Boyd’s Inhabitants of London and Boyd’s Family Units form a collection of 70,000 handwritten sheets each containing details of a London family, mostly covering the period of 16th to 18th centuries though extending from the 13th until well into the 20th centuries.

Compiled by Percival Boyd from a miscellany of sources, these extraordinary sheets are one of the Society of Genealogists’ most valuable holdings, and provide one of the key sources for researchers into London families.

Each sheet is based upon a man who in the case of the Inhabitants of London was usually, but not always, a citizen of London. A sheet typically shows as a minimum the name of the man, the parish where he lived in London, and the date of his marriage. But many sheets show far more information, which can include: names of father and mother: names of mother’s parents: wife’s name and place she was living at the time of marriage; date and place of birth; date and place of death; date and place of marriage; notes on education and occupation; a note regarding the person’s will; children’s names, dates of birth/baptism, marriage & to whom.

The Family Units sheets can be based on a man from almost anywhere in the world, but who had close links to Britain; there are many families from the USA, from all parts of the British Isles – Scotland and Ireland as well as all over England and Wales, and all over the former British Empire. Because of the wide geographic and long time period covered by these collections, they should be searched by every researcher whose family is linked to the UK, wherever the family settled.

On average an Inhabitants of London sheet contains the names of 6-7 people; the Family Units sheets contain on average the names of over 12 people. Well over half a million names appearing in the sheets are included in the person index, so you can search on a person’s name, and optionally a year, and then view the pages containing references to that person. If you are lucky, you may then find information on a dozen or more other people related by blood or marriage to the one you searched for.

Percival Boyd continued his work on Boyd’s Inhabitants of London with a further, identically formatted set of records covering families from all of the British Isles and abroad. This set of records, Boyd’s Family Units, contains just over 10,000 hand-written sheets, each dealing with a single family. His introduction to the first (of 34) volumes states that that "this … volume consists almost entirely of, (1) the families of members of the Drapers Company of London, (2) Family Bibles from Vol.XII of Crisps Fragmenta Genealogica. He felt that "It should be possible to amplify many of these sheets as the years go by." Sadly, perhaps, this did not happen, but what Percival Boyd and his collaborators have left is a further exceptionally rich source for the family historian.

On average, a Family Units sheet contains the names of over 12 people, though, like the Inhabitants of London sheets, this number varies greatly. The index to the Family Units (which is combined with that for the Inhabitants of London) contains the names of over 137,000 people, and covers the period 16th to early 20th centuries.

To search these records, visit the Origins website where you will find Boyd’s Inhabitants of London & Boyd’s Family Units in the SoG datasets section.

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