The concept of apprenticeships have been around since the Middle Ages; an expert craftsman takes on a young worker in exchange for food, lodging and, as times have developed, money. When stamp duty was payable on indentures of apprenticeships, the official records of apprentices were kept in England and Wales between 1710 and 1811.
You may not be able to locate records for common trades or other 18th century industries because informal indentures were completed with fathers often teaching their sons and nephews. Apprentice records can tell you the date of birth of the apprentice in question as well as the area that they were based in.
Online Apprentice Records
Apprenticeship books can be found online providing you are looking in the right places. With a little bit of research, they shouldn’t be difficult to locate. The apprenticeship books are divided into Town Registers (apprenticeships based in London) and Country Registers (everywhere else) depending on where the stamp duty was paid.
WORD OF WARNING: If the apprenticeship was in one of the home counties (counties that surround London) the duty may have been paid in London and so these duties would be in a London registry.
Paper Apprenticeship Records
You can find apprenticeship records at the National Archive at Kew; some of these apprenticeship records include apprenticeships records of the merchant navy, apprenticeship records in the admiralty and Poor Law union indexes and papers.
Find out if your Ancestor was an Apprentice
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