I have always loved history and especially American History. The Revolutionary War and Civil War time periods are probably my favorite time periods to read and study about. However, for this year’s theme I want to write about indentured servants and slaves and the impact it had on my family for many generations, who were either indentured servants or slaves themselves or who owned indentured servants or slaves. My intentions are not to hurt feelings or slander one group over another, but to state facts the way I have read and interrupted them for myself over the years. So for this year 2016, I want to try and write about different ancestors who were parts of these groups in one way or another. I will write just a brief outline of that ancestor’s life and then transcripts of that ancestors, land, will or probate records showing indentured servants or slaves that they bought and sold, through the years or the records of their indenture or bills of sale.
For those that don’t know what an indentured servant was I will try and explain here for you. An indentured servant was a person who was usually under contract to work for another person for a certain period of time, usually without pay. If they were lucky they were treated good and got a place to sleep, food, and clothing and usually ended up learning some kind of a trade, while they were working off their indenture. Some however, were treated very badly and beat and abused just like a black or Indian slave might have been. Most of the indentured servants that came to America came in exchange for free ship passage to America. The usual length of service was five to seven years, every now and again it might be for a shorter time and sometimes even longer. For instances during the seventeenth century the majority of the white laborers in Maryland and Virginia came from England as indentured servants.
When most people think of slavery, they think of African’s brought to America in the sixteenth and seventieth centuries here in the United States, but slavery throughout the world begin long before the 1600 or 1700’s. The use of white slaves or indentured servants was even more common than black slaves before this time period. Slavery was and is something that is still a problem worldwide, but most people seem to think only of the slave time here in the United States, they don’t seem to want to believe that slavery existed long before American slavery and that it still exists to this day in countries across the globe. For instance some Arab nations still have slaves, but most people don’t want to admit to that fact. One place I read said that between 650 AD and the 1960’s over 10 to 18 million people were enslaved by Arab slave traders and it still goes on to this day. Arabs have probably taken more Africans into slavery then any European ever did.
Africans and North and South American Indians had slaves for centuries, they enslaved each other, usually by raiding and looting other tribes and villages. There are a number of different online sites where you can read a more comprehensive take on slavery in Africa as well as in the America’s. I have listed just three of them here, but there are many, many more available.