16 August 2012

Ancestry adds UK Articles of Clerkship, 1756-1874

A database of 49,371 records associated with articles of clerkship for young men apprenticed to attorneys for the years 1756–1874.

The source is Court of King's Bench: Plea Side: Affidavits of Due Execution of Articles of Clerkship, Series I, II, III. The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey; and Registers of Articles of Clerkship and Affidavits of Due Execution. The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

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)

Don't despair if you find you had ancestors disreputable enough to become lawyers!

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