The speaker at our April 16, 2010 meeting of the Genealogy Interest Group – Ancestor Trackers was Adrienne Condon, a retired member of the USF faculty and a member of the Florida Genealogy Society and the Brandon Area Genealogical & Historical Society.  Dr. Condon’s topic was “Indentured Servants.”  She explained that the word indenture means contract; originally two copies of the indenture were made – one for the master and one for the servant.  Luckily for genealogists, in 1925 early records of indentures in Bristol and London were found while renovating the Bristol city hall.  As early as 1617, poor children were sent as servants to Jamestown.  Most Colonists wanted servants who spoke English.  We learned about the plans for providing servants in Colonial times and their sources:  voluntary servitude, orphans and other children, “spirits” — those who were unwillingly delivered aboard ship, “redemptioners” – who sold themselves for their passage, and convicts, who agreed to be transported in lieu of the death penalty.  Adrienne told us the romantic story of Benjamin Franklin’s indentured grandmother and how Franklin’s grandfather paid for her release.  We were supplied with examples of documents of indenture, advertisements for the purchase of services for those transported and announcements requesting the capture and return of runaway servants.  Additionally, Adrienne gave us a list of source documents and recommended books.

Our Chair, Trevetta Wunderlin, held the business meeting after the program.  We had a discussion about DNA and Trev gave out copies of pertinent articles.  Roger Craft, a new member, told us about his research interests and short discussion was held about the upcoming meetings of the Florida Genealogical Society.

Respectfully submitted,

Rosalyn Davenport Gibbs

Advertisements