Boyd’s Inhabitants of London & Boyd’s Family Units

Percival Boyd would have loved the internet, he was a prolific indexer and produced the Boyd’s Marriage index and the lesser known, but as important Boyd’s Inhabitants of London and Boyd’s Family Units. I can imagine that if he was alive today he would be pleased to have his indexes available on the internet and I suspect he may have been quite a presence on the genealogy blogging scene!

What is Boyd’s Inhabitants of London?

Boyd’s Inhabitants of London are sheets that contain details of a family living in London, the sources for the information are varied and not always documented. The time period covered is generally 16th to 18th century.  The collection has in the region of 60,000 sheets, all handwritten.

As a source for family history Boyd’s Inhabitants of London are invaluable as they can link families outside of London with those who migrated to the city. It is well worth searching this collection even if you haven’t discovered any ancestors in London.

What is Boyd’s Family Units?

Boyd’s Family Units were designed by Percival Boyd to be an extension to Inhabitants of London, it comprises of a further 10,00 sheets with families coming from a wider geographical area. The two collections have been amalgamated by FindMyPast into one index which contains over half a million names as more than one person is named on each sheet. The time period covered is lengthier than the Inhabitants of London, 14th to 20th century.

Where are the Boyd’s Inhabitants of London & Boyd’s Family Units?

The original sheets are in the care of the Society of Genealogists, London, but have been scanned, indexed and placed online by FindMyPast.

What can you expect to find on Boyd’s Inhabitants of London & Boyd’s Family Units?

Each Boyd’s Inhabitants of London sheet starts with a man who often, but not always, was a citizen of London, it has the parish in which he is living also it may, or may not, have his wife’s name and the date and place of marriage, his parents details, his children’s names and dates of baptism, his occupations and other such notes that may have been found on the documents consulted to make up the sheet.

The Boyd’s Family Units sheets can start with a man who has links with England, he may be living anywhere worldwide. they then have similar details noted as the Inhabitants of London. The British Empire countries are well represented here as well as America, this makes this a valuable collection for those who have ancestors who have left England to make their fortunes elsewhere.

As both of these collections are fully indexed they are easily searched so really it would be worth while for anyone to enter their family names in the search box.

Below is an example of a sheet from Boyd’s Inhabitants of London, it is for Matthew Pottinger an ancestor of mine who I had no reason to think had left rural Berkshire to establish a business in London. The sheets mentions his will in which he named his brother John & his wife Dorothy, his brother Nicholas & his wife Dorothy and their son Richard and his sister Mary. This was enough information to make me surmise that this Matthew was “my” Matthew. A copy of London Matthew’s will confirmed that he was indeed mine. The clincher was his bequest of monies for the poor of his home parish of Compton in Berkshire. What wasn’t mentioned in the Boyd’s sheet was that he left the majority of his estate to his maid servant this must have surprised his seemingly very conventional farming family!

Boyd’s Inhabitants of London

Below is an example of one of the Boyd’s Family Units sheets. This is for Richard Pyott who was from Staffordshire and names his wife, her parents, their children and their spouses, his occupation, reference numbers of wills for both Richard and his wife and a description of his arms. Valuable information for those researching the Pyott family history.


Thanks must go to the memory of Percival Boyd who worked so long and diligently to provide the genealogical world with such valuable indexes.

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