Tracing Watermen or Lightermen ancestors

For research enquiries about your Watermen or Lightermen ancestors, please make your initial enquiry by email to [email protected]

Watermen’s Hall does not have the facilities to accommodate individual research.  A small charge is made for our research service, currently £30 for a straightforward genealogy enquiry, one surname.  This charge benefits the Company’s charities.

Please supply as much detail as you can, full name/s and at least approximate year/s of birth is a good starting point.  If you know where on the River Thames they were from, this will help, especially in the case of a common surname.

The information recorded by the Company is the apprentice’s name, date bound (as an apprentice to the Company), place, master’s name and the date if/when he gained his Freedom of the Company.

Further information is unlikely to be available,  unless the individual was involved in a significant event, in which case you would need to provide an approximate date as the Court Minute Books are not indexed.  An additional charge may be made for searching these, depending on the amount of time taken.

The Company does not  hold records of  employment on the River or family trees, although it is often possible to trace additional generations if apprentices were mastered by a family member.

Please note that we can supply information in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

Our earlier records, prior to c. 1890, are held at the Guildhall Library in the City of London.  The Guildhall Library offers free access to these and various other records of interest to genealogists, plus internet and wi-fi access.

The Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, London EC2V 7HH
Tel: 020 7332 1868 / 1870  [email protected]

The Society of Genealogists has published a booklet entitled “My Ancestors were Watermen – A Guide to Tracing Your Watermen & Lightermen Ancestors’” by James W Legon, currently out of print but second hand copies might be found on the internet.