07/05/2019
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Did your Scottish ancestors become masters of their trade? 64,000 records added to Scotland Burgess & Guild Brethren Index

bc8011fb-ed93-411c-8d4b-43377b4ed0bc

More than 64,000 records spanning 650 years of trading have been added to FindMyPast's burgess & guild brethren index.

Each of the transcripts reveals a combination of the person's occupation or trade, dates, locations and notable life events.

Medieval & early Scottish burghs

Medieval and early Scottish burghs were controlled by a minority of residents known as burgesses. The burgesses were merchants and craftsmen of the burgh, they had the right to elect the Town Council, and the merchants were more influential.

The other residents of the burgh were 'unfree' and had no vote of special privileges from living in a town. Affluent householders such as chamberlains and lawyers were often 'unfreemen', although many were awarded the status of burgess 'gratis', this conferred citizenship but little else. Widows who were respectable, may also be awarded this citizenship. Becoming a burgess was viewed as the key to social position, it was evidence of economic success within the community.

Becoming a burgess

There were several ways in which a person could become a burgess. They could pay a fee and prove that their name was listed in the town’s apprenticeship books. If a son’s father was a burgess, they could pay a smaller fee and serve a shorter apprenticeship than the sons of a non-burgess. A son-in-law of a Burgess was able to avail himself of the same privilege.

If a person has served their apprenticeship outside the town, they generally had to pay a substantial amount for the title, the Towns Council carefully vetted those individuals with regard to their 'moral and financial credentials'.

What information is on the records?

Each record includes a transcript of the original record. While the amount of detail will vary between transcripts, most will include a combination the following details:

  • Name

  • Year

  • Date

  • Place

  • Occupation and trades

  • Details of close relations

  • Notable life events

  • Collection

Start exploring

Explore the records at FindMyPast (n.b. whilst searching is free you will need a FindMyPast subscription to access the full records).

QUICK LINK: Did your ancestor sign the Declaration of Arbroath?

 

Image copyright Rijks Museum

Back to "Family History" Category

07/05/2019 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Joan of England was born - On this day in Scottish history

Joan of England, the wife of King Alexander II of Scotland, was born on 22 July 1210. ...


Robert Burns died - On this day in Scottish history

Find out about the death of Scottish poet Robert Burns, who died on 21 July 1796 on this day in Scottish ...


Geologist John Playfair died - On this day in Scottish history

On 20 July 1819, Scottish geologist John Playfair died. ...


Scottish author A J Cronin was born - On this day in history

Scottish author A J Cronin was born on 19 July 1896. ...


Other Articles

Was Aberdeen the birthplace of Scotch whisky? Exciting new 16th-century find

Historians have uncovered the earliest ever reference to a still for distilling Scotch whisky which suggests ...


Actor John Stuart was born - On this day in history

Scottish actor John Stuart was born on 18 July 1898. ...


17th-century gold armorial ring found at Loch Lomond to go to auction

A 17th-century gold armorial ring found by a metal detectorist who has also discovered a rare Richard III of ...


Large number of finds at battle of Waterloo site in dig led by Professor Tony Pollard, University of Glasgow

A team working at the Waterloo battlefield in Belgium have uncovered uniform buttons from the Scots Guards ...