Good info. Thanks for passing it on. Interesitng that indentureship ended
when the slave trade took off.
Indentureship was uncommon and is not much considered in Canadian genealogy.
Most of that begins in the late 1700'S after the Battle of the Plains of
Abraham, into the early1800's on the English side. On the French side it
started in the 1500 to early 1600s, by in large.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, December 24, 2010 12:24 PM
Subject: [Campbell] COUSINS'THIS READING IS OF INTEREST TO <ALL> CUZ A T
Although Wikipedia is great source, it shouldn't be relied on as
definitive source of documentation or knowledge.
Although some indentured servants were young people, many of them were
legal adults over the age of 21 - case in point my ancestor Bartholomew
Stovall who was about 25 when he arrived in Virginia in the late 1600's
Quaker refugee. He only served 4 years indentureship, and either had an
unknown wife and child before his servitude, or an illegitimate daughter
this period, based on deeds of gift to a young woman born before
Bartholomew's marriage to Ann Burton in Henrico Co, VA.
The typical indentureship was 7 years, but could be shortened if partial
passage was paid by the person or a member of their family.
Indentured servants were not allowed to marry during their servitude.
However, that does not mean they didn't have children during that seven
- remember, human nature has not changed and celibacy for that length of
time would challenge most humans. If a woman had a child out of wedlock
(often the father was the head of household where she was living), her
indentureship was extended by a year or more to compensate for her
work during pregnancy and until the child was weaned. The more children
had, the longer her servitude (and a reason for not knowing her name or
maiden name, and therefore a brick wall for a child if the mother was
married and there was no legal documents for her other than a ships
Indentured servants, specifically males, could have been married before
their indentureships. It is possible that a young couple could have
indentured themselves, but that is difficult to determine or prove since
ships manifests most often only included the names of the male passengers
not the names of women or children. Another case in point was my
Rev. Lewis Latane, a French Hugenot refugee to VA in 1700 who was listed
with Madame and Infante Latane - and that was probably only because he
some status as a minister.
Indentured servants should not be confused with apprentices. Apprentic
eships were often for skilled trades (coopers, smiths, lawyers,
etc.) while indentures were for unskilled trades such as farming.
sometimes earned a small wage and/or lived away from the master - but not
Indentured servants were often treated more like slaves rather than
members of a household - often very poorly with little food, clothing and
necessities often minimal. However, like slaves, they could hire
out on their rare days off to earn money, which often was applied toward
payment and reduction of their length of service.
As slavery became more prevalent in the mid-1700's, indentureships
disappeared making apprenticeships for Caucasian residents the accepted
learning a trade and passage passage to America.
After the Civil War, many former slave holders took their former under
aged slaves as apprentices. I found several of these in a dusty corner
Allen Co KY courthouse a few years ago. Later, apprenticeships were used
for orphaned, illegitimate and poor children - a kind of welfare system
addition to the poor houses in each county - these children were often
treated well. One of my ancestors was apprenticed at the age of 5 to a
neighbor, was treated very badly according to stories told by his living
grandchildren, ran away at the age of 16, lying about his age, in order
the Union Army. He served under the surname of the man whom he
apprenticed with , but used his real name for other documents, census, and
his adulthood. Fortunately we have a pension application that provides
the names of his children (he gave them odd names such as Ozias,
& Yetman), the maiden name of his wife and the birth dates of each
proving his al!
Don't forget that some of our ancestors arrived on prison ships - often
for what we would consider minor infractions. To be sentenced to Newgate
Prison in England more times than not meant forced passage to America -
whether single or married. If married, and one was shipped across the
could easily remarry without divorce or create an alias in order to start
a new life - another brick wall. An ancestor of mine, Thomas Goodrum,
arrived in Maryland on a prison ship in the late 1600's for possession of
stolen pewter tankard, eventually migrating to Virginia where he died
estranged from his children (his will disinherits all of his children).
There is an excellent book titled "Birthright" that tells the true story
of a young English boy who was heir to an Irish and English title. When
was left orphaned at a young age, his uncle kidnapped him and shipped him
as an indentured servant to America in order to obtain the title and
for himself. This story was the basis for Robert Lewis Stevenson's
"Kidnapped" and is taken from the young man's personal account and court
documents after he was able to escape and stow away back to England after
in America - in his attempts to regain his property and rights. If you
want a true account of life as an indentured servant, including the
and ill treatment of these people, read the book.
Another group of books that provide a picture of our ancestral lives is
the "Everyday Life" series that gives an account of daily living during
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