Find your ancestors in Scotland, Edinburgh Apprentices 1583-1800

Did your ancestors learn or practice their trade in the city of Edinburgh? Discover details of their work and training in this collection of records of apprentices and masters.

Agreements between a master and apprentice (also known as an indentures) enable a less experienced person to gather the skills required for a career in a new trade or craft. Informal indentures (where someone trained with their father or a close family member) were common, which are rarely recorded. For those that exist on record, these documents are a great way to find the place of origin of those who move to the city and later set down roots.

The life of an apprentice was completely dependent on the master that took them on and what they were to be taught was not specified (some masters spent very little time with their new charges and gave them only menial tasks to complete, rather than developing their skills). Apprentices relied on their masters for food, shelter and clothing. During their years of training, they were forbidden to marry, gamble or visit public houses.

Upon completion of their apprenticeship, the individual would be eligible for joining a guild of burgesses, of which other records may exist.