardy.

It was decided as part of the project to extend coverage to 1810 using microfilms of the original ledgers.

The only editing that has been done is to expand abbreviations for the period 1710-1773 and to standardise the occupations by putting them into a consistent format for each occupation. For example 'Linnendraper' has been entered as 'Linen draper'. However, there are some occupations shown where the spelling in the typescript defies interpretation.

There are a number of unusual spellings, particularly of place names, in the originals, and it seems possible that the original entries in the 18th Century were dictated to the clerks who wrote what they heard. This is particularly evident in the pieces from 1773 onwards where film images of the original volumes were used. No attempt has been made to correct spellings of places or people. Similarly there has been no attempt to group surnames as was done in the 1920's.

The database is divided into 4 sections - one for apprentices and one for masters in each of the two time periods (1710-1773 and 1773-1810). These can be searched individually or all together.

An image of the transcript done by the Society in the 1920s for the 1710-1773 time period can also be viewed if required. To do this go to the Basic Index (which only includes the first and last names on a page).

Click on the surname range in which the person you are seeking should appear and save the image. Tip: To go to the right part of the alphabet enter a common surname near the one you are seeking in the 'Search this source' box. Click on 'View' and then use the back (<) and forward (>)arrows as appropriate.

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Apprentices of Great Britain 1774 - 1810 (apprentices)
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