The following information is an extraction from a conference handout LIVERY COMPANY RECORDS & FURTHERING YOUR ANCESTRY, presented by Denise Mortorff, M.O.B., Retired Lecturer c.2009 at the 41st Annual Conference on Family History & Genealogy sponsored by the BYU Dept. of History, Family Search, etc. The information provided here is to familiarize researchers with such records and their value in studying family history. See also London Livery Company, Guild & Professional Organization Records Organized by Company/Guild/Profession and FREEDOM of the CITY & LONDON LIVERY COMPANIES

Livery Company Records

Livery company records can provide rich details of interest to the genealogist. Knowledge of the company organization, member roles and status, and the nature of records and their content will help clarify their value in family history. This information should be studied within the context of London and records about its residents and history as found in collections of the City of London Corporation, Guildhall, London Metropolitan Archive, Society of Genealogists, TNA The National Archives and the LDS Family Search Family History Library. Each has an on-line catalogue and in some cases searchable abstracts or digitized records available. Comparisons of holdings should be made for thorough record coverage and complete record access.

Company Information Each company has a governmental framework based on charters, ordinances, grants, etc. The Court of Assistants is the governing body and specific roles emerge for those who have progressed from an apprentice to freeman to livery member. Roles are mentioned throughout records so familiarization with them can be helpful in studying record content particularly as it relates to the nature of the contribution of one’s ancestors. Additional membership categories will be presented. Refer to websites of some company’s to also learn more.

Record Categories These form the basis of classification schemes in which records can be accessed from repositories. Knowledge of these categories will help narrow down record search choices.

General categories cover:

Using Livery Company Records

Livery Company Records

Non-Livery Company Apprenticeship Records & Related Resources

Non-Apprenticeship Records About London & Its Inhabitants


The following entries reflect the COMBS-COOMBS &c. members of London Livery Companies for which apprenticeship details could be found. These records are not a complete study however of London Livery Company members. Therefore, Livery Company and related record types mentioned above should be pursued further. Sources for records are derived from Cliff Webb’s published volumes on London Livery Company apprenticeship records. Each volume is noted and should be studied closely to appreciate the completeness, or lack thereof. NIL findings are noted.

On the average, Webb’s works stop on or about 1800, although in many cases there are additional company apprenticeship records extant in which there may be more COMBS-COOMBS and other members later than 1800. Also, each volume of interest should be studied further to understand which records were searched for evidence of apprenticeship and then can be compared to the holdings of Guildhall to understand what additional records may hold information about one’s ancestor. (Many of these records can be attained from a local LDS Family History Center.) Record limitations are also noted by Webb. Some volumes were not available and are noted accordingly on this page. It should be also noted Webb omitted details in some cases in which if very little information of a member was available in time prior to evidence of apprenticeship, the details were usually not extracted and recorded by Webb. This information should be pursued. When available, additional sources by the Livery Companies themselves were checked for member information and are cited below.