Freemasonry records revealed for the first time

By Jon Bauckham, 26 November 2015 - 6:14pm

Two new collections of records now available to explore on Ancestry provide details of men that belonged to masonic lodges across England, Wales, Ireland and beyond

Freemasons' Hall in London, headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England (Credit: Alamy)

Records of over two million practising Freemasons dating back to the 18th century have been uploaded to Ancestry.co.uk.

Launched on Monday (23 November), the latest two collections to join the site feature records digitised from membership registers held at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry in London and the Grand Lodge of Freemasons in Dublin.

Spanning 1751-1921, the larger of the two datasets names men that belonged to the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), which still acts as the governing body for Freemasonry in England, Wales and several countries overseas.

The second collection, which covers the period 1733-1923, provides details of Freemasons belonging to masonic lodges across the 32 historic counties of Ireland, including those that were attached to British Army Regiments in the country.

Searching the records can reveal the date of birth and occupation of a Freemason ancestor, as well as the name and number of the lodge that they belonged to.

Among the famous names included in the release is that of author Oscar Wilde, who can be found listed as a member of the Apollo University Lodge in Oxford following his initiation ceremony on 23 February 1875.

“We’re delighted to be able to offer people an online window into a relatively unknown organisation,” said Ancestry’s senior UK content manager Miriam Silverman.

“Whilst we can’t reveal the inner workings of Freemason ceremonies, what we can tell you is the details of over two million historic members.”

Both collections can be searched together here (requires subscription)

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