The amount of information in each can vary, but most will include the following:
Court entry date
Birth place and county
Former archiver reference – these records were formerly held at the Guildhall Archives
Current archive reference
The Company of Watermen was created in 1555 during the reign of Queen Mary. The company worked from Gravesend in Berkshire and Windsor in Kent. An apprenticeship system was established from the beginning. At the start the apprenticeship would take one year, but in 1603 this was extended to seven years. Generally apprentices would be between the age of 14 and 20. If an individual’s father was a waterman, then apprenticeship could start before the age of 18 otherwise, apprenticeship would start after 18.
As an apprentice, an individual would be bound to a master and then taught the skill of piloting a boat on the River Thames. A master would be responsible for the apprentice’s training, housing, clothing and food. In order to start an apprenticeship, a proof of age such as a birth certificate or baptism certificate needed to be produced. This database recorded the date that the proof was submitted to the court and the individual’s birth date. These were all presented to the court between 1865 and 1921. Birth place was also recorded. Many were born in the London area, but some can be found from further afield in Liverpool, Dublin, Guernsey and even Norway and India. The records were previously held at the Guildhall Archives but it now housed at the London Metropolitan Archives.
Transcripts were created and reproduced on Findmypast with permission from Docklands Ancestors Ltd.