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. . . to, the Family History Web Site of Docklands Ancestors Ltd. for those tracing their Docklands, East End and Thames Watermen & Lightermen Ancestors.

Parish Register Records on CDMy Ancestors Were Thames Watermen. Books of interest.Watermen and Lightermen

This website is run by family historians for family historians. We specialize in transcribing London's parish registers and our aim is to transcribe them all. Our other passion is the river Thames, London's Docks and in particular the Company of Watermen and Lightermen. We have collected much of interest, to inform and delight, on these pages. We hope you enjoy them!


We are constantly updating the information on our website, and adding thousands of new records to our existing and new databases. To allow you to keep up with the latest news we work hard to produce a Newsletter, which we try to make as informative, useful, interesting, and sometimes amusing (so we are told by some of our readers!) as possible. We also review the latest family history titles from leading publishers. Look out too for our special offers, many of which are exclusive to our Newsletter subscribers.

To receive your free Newsletter please enter your email address below, and then simply fill out the very small, simple form on the next page. Rest assured that we never pass on your email address to other companies. We send out one Newsletter per month. Remember to notify us if you change your email address!

Previous Newsletters can be viewed on our Newsletter Archive page. Click here to have a look.

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Please rest assured that and Docklands Ancestors Ltd. will NEVER pass your details onto any third party and by 'subscribing' you are giving permission SOLELY to and Docklands Ancestors Ltd. to contact you using the details provided.


In 2001 we began the mammoth task of transcribing London's parish registers. This was because of the poor coverage given to the East End by the IGI and our frustration at the lack of records available online. Having spent almost 6 months travelling to the London Metropolitan Archives researching our family history, we thought there had to be a better way of accessing parish register archives.

Our efforts thus far have seen much of Tower Hamlets registers transcribed and a few from Southwark too. These records are available for you to search in two different formats: Online database search and CD-ROMs.


Search online allows you to search for your ancestors in each individual parish. It is free to search and you have the option of searching by surname only or with a forename. You will then be presented with a list of all the matches within the database. You then have the option of viewing the detailed entries, which are instantly displayed on screen and also automatically emailed to you. This costs £3.50 per database (£3.95 for Merchant Taylor's searches).

Our databases contain entry-by-entry detailed transcriptions, recording ALL of the information found in the original registers and not just scanned images. Click here to view a typical entry.

Parish Registers on CD-ROM are also available for each parish. They are in easily searchable Adobe Acrobat format and indexed alphabetically. The years given on the CDs do not run from 1st January to 31st December, so if you want the exact start and finish dates for any specific CD then please enquire. If you are searching for many names or variations, they represent excellent value for money, priced at just £7.95 or £8.95. Be sure to have a look at our Special Offer CDs which offer even better value for money.


If you have ancestors who worked on the river Thames as watermen or Lightermen, you have come to the right place! We have waterman ancestors too and as a result of researching our family history we have assembled an unrivalled collection of material. Most of this material is available for you to enjoy, completely free of charge. Naturally we also stock every published source of waterman material (indeed James transcribed half of them!).

The Waterman & Lighterman page hosts a wealth of interesting and useful material: Book extracts, a Picture Gallery, interviews with Lightermen, free databases, useful links, articles as well as sections on the history of the Company of Watermen and advice on how to trace your waterman family history.

We actively encourage our visitors to contribute articles and images, helping us to preserve and disseminate our proud waterman heritage.

Waterman publications can be found in our Shop by clicking here. The recommended starting point in tracing your ancestors is the Apprenticeship Bindings Indexes 1692-1908, transcribed by our friend and colleague Rob Cottrell, and also the book written by this site's James Legon, My Ancestors were Thames Watermen.

Waterman Hoy!


Browse our Shop pages for products to enhance your family history research. Books, maps, census and directory CDs all help to put the ‘flesh on the bones’ of your research. We specialize in products with a distinctly London flavour, as well as being the leading publisher of original Parish Register and Waterman material.

We are specialist suppliers of books about London and family history. In our Bookshop you will find over 500 titles in categories such as the East End, London History, the River Thames, Docklands, London Transport, Watermen & Lightermen, London Fiction, London Guide Books and London in Archive Photography. Please click here to browse our bookshop.

All our products are usually ‘in stock’ items and we aim to despatch orders ‘same day’. Whether you choose to pay securely online with WorldPay or by popping a cheque in the post, rest assured that you can order in complete confidence.

We stock publications from leading UK publishers, including Alan Godfrey Maps, London Topographical Society, and Robert Cottrell Publications (Trueflare Ltd).

Whatever your interest, from original parish register transcriptions to Census records, Docklands & River Thames history, Thames Watermen & Lightermen, military & occupational records, you are sure to find much of interest. Secure online payment facilities are available, as well as mail order.

Featuring the Apprenticeships Bindings Index of the Company of Watermen & Lightermen by Robert Cottrell, the Thames Riverside & Medway Index of 97 Thames & Medway Parishes as well as the Docklands Ancestor Series. All available on microfiche and CD. We also stock the excellent Alan Godfrey Old Ordnance Survey Map series.


Know someone who would like to see this site? Click here to e-mail details to a friend.

James Legon, the founder of Docklands Ancestors and sustained a serious heart attack and on the morning of 17th September 2008 sadly passed away.

The information on this website, together with James' book My Ancestors were Thames Watermen', stand as a testament to James' research and knowledge in this area. He was very proud of having written the book and of it being published.

In accordance with James' wishes, business will continue under the leadership of his brother, Jonathan, together with the hard work of James' wife Yvonne, and the help of the Parish Register Team.


-A Passion For Family History-

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Selected Products
Ecclesiastical Map-County of London 1903
                                     London County Council Bomb Map 1939-1945
London County Council Bomb Map 1939-1945
                                     Merchant Taylors' Company Membership Index 1530 - 1928
Merchant Taylors' Company Membership Index 1530 - 1928
2 OFF Vol 1 St Peter, Limehouse address 1866-1903
Company of Watermen Compilation CD 1
Company of Watermen Compilation CD 1
Docklands Ancestors Compendium CD7: Vols  71-80
Docklands Ancestors Compendium CD7: Vols 71-80
Docklands Ancestors Compendium CD8: Vols 81-90
Docklands Ancestors Compendium CD8: Vols 81-90
SS. Mary and Joseph, Poplar Roman Catholic Chapel
St Alphege Church, Greenwich 1825-1837
St Dunstan, Stepney Parish Register 1730-1848
St Mary, Whitechapel Parish Registers 1758-1865
St Paul, Shadwell Parish Registers 1712-1881
The Registers of the Sardinian Embassy Chapel, London 1772-1841