Family history & biographical research
Information about individual members is based on Annual Returns of members compiled by individual lodges and sent to Grand Lodge. The earliest such Returns date from about 1768. These were used to create registers of members grouped by their membership of a lodge. There is no complete alphabetical index of members. Membership Registers cannot be made available to individuals to conduct their own researches due to the conservation needs of the records although Membership Registers from 1768 to 1886 are available in digital format for public use at the Library and Museum.
There are some lists of members for periods from 1723 found in the minute books of Grand Lodge. These are transcribed and indexed in Volume X of Quatuor Coronatorum Antigrapha (Class Mark: A31 QUA fol)
The type of information normally recorded in the membership registers are age, address and occupation and date of joining the lodge. The records do not contain any personal details regarding date of birth or marriage, details of family members or change of address. The records of the United Grand Lodge of England cover England and Wales and certain overseas areas now forming part of the Commonwealth. There are separate Grand Lodges for Scotland, Ireland, France and other European countries. In the USA there are separate Grand Lodges for each state. The Library and Museum can advise of contact details for other countries. Alternatively most of these addresses can be found via the website of the United Grand Lodge of England at www.ugle.org.uk (external website opens in a new window) in the section Information for Freemasons.
Returns of members made by lodges to the local Clerk of the Peace under the Unlawful Societies Act from 1799 to 1965 are generally held at local record offices and are not available at the Library and Museum.
Requests for family history and genealogical information are available upon application to the Library and Museum.
Tips to help your research
Download our Information Sheet About Freemasonry and Family History (pdf) for additional help before making a search request.
My Ancestor was a Freemason (external website opens in a new window) by Pat Lewis. Published by the Society of Genealogists. 2005. £5.95. Available from good book shops, the Society of Genealogists or online from the Library and Museum Shop at www.letchworthshop.co.uk (see Publications/History) (external website opens in a new window)
Request for information
An initial search fee of £30 per name is payable where no lodge name or number is known (not refundable in the event of a negative result). (This fee is £15 per name for members of the United Grand Lodge of England).
If a lodge name or number is known this enquiry service is free of charge.