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108 livery companies have operated in London. Wikipedia maintains a list of The City Livery Companies, along with links to company websites.
- The Livery Companies Database is a helpful resource that supplies contact details for each active company.
Histories have been written on many London livery companies. The British Library has compiled a detailed list. Most of those published before 1923 are available for free online at Hathi Trust, Google Books, or Internet Archive.
Apprenticeship records are one of the most valuable genealogical sources created by London livery companies. They often name the following information about an apprentice's father: name, residence, and occupation. Cliff Webb has abstracted the records of many companies:
- London Apprenticeship Abstracts 1442-1850 at findmypast (£); also available in book form (48 vols.): FHL Books 942.1/L1 U25w v. 1-48.
- Records from the following companies are included in Webb's abstracts: Apothecaries, Armourers and Brasiers, Basketmakers, Blacksmiths, Bowyers, Brewers, Broderers, Brown Bakers, Butchers, Carmen, Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers, Combmakers, Cooks, Curriers, Cutlers, Distillers, Dyers, Fan Makers, Farriers, Feltmakers, Fishmongers, Fletchers, Founders, Framework Knitters, Fruiterers, Gardeners, Glass-sellers, Glaziers, Glovers, Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers, Grocers, Gunmakers, Horners, Innholders, Ironmongers, Longbowstring Makers, Loriners, Makers of Playing Cards, Masons, Musicians, Needlemakers, Painter-stainers, Pattenmakers, Paviors, Pewterers, Pinmakers, Plaisterers, Plumbers, Poulters, Saddlers, Spectaclemakers, Tallow Chandlers, Tinplate Workers, Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders, Turners, Tylers and Bricklayers, Upholders, Vintners, Waxchandlers, and Woolmen.
The website Records of London's Livery Companies Online: Apprentices and Freemen 1400-1900 offers free indexes to The Bowyer's Company (1680-1900), The Clothworkers' Company (1545-1900), The Drapers' Company (c.1400-1900), The Girdlers' Company (1654-1900), The Goldsmith's Company (1600-1700), The Mercers' Company (1339-1900), and The Salters' Company (1599/1600, 1678-1900).
For the period 1524-1553, a register of London freemen, created independently from the company records, has survived. Welch's abstracts are available online. He reports that other freemen records burned in a fire in 1786.
In 1641, a list of members of City Companies was compiled:
- The Members of the City Companies in 1641, As Set Forth in the Return for the Poll Tax. 5 vols. FHL books 942.1/L1 X3da v. 1-5
1641 Poll Tax of Drapers.
In 1651, signatures of members of 22 City Companies were taken:
- London Citizens in 1651, Being a Transcript of Harleian MS. 4778. 1910. Digital version at Internet Archive - free.
- 22 companies are represented: Apothecaries, Armourers, Bowyers, Bricklayers, Butchers, Carpenters, Cordwainers, Chirurgeons, Cooks, Coopers, Curriers, Founders, Freemasons, Girdlers, Glasiers, Innholders, Painter-Stainers, Poulters, Sadlers, Tallow Chandlers, Turners, and Waxchandlers.
In 1696, oaths from livery company members were recorded. This source acts as a census of liverymen:
- Association Oath Rolls for City of London Livery Companies, 1696at British Origins (£)
- 77 companies are represented: Grocers, Mercers, Drapers, Fishmongers, Goldsmiths, Skinners, Merchant Taylors, Haberdashers, Salters, Ironmongers, Vintners, Clothworkers, Dyers, Brewers, Leathersellers, Pewterers, Barbers, Cutlers, Bakers, Wax Chandlers, Tallow Chandlers,Armourers and Brasiers, Girdlers, Butchers, Saddlers, Carpenters, Cordwainers, Painter-Stainers, Curriers, Masons, Plumbers, Innholders, Founders, Poulters, Cooks, Coopers, Tylers and Bricklayers, Bowyers, Fletchers, Blacksmiths, Joiners and Ceilers, Weavers, Woolmen, Scriveners, Fruiterers, Plaisterers, Stationers, Broderers, Upholders, Musicians, Turners, Basketmakers, Glaziers, Horners, Farriers, Paviours, Lorimers, Apothecaries, Shipwrights, Spectaclemakers, Clockmakers, Glovers, Combmakers, Feltmakers, Frameworkknitters, Silk Throwers, Carmen, Pinmakers, Needlemakers, Gardeners, Soapmakers, Tinplateworkers, Wheelwrights, Distillers, Hatbandmakers, Pattenmakers, Glass-Sellers, Tobacco Pipemakers, Coachmakers, Watermen, Officers and Yeomen of Guard, Trinity House, Ordnance Office, Officers of Tower, Officers and builders of St Paul's, Heralds, Lutestring Company, Clergy: Archdeaconry of London, Clergy: Archdeaconry of Middlesex, London Dissenters.
Original records of the Haberdashers and Ironmongers companies are online findmypast (£).
Abstracts of apprenticeship entry books for the Carpenter's Company (1654-1694) have been published online.
The Merchant Taylors' Membership Index 1530-1928 at ParishRegister.com (£).
Original records of the Gunmakers' Company Freedoms and Admissions, 1656-1936 are online findmypast (£).
Walcot, Cynthia. 'Artists - 1823. A List of names and addresses of Artists in London,' The Hampshire Family Historian, vol. VIII, no.4 (Feb. 1982), 148-149, Family History Library Ref. 942.27 B27h
Peter Wilson Coldham's index to Child Apprentices in America from Christ's Hospital, London, 1617-1778 is available on Ancestry. It lists orphans of citizens of London whose transportation to the colonies was paid for (£).
Physicians and Irregular Medical Practitioners in London 1550-1640 Database is online at British History Online.
The Clothworkers' Company Archive Catalogue is available online.
Clockmakers' apprentices online.
The original records of most London livery companies are deposited at the Guildhall Library. A guide to their collection is available online:
Manuscripts on Microfilm
Inns of Court
Lawyers from all over England and Wales were trained at London's four inns of court.
- Main article: Lawyers in England and Wales
For a useful guide, see:
- Brooks, Brian G.C. and Mark D. Herber. My Ancestor was a Lawyer. London: Society of Genealogists, c2006. FHL Book 942 D27bbg.
Notes on English Medieval Genealogy maintains a useful list of online Inns of Court records.
See also Staple Inn.
See also Thavie's Inn.
- City Freedom Archives (London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) Information Leaflet)
- Livery Company Records and Furthering Your Ancestry (free online lesson)
- Livery Company Membership Guide, Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section
- The Membership Records of the Merchant Taylors Company (LMA Information Leaflet 17)
- Records of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen (LMA Information Leaflet 18)
- Searching for Members or Those Apprenticed to Members of City of London Livery Companies (LMA Information Leaflet 16)
- Sources for Tracing Apothecaries, Surgeons, Physicians and Other Medical Practitioners (LMA Information Leaflet 37)
- 'Sources: London Livery Companies', A Survey of Documentary Sources for Property Holding in London before the Great Fire: London Record Society, 22 (1985), pp. 12-36. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=64577 Date accessed: 03 January 2012.
- About London Apprenticeship Abstracts 1442-1850 (Wayback Machine), British Origins, accessed 31 December 2011.
- Belinda Griffin, 'Records of London's Livery Companies Online,' Family Tree Magazine, 21 June 2012, http://family-tree.co.uk/2012/06/records-of-londons-livery-companies-online/, accessed 22 June 2012.
- Cliff Webb, "Association Oath Rolls - Background to the Documents" (Wayback Machine), British Origins, accessed 3 January 2012.
- Joseph Foster, The Register of Admissions to Gray's Inn, 1521-1889, Together with the Register of Marriages in Gray's Inn Chapel, 1695-1754 (London: The Hansard Publishing Union, Limited, 1889). Digitized by Google Books.
- The Records of the Honorable Society of Lincoln's Inn. Vol. I. Admissions from A.D. 1420 to A.D. 1799 (Lincoln's Inn, 1896). Digitized by Google Books.
- H.A.C. Sturgess, Register of Admissions to the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple (from the Fifteenth Century to 1944). 3 vols. (Butterworth and Co., 1949).
- Charles Henry Hopwood, Middle Temple Records (London: Butterworth and Co., 1904). Digitized by Google Books.