Thursday 16 August 2012

UK, Articles of Clerkship, 1756-1874

Ancestry ( has added a new database entitled UK, Articles of Clerkship, 1756-1874. From the site:

This database contains records associated with articles of clerkship for young men apprenticed to attorneys for the years 1756–1874.

Historical Background

The articles of clerkship referenced in these records were contracts between an apprentice clerk, who wanted to become an attorney or solicitor, and an attorney who agreed to train the clerk for the profession.

The contracts were often entered into by fathers (or other sponsors) on their sons’ behalf, with terms typically lasting 5–7 years.

What You May Find in These Records

This database includes two different types of records associated with articles of clerkship.
The first are affidavits of due execution. These are essentially letters or depositions stating that the terms of the clerkship have been completed. They will typically list the following details:
  • clerk’s name, parish, and town
  • clerk’s father’s name
  • name of the attorney to whom the clerk was bound
  • name of person swearing to the affidavit
  • date of the affidavit
  • term of clerkship

The second are registers recording articles of clerkship and affidavits. These may include the following details:
  • clerk’s name and residence
  • clerk’s father’s name and residence
  • attorney’s name and residence
  • name of person swearing to the affidavit
  • dates of articles (when sworn, filed, read in court)

COMMENT: There is some additional information on the collection at

In terms of the geographic location of those listed, I have come across entries from people resident in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and Dublin, although the returns are overwhelmingly English. However, forget about trying to use the "Lived In" box to narrow returns, as this field seems to be next to useless. If seeking to narrow by a place, use the "Keyword" box instead - though probably best to search by name only and to work your way through the returns, or to browse through the documents as you would at an archive.

UPDATE: I've read a couple of comments about the images being unavailable to see. It does look at present as if the images are not being returned for entries following a name search, but I have been able to browse the collections OK using the year lists on the right of the page. If there's a problem, try browsing the relevant year once you've identified the date for an entry in a search.


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