Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D, discovered that his ancestor, James Hambleton, had been a slave in Westmoreland County, Virginia, for 15 years, and then he began a systematic search for the names of other white children who were acknowledged as slaves. The names of more than 5,000 such kidnapped children have been documented in Court Order books in Maryland and Virginia — and now they are recorded for all to see.
Phillips’ new book, “Without Indentures: Index to White Slave Children in Colonial Court Records (Maryland and Virginia)” provides a heartbreaking look at a portion of American history that has not been addressed.
Many emigrants who came to the American colonies came as “indentured,” agreeing to work for a master for a specified number of years in exchange for passage. However, many white children were kidnapped and brought to the colonies without such an indenture.
Extant Court Order books have been examined for the Maryland counties of Anne Arundel, Somerset, Talbot, Queen Anne, Kent, Cecil, Dorchester, Baltimore, Prince George, and Charles.
Virginia Court Order books have been examined for the counties of Northampton, Accomack, Stafford, Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster, Old Rappahannock, Richmond, Essex, Middlesex, York, Charles City, Henrico, Surry, Isle of Wight, Norfolk, and Princess Anne.
The book’s index includes the names of each child in these counties, the date he or she appeared in court, the age assigned by the judge, and the name of the owner. The indexes to “Gentleman Justices and Worshippfull Commissioners” (often the judges of the courts) include the names of the white slave children they owned. There is also an index to ship captains (each with name of ship, county, and year/s of arrival) and an index to ship arrivals (with name of each ship accompanied by county and year/s). The Appendix, Jacobite Rebels, includes the names of the 281 Jacobite rebels (“not all Scottish”) who were shipped without indentures to Maryland and Virginia. The Notes provide specific sources, including many websites.
This book of names “can be the starting point for thousands of genealogical searches by the descendants of these unindentured children …. (who) will know for the first time how their progenitor got to Maryland or Virginia.” Or, perhaps, “the kidnapped child will be the sibling in the family chart for whom there is nothing but a birth record.”
“Without Indentures” is a 327-page, softcover, illustrated, indexed book, ISBN 978-0-8063-1979-7, that can be ordered as Item 4606 from Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Baltimore, MD 21211-8492 at $29.95 plus $5.50 shipping. VISA and MasterCard orders can be placed toll-free at (800) 296-6687 or online at http://www.genealogical.com.
Phillips notes, “If I were not descended from two generations of Scottish slaves, I might never have come upon the story of white slavery in America ….The names of these children have been hidden in plain sight for three hundred years. No one has cared to look for them until now.”
Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing JBGriffis@aol.com