The Society’s CDs include (almost complete) transcripts and overall indexes to ‘The Bristol Apprentice Books’ for the period from 1532 to 2009. It is a companion to our Bristol Burgess Books CD.
For several years a team of Society members worked at Bristol Archives every Thursday, transcribing and indexing The Bristol Apprentice Books. There are 26 such books, of which the first 14 are in Latin. The latter were obviously a greater challenge for the transcribers in that transcription had to be accompanied by translations. However it should be noted that 19th and 20th century company apprenticeships are not included.
The Apprentice Books of Bristol are very strongly linked with the Burgess Books of Bristol. Only Burgesses, the Freemen of the City, were entitled and obliged to take on Apprentices. Serving an apprenticeship to a Freeman was one of the ways in which an individual could himself (or herself) in turn become a Freeman. Not all Freemen would have served apprenticeships, and not all those who served apprenticeships went on to be admitted to the freedom of the City.
Many of the individual books already had their own contemporaneous partial index with surnames sorted by initial letter but then listed chronologically for each initial letter. If you wanted to search the whole series for a particular surname then all 26 indexes would have to be checked individually. The usefulness of the original indexes was also limited by the fact that prior to 1764, the books were indexed by the Master’s surname, whereas after 1764, the books were indexed by the apprentice’s surname.
Our CDs offer all the advantages of having overall indexes for all the books;