The Apprentice Registers of The Wiltshire Society 1817-1922 edited by H.R. Henly Volume 51 of the Wiltshire Record Society, 53 Clarendon Road, Trowbridge, Wilts BA14 7BS. 1997. xxii, 192 pp. Indices. Hardcover.

The modern Wiltshire Society was formed in May 1817 in London. The stated purpose of the charitable organization was to apprentice the children of deserving poor belonging to the county of Wiltshire who resided in London. In 1859 the rules were changed to admit children actually residing in Wiltshire.

Between 1817 and 1922 there were 1006 apprentices who benefited from the organization. Each entry in the book provides some or all of the following details: serial number / entry number; apprentice name (surname, forenames); parents’ forenames (and surname, if different from the apprentice surname); parents’ address; master’s name; master’s occupation; master’s address; term of apprenticeship; premium; indenture date. The parents’ names and address, where given, have been taken from annual reports; other details, after 1830, are from the apprentice registers. Supplementary notes, in smaller type, follow many entries summarizing any additional information supplied in annual reports. All the places are in Wiltshire or London, unless otherwise indicated.

A typical entry reads: 431 Hutchins, William Christopher, son of John and Emma Elizabeth, of 34 Pell St., St. George’s in the East: to A. Ohlson, coppersmith etc., of 85 New Road, Whitechapel. 6+ yrs, £20. 21 Aug. 1872. In smaller type: Father, a carpenter from Trowbridge, is in delicate health, and his earnings are precarious. Apprentice is a brother to 391 and 508.

The appendices contain: 1823 Rules of the Wiltshire Society; Governors of the Wiltshire Society, 1817-1921; Past Presidents of the Wiltshire Society. There is a combined index of persons, places and companies, with a separate index for occupations.

As a researcher tracing back in time it is the country origins of the city resident that is often so difficult to locate. This is an excellent resource for Wiltshire ancestors in making that movement and putting the ancestor into context.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.2, 1999