Freema­sonry records re­vealed on Ances­try

His­toric reg­is­ters pro­vid­ing the names of Freema­sons in Eng­land, Wales, Ire­land and fur­ther afield have been made avail­able on­line for the first time

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De­tails of more than two mil­lion prac­tis­ing Freema­sons dat­ing back to the 18th cen­tury have been up­loaded to the web for the first time. Com­pris­ing two sep­a­rate datasets, the new

ances­try.co.uk records have been digi­tised from mem­ber­ship reg­is­ters held at the Li­brary and Mu­seum of Freema­sonry in Lon­don and the Grand Lodge of Freema­sons in Dublin.

Fully search­able and ac­com­pa­nied by a scan of the orig­i­nal reg­is­ter page, the en­tries can re­veal the date of birth and res­i­dence of a Freema­son an­ces­tor, as well as the name of the lodge that they be­longed to.

The larger of the two col­lec­tions lists men who joined lodges af­fil­i­ated with the United Grand Lodge of Eng­land (UGLE), which still acts as the gov­ern­ing body for Freema­sonry in Eng­land, Wales and a num­ber of coun­tries over­seas.

Span­ning 1751-1921, the col­lec­tion in­cludes nov­el­ist Os­car Wilde, who can be found listed as a mem­ber of the Apollo Univer­sity Lodge in Ox­ford, among other fa­mous fig­ures.

As well as pro­vidingidi hi­his fful­lll name – “Os­carO O’Fla­her­tie Wills Wilde” – the page also shows that The Pic­ture of Do­rian Grayy au­thor was ini­ti­ated into the lodge on 23 Fe­bru­ary 1875.

The se­cond col­lec­tion, which cov­ers the pe­riod 1733-1923, of­fers de­tails of Freema­sons be­long­ing to ma­sonic lodges across the 32 his­toric coun­ties of Ire­land, in­clud­ing those at­tached to mili­tia and Bri­tish Army reg­i­ments in the coun­try.

In­ter­est­ingly, this smaller re­lease con­tains de­tails of Os­car Wilde’s father, renowned sur­geon Sir Wil­liam Wilde, who in­tro­duced his son to Freema­sonry in their na­tive Ire­land.

Al­though many Freema­sons were wealthy and well-con­nected like the Wildes, anal­y­sis of the oc­cu­pa­tions noted down in the reg­is­ters re­veals that mem­ber­ship was ac­tu­ally more di­verse than might have been ex­pected. In ad­di­tion to 14,882 ‘gen­tle­men’, the fra­ter­nal or­gan­i­sa­tion also ini­ti­ated hun­dreds of en­gi­neers, clerks and farm­ers, plus one ‘cloth shrinker’.

“As Freema­sonry ap­proaches its 300th birth­day in 2017, we are pleased to be able to pro­vide ac­cess to de­tails of past mem­bers,” said Diane Cle­ments, di­rec­tor of the Li­brary and Mu­seum of Freema­sonry. “The records show the in­volve­ment Freema­sons have had in so­ci­ety at na­tional and lo­cal level, and I hope they will pro­vide a fas­ci­nat­ing in­sight.”

Ances­try’s Miriam Sil­ver­man added that the ge­neal­ogy com­pany was “de­lighted to be able to of­fer peo­ple an on­line win­dow into a rel­a­tively un­known or­gan­i­sa­tion”.

The records show the in­volve­ment of Freema­sons at a lo­cal and na­tional level

Os­car Wilde be­longed to the Apollo Univer­sity Lodge in Ox­ford

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