If you have ancestors in and around the city of London in the 17th century you’ll be pleased to learn that a transcription of the Association Oath Rolls of 1696 have been added to the Origins Network’s online database. It contains the names of over 21,000 members of 77 Livery Companies.

King William III of England

Oath Rolls are registers recording the names of the adult men who swore allegiance to the Crown, which in practice meant most men (and many women) because the consequence of not swearing allegiance was likely to be arrest and custody. The 1696 Roll was inspired by a discovery of a plot to assassinate King William III and required oath-takers to acknowledge William III as the rightful and lawful king of England. Because it includes the names of most adult males it is can serve as a sort of late 17th century census – very useful.

The original Oaths of Allegiance for 1696 are mainly held at the National Archives at Kew, although some are at local archives. As the Rolls do not survive for all areas, check that your area’s rolls exist before going to the relevant archive office. Of course, if your area of interest is the City of London you won’t have to see the originals now.