white slave children

White Slave Children of Maryland and Virginia

Picking up where he left off in his acclaimed book Without Indentures: Index to White Slave Children in Colonial Court Records, Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips has now taken the story back even further — back to the scenes of the original crimes–kidnapping of children to be sold into slavery (ca. 1660-1720).

In his original book, Dr. Phillips identified 5,290 “servants” without indentures, transported against their will. He culled that evidence from the Court Order Books of colonial Maryland and Virginia, where the county courts were authorized to examine the children, adjudge their ages, and sentence them to slavery for a number of years. The younger the child, the longer the sentence. In this book, White Slave Children of Colonial Maryland and Virgina: Birth and Shipping Records, compiled from shipping records found in the Library of Congress, the Bristol [England] Record Office, and elsewhere, the author has identified 170 ships that carried white slave children to the plantations of colonial Maryland and Virginia. The shipping records itemize the unfortunate kids as “cargo” and specify the import duties paid to the Royal Naval Officers for each child. The white slave ships sailed from no fewer than seventeen ports of departure in England. Continue reading…

white slavery

White Slavery – A Story Behind the Index

Editor’s note: In this groundbreaking work, Without Indentures: Index to White Slave Children in Colonial Court Records, Richard Hayes Phillips has collected the names of more than five thousand children kidnapped from Ireland, Scotland, England, and New England, and sold into white slavery in Maryland and Virginia, c. 1660-1720.

As this topic tends to be largely under reported, save for the predominantly inaccessible historical records, Without Indentures brings forth the names of those children bound into white slavery so they can be placed into context within their family histories.

Please enjoy the following behind the scenes look on the making of the book, written by the author, Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D.

The Story Behind Without Indentures: Index to White Slave Children in Colonial Court Records

By Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D.

I do not seek out controversy.  It finds me.  I do have an inquisitive mind, and one thing leads to another, but I didn’t know genealogy could be so controversial. Continue reading…

jamestown, early virginia immigrants, virginia company

Unprecedented Biographical Dictionary of Early Virginia Immigrants

Martha McCartney uses recent historical scholarship as she sets the stage in her remarkable book, Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607-1635: A Biographical Dictionary. We’re focusing on this unprecedented trove of information, formatted as an easy to use biographical dictionary of early Virginia immigrants, and sharing an excerpt from the book. 

Soon after the fateful landing of 1607, thousands of immigrants flocked to Jamestown and surrounding areas on both sides of the James and York rivers, where they struggled to maintain a foothold. This book, Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607-1635: A Biographical Dictionary, brings together a remarkable variety of primary sources concerning every significant detail known about colony’s earliest European inhabitants. Moreover, maps provided here identify the sites at which Virginia’s earliest plantations were located and enable genealogists and students of colonial history to link most of the more than 5,500 people included in this volume to the cultural landscape.

From the earliest records relating to Virginia, we learn the basics about many of these original colonists: their origins, the names of the ships they sailed on, the names of the “hundreds” and “plantations” they inhabited, the names of their spouses and children, their occupations and their position in the colony, their relationships with fellow colonists and Indian neighbors, their living conditions as far as can be ascertained from documentary sources, their ownership of land, the dates and circumstances of their death, and a host of  fascinating details about their personal lives – all gathered together in the handy format of a biographical dictionary. In all, Ms. McCartney’s biographical dictionary provides annotated sketches of more than 5,500 persons linking the majority of them to a specific locality (a “hundred” or plantation) and a precise timeframe between 1607 and 1635. Continue reading…

West Virginia, Missing Ancestors

Missing Ancestors? Check the Feeder States!

Here’s a familiar genealogical conundrum: A researcher has traced his/her ancestors from present-day California back to the Dust Bowl-era in Nebraska, into Missouri just as it was achieving statehood, and finally to Indiana in the 1830s. At that point, the trail has grown cold even though legend has it that the family patriarch was a Pennsylvania patriot during the Revolution. So, how does the genealogist pick up the scent of the missing ancestor at this point?

One way to find missing ancestors is by studying the various migration routes our relatives traveled to their new homes. For instance, before 1800, between Boston, Massachusetts, and Charleston, South Carolina, our forebears followed one of a score or more of tested land and/or river routes. Our hypothetical Pennsylvanian, for example, might have traversed the Southern Road, from Philadelphia to Baltimore, where he could pick up the National Road. This would have taken him into western Maryland, briefly back into Pennsylvania, and then into western Virginia (today West Virginia), before the road leveled off in Ohio and Indiana. By the 1830s, of course, canals and railroads were beginning to compete with roads and turnpikes as the principal means of westward transportation. Continue reading…

Northern_Neck_Proprietary_map

Virginia’s Northern Neck Genealogy

Robert K. Headley’s remarkable collection refers to no fewer than 30,000 persons with Virginia’s Northern Neck connections during the first quarter of the 19th-century. Since Mr. Headley here concerned himself with the records associated with someone’s death, the overwhelming number of testators, family members, and others mentioned in the name index at the back of the volume will have ties to the 18th century. As indicated in the book’s subtitle—and consistent with the author’s penchant for leaving no stone unturned–Headley took his transcriptions from more or less direct records of inheritance (wills, inventories, and division of estates) but also court order books, guardianship records, and chancery suits. Since the contents of these rich sources have almost entirely eluded publication until now, they both open a trove of buried Northern Neck family connections and spare researchers countless of hours that would have been required to comb through the unindexed records on their own.

Continue reading…