I recently discovered that my great great great grandfather George Goldsmith Kirby was the “original projector” and managing director of the Freemasons & General Life Assurance Company (see more here). According to Dr Timothy L Alborn at Lehman College, City University of New York, its highly likely that George was a mason. I’d noticed a book called The City of London: A Masonic Guide by Yasha Beresiner, so I contacted him to see if he could give me any pointers.
He got back to me and was very encouraging about my research, and thought the advertisement of the Freemasons & General Life Assurance Company I’d showed him was of important Masonic significance. He even I suggested I write something about it, and mentioned that the best way to find out identification of individual Masons is to contact The Library and Museum of Freemasonry in Great Queen Street London.
I was in London yesterday for a business meeting, so thought I pop in to see what I could find out about George, clutching a copy of the Freemasons & General Life Assurance Company advertisement just in case this might help with the broader research that Yasha had suggested. Some of the patrons of the Freemasons & General Life Assurance Company like the Earl of Scarborough and Earl of Mexborough seem to have been distinguished masons, so I this could be useful as part of my investigation. Sadly, I didn’t have enough ID, so will need to go again when I’m back in London at the end of the month. That said they only keep information on age, address, occupation, and date of joining. Their records don’t contain any personal details, such as family history, etc. This is a shame because I was hoping this masonic lead might give me some clues.