Indentured Servants Question

+4 votes
I have a question I am hoping someone might have some insight on about indentured servants.

Some of my ancestors came over from Inverness, Scotland in 1772, landing in Bladensburg, Maryland and served off an indenture somewhere in the area until 1786.

At that time all of the families (that came over together on the ship and served their indentured periods together(?) packed up and moved to Washington Co., PA, where they settled down and became founding families.

My questions are these:

1. Is there any way to find out (by court records or otherwise) where/to whom they might have been indentured?  Would something like that be recorded in court papers?

2. Is 14 years the standard time for an indentured servant to serve in the latter part of the 18th century in America?


aka/ Lizupatree
asked in Genealogy Help by Liz Carson G2G1 (1.3k points)

4 Answers

+3 votes  here is some good reading on the subject, they are suggesting 7 years

answered by Rodney Long G2G6 Pilot (211k points)
Thank you, Rodney!
+2 votes
The normal time for Indenture was 7 years. As 1774 was long after the last Jacobite Rising, the most likely thing is that the people were general prisoners who were sentenced to transportation, usually as an alternative to being hanged.

I have looked at transportation papers to the American colonies in the past but they were all held in London and related to prisoners transported from English ports. It is worth noting that transportation to America ended in 1775.
answered by Mark Sutherland-Fisher G2G6 Mach 1 (11k points)
Thanks Mark!  Interesting note of fact: several of the indentured servants were from the Sutherland family related to each other and later intermarried with the other families, including mine!  :)

+2 votes
In answer to your question regarding whether the indentured servants were sold at and to whom? I have some records that list exactly that. Land . court records  are harder to find. But, I might have some of them, too. I have a lot of transcribed colonial records of multiple types.
answered by Anonymous Hudnall G2G6 (8k points)
0 votes
Hi Liz - you might find something here and/or you might be interested in joining our British Indentured Servitude Project

If anyone has other resources on this subject please add to the page above.

answered by Maria Maxwell G2G6 Pilot (144k points)

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