Reading Colonial Virginia Documents

+1 vote
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(question 1) While going through the original early Virginia Order Books et al (now back online thankfully) I found one in 1717 for an ancestor that began with Indenture.....but reading it, it was a simple Deed of Gift from the named parents to their son.  Why was the opening remark on this court entry treated as an Indenture?  Is there more than one legal meaning for the word Indenture besides servitude to another person?

In this document it referred to 3 generations.  Land was given in 1699 by her father to the husband and wife, and now they were gifting it to their son - 200 acres.  I began a search for the son to find his disposition and only found an inventory and a division of the inventory.  (Question 2) Does finding a inventory (but not yet a will) automatically mean he died intestate?  I should now look for Letters of Administration to settle this man's estate by another person  rather than an actual will?  He is not found in the big will index.  I don't want to waste time looking for a will if there isn't one.  I have never seen an inventory tied to a will (which itself spells out the terms of division) but I want to make sure.

in Genealogy Help by Robyn Adair G2G6 (6.9k points)
Thank you both for answering my question.  I will continue to look for the will just in case. I have never heard the "torn paper" story before and will share that with my geni friends.

2 Answers

+1 vote
“Indenture” is equivalent to contract or agreement. Also, an inventory can be connected to a will, but since they were recorded in different places you may ne er find a will.
by Kathie Forbes G2G6 Pilot (306k points)
+1 vote
"Indenture" literally meant a broken edge of a document that had been torn in two. Because land ownership was so important, it was essentially to keep clean title, and part of that was to prevent fraudulent documents. When a deed was executed, two copies would be drawn up on the same document, and it would then be torn into two copies of the document. The rough edge where the tear occured could be compared to make sure both copies were authentic. That edge was the "indenture," and I guess at some point they started referring to the document itself as an indenture.
by Barry Smith G2G6 Pilot (210k points)

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