The 34 volumes of Boyd's Family Units contain over 10,000 handwritten sheets containing references to over 100,000 people. The records were compiled by Percival Boyd and are an extension to his Inhabitants of London volumes, but covering families from all over the British Isles, the USA, Ireland, Australia, Canada, South Africa and elsewhere. The families overseas generally have strong links to places in England. There are often large sequences of records from specific counties; Yorkshire seems to have a particularly large number of records, and a third of the records relate to London families,
In his introduction to the first volume Boyd states that that "this ... volume consists almost entirely of, (1) the families of members of the Drapers Company of London, (2) Family Bibles from Vol.XII of Crisps Fragmenta Genealogica. The subsequent volumes used a very wide variety of sources, though these are only occasionally mentioned on the sheets, and then usually only on the sheets completed by Boyd himself (quite a large proportion of the Family Units are in hands other than Boyd's). A list of these is given below.
Each sheet contains details of a single family. The majority of entries (over 95%) are from the 16th – 19th centuries. The box (the "Subject Box") at the top right of the sheet gives surname, Christian name, marriage date (or an estimate: one year before the baptism of the first known child). Occasionally the date section is divided in two vertically with a date in the right hand half and this is usually the date of his will.
There are spaces provided in the sheet for:
o the man's name and place of residence.
o the names and origins of his parents and maternal grandparents.
o dates and places of his birth, marriage, death and burial.
o details of his wife - her name, origin, parentage and dates and places of birth and death.
o his education, profession, livery company and his will.
o his children and their dates of birth, marriage and death and names of their spouses.
Some sheets have additional notes on the facing page (back of the previous sheet) so it is worth checking the images either side by clicking on the < and > buttons above the thumbnail.
Because Boyd used a phonetic system to deal with variant surnames, this index lists both the spelling in the original document and Boyd’s standardized spelling.
Some sources used
o Baker Northants: The History and Antiquities of the County of Northampton, 2 vols, G Baker 1822 and 1836
o Burkes Ext Barcies: Burke's Extinct Baronetcies. Where this abbreviation appears it is usually followed by the surname(s) in question.
o Burke's L.G.: Burke's Landed Gentry
o Chesters of Chicheley: Chesters of Chicheley, 2 vols, R E C Waters, 1878
o Clutterbuck Herts: The history & antiquities of the County of Hertford, 3 vols, R Clutterbuck, 1815-1827
o Collins Peerage: Collins's peerage of England; genealogical, biographical, & historical, 1812
o Hasted Kent: The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, 4 vols, Edward Hasted, 1797-1801
o Hist Innholders: History of the Worshipful Company of Innholders of the City of London, 1922
o Le Neve, Le Neve's Kts, Le Neve's Knights: Le Neve's Pedigrees of the Knights, Harleian Society Vol.8, 1873
o Letter Book: Calendar of letter books preserved among the archives of the Corporation of the City of London at the Guildhall, R R Sharp ed., letter books A-K, 10 vols, 1899-1911, letter book L, 1913
o Lincs Ped: Lincolnshire Pedigrees, Harleian Society, vols 50-52, 55
o London Ped: London Pedigrees & Coats of Arms, A W Hughes Clarke, 1935
o Manning & Bray: The History and Antiquities of Surrey, 3 vols, O Manning & W Bray, 1804-14
o Morants Essex: The history & antiquities of the County of Essex, 2 vols, P Morant, 1765
o Moulton deed: Catalogue of historical documents, ancient charters & deeds, seals, autographs, illuminated pedigrees, court rolls & ancient maps offered for sale by H R Moulton, 1921
o Ormerod Ches: The history of the County Palatine & City of Chester, 3 vols, G Ormerod, 1882
o Staffs Ped: Staffordshire Pedigrees 1664-1700, Harleian Society, vol 63
o Top & Gen: Collectanea topographica et genealogica, 8 vols, The Society of Antiquaries, 1834-43
o Vis Visitation (numerous Harleian Society volumes for different counties)
o Waters Gen Gleanings: Genealogical Gleanings in England, Abstracts of Wills Relating to Early American Families, 2 vols, Henry F Waters, 1901
Abbreviations used by Boyd
*Asterisked entries (these abbreviations are always in capitals) refer to Livery Companies, and imply that the person concerned was a member of that company (and that the information came from the records of that company).
ARM Armourers & Brasiers*
BB Brown-Bakers* (possibly Book Binders*?)
BS Barber Surgeons*
CARD Playing Card Makers*
CC (Court of) Common Council
chrisom, crisom refers to a child who dies in the first month from birth
FAN Fan Makers*
free made a freeman
FWK Framework Knitters*
LBS Longbow String Makers*
MD Medical Doctor
MI monumental inscription
MT Merchant Taylors*
MTS Merchant Taylors School
NEED Needle Makers*
PC Parish Clerk
PS Painter Stainers*
PT Poll Tax
SILK.T Silk Throwsters*
SPEC Spectacle Makers*
TB or TIL Tylers & Bricklayers*
TCH Tallow Chandlers*
TIN Tin Plate Workers*
WIRE Wire Drawers*