This guide was last updated in 2011
The process of becoming an apprentice involved being 'bound' to your master for normally a period of seven years.
Most boys would be bound at the age of 14 years and the 'binding' agreement created a document called indentures. A great bonus of these indentures is that they could include baptism details of the apprentice.
Records of apprentices can be found in various places:
Apprentices of Great Britain, 1710 – 1774
During this time the Inland Revenue placed a tax on some indentures made (depending on the trade). The original records are held at TNA but they can be searched on both www.ancestry.co.uk and www.findmypast.co.uk.
More information relating to what these records contain can be found on The National Archives website.
– www.findmypast.co.uk has a further selection of apprenticeship records for Lincolnshire, Manchester and Somerset amongst other regions.
• This website has placed a collection of London apprenticeship records from 1442 – 1850 online.