Many ancestors arrived as indentured servants

Contact Kenneth H. Thomas Jr. at P.O. Box 901, Decatur, GA 30031 or www.gagensociety.org.

American history centers around various leaders and religious groups that founded colonies. Many celebrate those founding settlers as their ancestors.

But America also was settled by a lot of people who came over as indentured servants, meaning that someone paid their passage and they worked off that payment over a period of years.

A good database of indentured servants who came to Jamestown, Va., can be found at www.virtualjamestown.org. Go to “resources” and then to “labor contracts” to see four databases of indentured servants. You can search by name, and each entry has the place of origin, often a parish, and other vital data.

The databases cover Bristol, Middlesex and London in England, ranging from 1654 to 1759. This website provides a lot of data about the first English colony in America, and should be useful to historians as well as genealogists.

Kidnapped children

“Without Indentures: Index to White Slave Children in Colonial Court Records [Maryland and Virginia]” is a new book by Richard Hayes Phillips.

In this work he lists more than 5,000 children who were kidnapped from England, Ireland, Scotland and New England and sold into slavery in Maryland and Virginia from 1660 to 1720. These kidnappings were the result of a 1659 English law allowing officials to kidnap children who were beggars or vagrants. These children were not indentured and the courts assigned their time of servitude.

It is important to read the introduction about the author’s methodology, using county court order books where extant; for many counties, such sources are missing. Each entry lists the name of the child, the date they appeared in court, the age assigned by the justices, and the owner. The index covers surnames only.

This is an amazing compilation and might help many find their ancestral origins. This soft cover book is available for $29.95 plus $5.50 postage from the Genealogical Publishing Co., 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211. It also can be ordered at 1-800-296-6687 or www.genealogical.com.

Civil War round tables

Metro Atlanta has a number of round tables in which Civil War history is discussed.

One of these is the Civil War Round Table of Cobb County Inc., whose website, www.cobbcwrt.org, has links to similar groups. They are in partnership with the Civil War Center at Kennesaw State University and hold monthly meetings. New members are invited to join.