News From Terre Haute, Indiana

History

June 30, 2012

GENEALOGY: Databases can help track down indenture records

TERRE HAUTE — The past two weeks have focused on indentured servitude in America. An indentured servant was a poor person who immigrated to the colonies, most often between 1607 and the 1770s, whose passage was paid for by another person. In return, the immigrant then had to work for up to 7 years for the person who imported him/her. The immigrant was referred to as a bound person because he/she was bound to the master by contract to serve for a period of years.

Many of us are descended from one or more indentured servants and don’t even know it. It’s often difficult to trace whether an ancestor was a bound person or not, because there is no single record that lists all indentured servants. There are two free and informative online databases, however, that can be very helpful in locating indentured servant ancestors.

The Virtual Jamestown website at www.virtualjamestown.org/indentures/about_indentures.html has databases that list a total of 15,000 entries from the port cities of Bristol, Middlesex, and London in England. The Bristol Register spans the years 1654-1686 and contains 10,000 entries of indentured servants who emigrated from the port of Bristol during those years. The Middlesex Register, 1682-1685, contains about 1,000 indentured servants who sailed from Middlesex. The London I Register for the year 1682 includes 1,000 names of indentured servants and the London II Register covers the years 1718-1759, listing 3,000 names.

Information in these registers can consist of the date, servant’s name, gender, age, marital status, place of origin, occupation, parents’ names, their occupations and place of origin, destination, length of indenture, ship’s name, ship’s captain, witnesses to contract, agent’s name, place of origin, gender, and occupation. Not all of this information will be available for every indenture, however. The search engine allows the user to check all four registers at once.

A second online database at pricegen.com/immigrantservant/search/simple.php allows the user to search from a list of more than 15,000 immigrant servants’ names from various records in the colonies. Information that can be obtained from this database are the servant’s name, gender, family status, whether landowner, convict, or literate, length of indenture, year of indenture, location, master’s name, and proof of indentured status. This last piece of information can come from any of dozens of records, as there was no central location for recording indentured servitude.

The above web site uses information from the following sources to prove indentured servant status, focusing on the Chesapeake Bay area: church registers (the term “servant” was included after a person’s name), court records (including infractions and punishments on the part of the servant or the master denying the servant’s rights), deeds (owners buying and selling their indentured servants, and the servants selling their “freedom dues” at the end of servitude), indentured servants’ contracts (compiled by county clerks into books in Pennsylvania, but not kept in the Chesapeake area), journals and personal narratives (very few exist), land patents (granted under the “headright” system–this will be discussed next week), merchant account books (recording business transactions of buying and selling servant contracts), newspapers (advertising for runaway indentured servants), passenger lists (from the ships that brought them over), probate records (servants named in wills because they could be inherited if their master died before their servitude was completed), and a number of English sources. All of these are listed in greater detail at pricegen.com/resources/servants.htm.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
History
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Chimp-attack Victim Lobbies Congress Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll LeBron James Says He's Returning to Cavaliers More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande Arizona Mom of Missing Baby Released From Prison WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Downside of Low Mortgage Rates? Less Selling Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters Diaz and Segel Strip Off for 'Sex Tape' Soft Robot Fish Lead New Wave of Robotics Thousands Attend NYC Firefighter's Funeral Raw: Protesters, Israeli Security Forces Clash
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity