any of us may know that our father or grandfather was a freemason. The family may still have their regalia (aprons or sashes) or jewels (medals and badges). Further back, there may also be stories of membership of a local Masonic Lodge, but with no proof.
Traditionally, freemasonry is thought of as being shrouded in mystery and secrecy so even the most intrepid researcher may have been put off from searching deeper. But the records now available are copious and becoming easier to access, proving to be a rich vein of information for genealogists.
The first authoritative listing of all the lodges established by the English Grand Lodges, from the foundation of the first Grand
Masonic Records 1717-1894 lodges that came into existence after 1894. The latest online version of Masonic Records is published by the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Sheffield ( hrionline. ac.uk/lane). George Draffen’s