Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


Indentured servant

An Indentured Servant (or in the U.S. bonded labourer) is a labourer under contract to work for an employer for a specific amount of time, usually seven to eight years, to pay off a passage to a new country or home. Typically the employers provided little if any monetary pay, but was responsible for accommodation, food, other essentials, and training. Upon completion of the term of the contract the labourer sometimes received a lump sum payment such as a parcel of land and was free to farm or take up trade of his own.

The term comes from the medieval English “indenture of retainer” — a contract written in duplicate on the same sheet, with the copies separated by cutting along a jagged (toothed, hence the term “indenture”) line so that the teeth of the two parts could later be refitted to confirm authenticity. for more click here

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