Which association did the "Companion" belong to?
Documents and artefacts found among family possessions are not always easy to analyse. While a cane discovered without its name-plate, a worker’s booklet or a model staircase may provide evidence that one’s ancestor was indeed a member of the Joiners’ Guild, the question remains as to which society he belonged? There were two main societies in the 19th century, the Companions of Duty and the Companion Joiners of the Duty of Liberty (or Gavots), along with a third that came into being at the end of the century, the Companions of United Duty, not to mention a multitude of small, dissident societies. There were also two societies of carpenters, five among shoemakers, three among stonecutters, and two each among coopers, locksmiths and bakers. There was, in sum, a significant splitting-up of the Duties during the 19th century. Without first identifying the association to which one’s ancestor belonged, trying to find further information will be fruitless.