Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


National Archives Scotland

CRAFTS AND TRADES Craft guilds or incorporations were formed in the Middle Ages and were an important part of burghlife then and in later centuries. Each craft jealously guarded its own monopolies and standards ofworkmanship, acquired property to raise funds, provided for its own poor, shared the patronage ofan altar to its patron saint in pre-Reformation times and a seat in the Kirk after the Reformation.Where records survive they are likely to include lists of members, accounts and minutes dealing withregulations, donations to poor members, apprenticeships and elections of officeholders and actionsagainst outsiders trying to trade in the burgh.

The Scottish Association of Family History Societies has published a useful selective bibliographyof Scottish Trades and Professions, compiled by D R Torrance (1991).RECORDS IN THE NASIn addition to the sources identified below, you should also check the CLIO textbase of private records,available in the Historical Search Room, and the records of testaments when searching for individualcraftsmen.Baxters: Haddington, 1582 -1684 [B30/18/1]Bonnetmakers: Stewarton, 1673-1790 [GD1/300]Carters: Leith, 1657-1977 [GD399]Cordiners: Canongate, 1584 -1773, 1843-52 [GD1/14]; Edinburgh, 1477/8 – 20th century [GD348];Haddington, 1605 – 1755 [B30/18/2] and 1610 -1882 [GD302/62-6, 128-9]; Selkirk, 1535-1888[GD1/13]Dyers /Litsters: Aberdeen, c1654 -1886 [E870/4]Fleshers: Ayr, c1661-1891 [E870/6]; Haddington, 1741-1836 [B30/18/3]Goldsmiths: Edinburgh and Glasgow, 1525 -1964 [GD1/482]Hammermen: Burntisland, 1648 -1741[B9/13/2]; Haddington, 1627-1868 [GD302/29, 130-6]; Linlithgow,[GD76/390]; Musselburgh, 1761-1821 [B52/8/4-6 and B52/14/67]; Perth, 1568-1916 [GD1/427]Maltmen: Dysart, 17c \ 75]Skinners: Haddington, 1682-1801 [GD1/39/3/1]; transcript of sederunt book, 1745-71 [GD302/100]Tailors: Edinburgh, 1446-1881 [GD1/12/1-68]; Potterow, Edinburgh, 1551-1696 [GD1/399]; Linlithgow,1625-1847[GD76/385-9]; Dunbar, 1866-7 [GD302/90]Weavers: Ayr, c1657-1849 [E870/5]; Burntisland, 1618 -1864 [B9/15]; Haddington, 1786 -1852[B30/18/9]Wrights: Culross, 1815 – 42 [GD1/977]; Musselburgh, 1574 – c.1883 [B52/8/1-3]Wrights and Masons: Haddington, 1533-1915 [B30/18/4-8 and B30/22] ; Leith, 1821-35 [GD1/943].For details of records of masons and freemasons see David Stevenson, The First Freemasons (1988)Appendix 2.NAS FACTSHEETCRAFTS AND TRADES 01
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Incorporations of crafts: Dunfermline, 1593-1656 [B20/20/4]; Haddington, 1758-9 [GD98/15/48];Linlithgow guildry, 1652-1959 [GD1/634]; Selkirk, 1717-1824 [B68/8/1]Other mutual benefit societies:Society of Free Fishermen of Newhaven, 1572-1990 [GD265]Ancient Fraternity of Free Gardeners of East Lothian, 1676-1940 [GD420]Minute Book of the Woolcombers Society, 1755-9 [CS96/1943]The NAS also holds microfilm of the following:-Brechin tailors minutebook, 1660-1775 (original in Angus Archives) [RH4/140]-Edinburgh Hammermen charters, 1501-1686 (original in Edinburgh City Archives) [RH4/11]-Inverness Hammermen minutebook, 1690 – 1861 (original now lost) [RH4/94].BURGH RECORDSThe Scottish Record Society has published indexed lists of admissions of burgesses of Edinburgh,Canongate, Glasgow and Dumbarton (see Scottish Texts and Calendars published by the ScottishHistory Society for details). For other burghs you will need to search the burgess rolls or court booksof the appropriate burgh, many of which are held in local archives. Burgh court books also containa great deal of information relating to the regulation of crafts. For further information on burgh recordsyou should consult our publication Tracing Scottish Local History (HMSO, 1994)APPRENTICESHIP RECORDSSome indentures are registered in the Register of Deeds, others are scattered among collectionsof private papers. There is also a series of Edinburgh indentures at RH9/17/272-326 covering theperiod 1613-1783. Other Edinburgh apprenticeship records can be found in the papers of GeorgeHeriot’s Trust, relating to the charity school set up for orphans and poor children of burgesses andfreemen (GD421/10). The Scottish Record Society has published lists of Edinburgh apprentices forthe period 1583 – 1755.From 1710 stamp duty was charged on indentures. Records of Scottish apprentices survive in theStamp Board’s Apprenticeship Books, 1710-1811 kept by the Public Record Office in London [PROref: IR1].FRIENDLY SOCIETIES AND TRADE UNIONSFriendly societies were formed in the 18th and 19th centuries for the mutual benefit of the members.Rules and regulations of trade associations, friendly societies, unions, co-operative and buildingsocieties are to be found in the Friendly Society records [FS]. These range from the Brotherly Societyof Coopers of Leith to the Tranent Benevolent Society of Colliers, and the Inverness Cabmen’s Union.A very few also give a list of members. The records are listed in Ian MacDougall’s, A Catalogue ofsome Labour Records in Scotland (Scottish Labour History Society, 1978). Friendly Society recordsfor Free Church ministers can be found in CH3/515-517.Records relating to early trade union activity can be found in criminal court records – for example,JC26/ 250 relates to the trial of James Granger charged with entering into a combination to raisethe wages of weavers, 1788; records seized from the Scottish Weavers Association of 1808-13 arein the papers of the Lord Advocate’s Department in preparation for the trial of a number of its membersin 1813 [AD14/13/8]. For more information on criminal cases, go to our fact sheet on Crime andCriminals.NAS FACTSHEETCRAFTS AND TRADES 02
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SOURCES HELD ELSEWHEREYou should check with the National Library of Scotland, local archives, libraries and museums fortheir holdings of craft records. For example, the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh holds therecords of the Society of Barbers from 1716. Check the surveys of the National Register of Archives(Scotland): NRA(S)] available at West Register House or search the National Register of Archiveson-line index []The Scottish Record Association has produced a series of useful datasheets detailing records heldlocally. Copies may be purchased at the NAS or by writing to Robin Urquhart at the NAS.NAS FACTSHEETCRAFTS AND TRADES 02

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