When it comes to family history, London is definitely a special case. To have a realistic chance of finding ancestors in most other parts of the UK, you need to have some sort of local connection. With the capital, though, it’s worth anybody searching the records – because so many people owned businesses or second houses in the City, or moved there in search of a better life.

Our latest London release will help you discover the most prominent people in all kinds of occupations and trades – across more than 200 years. It also gives you a remarkable insight into an ongoing capital tradition.

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London Freedom of the City Admission Papers, 1681-1925, reveals almost 600,000 men and women who were given one of the City’s most prestigious titles. These Freemen were allowed to vote in civic elections, drive livestock over London Bridge, and even carry a naked sword in public!

More importantly, becoming a Freeman gave you an elevated standing within all kinds of occupations. From constables and aldermen to merchants and stonemasons, people from all walks of life benefitted from this exclusive status.

Find relatives among our Freemen, and you’ll discover intimate details about their lives. You may also find information about the people that taught them their trades – effectively giving them the chance to earn a decent living.

And remember, even if your family didn’t live in London, there’s a good chance they may have moved there to take advantage of the opportunities only the capital could offer.

Search the records now