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Indentured Servants in Pennsylvania: A Bibliography

The Pennsylvania State Archives does not hold records of indentured servants. For information about and records of such individuals, consult the following books:

Coldham, Peter Wilson. The Bristol Registers of Servants Sent to Foreign Plantations, 1654-1686. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988.
Includes each indentured servant's name, date, hometown, occupation, master, length of contract, and destination.

Coldham, Peter Wilson. The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1661-1699: a comprehensive listing compiled from English public records of those who took ship to the Americas for political, religious, and economic reasons; of those who were deported for vagrancy, roguery, or non-conformity; and of those who were sold to labour in the new colonies. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1990.
The amount of information varies; entries may include name, ship and captain's names, future master, terms of contract, destination, line of work. From Port Books and Plantation Apprenticeship Bindings. Not indexed by destination.

Coldham, Peter Wilson. The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1700-1750: a comprehensive listing compiled from English public records of those who took ship to the Americas for political, religious, and economic reasons; of those who were deported for vagrancy, roguery, or non-conformity; and of those who were sold to labour in the new colonies. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992.
The amount of information varies; entries may include name, ship and captain's
names, future master, terms of contract, destination, line of work. From Port Books and Plantation Apprenticeship Bindings. Not indexed by destination.

Coldham, Peter Wilson. The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1751-1776: a
comprehensive listing compiled from English public records of those who took ship to the Americas for political, religious, and economic reasons; of those who were deported for vagrancy, roguery, or non-conformity; and of those who were sold to labour in the new colonies.
Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1993.
The amount of information varies; entries may include name, ship and captain's
names, future master, terms of contract, destination, line of work. From
Plantation Apprenticeship Bindings; Port Books; Acts of Privy Council, Colonial Series; Agreements to Serve in the Plantations, Memoranda; American Wills and Administrations in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. Not indexed by destination.

Coldham, Peter Wilson. Emigrants from England to the American Colonies, 1773-
1776.
Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988.
Emigrants' names are arranged by English port. Includes the date, emigrant's name, ship, destination, age, occupation, and usually their hometown. From Port Registers in the British Public Record Office.

Diffenderffer, Frank R. The German Immigration into Pennsylvania Through the
Port of Philadelphia from 1700 to 1775 and The Redemptioners.
Baltimore,
MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1977 (originally published as part of Volume
10, 1900, of the Pennsylvania German Society Proceedings).
Provides a sample passenger list from the ship "William and Sarah" in 1727.
Includes a selection of items on redemptioners that appeared in the newspaper Der Hoch Deutsche Pennsylvanische Berichte.

Geiser, Karl F. Redemptioners and Indentured Servants in the Colony and
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
New Haven, CT: Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Co., 1901. Provides examples of actual indenture contracts, Registry of Redemptioners listings, and runaway servant ads.

Grubb, Farley Ward. German Immigrant Servant Contracts Registered at the Port of
Philadelphia, 1817-1831.
Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994.
Summarizes the terms of each contract, and is organized by date. Includes the
names of both parties to the indenture, and the length and terms of the contract.
From Book C of Redemptioners, kept by the Port of Philadelphia.

Grubb, Farley Ward. Runaway servants, convicts, and apprentices advertised in the
Pennsylvania Gazette, 1728-1796.
Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co.,
1992.
Includes the runaway's name, the master's county, colony, and occupation; newspaper date; descriptive information, including servant's ethnicity; the servant's age and occupation; the servant's status and type of contract; the time lapse between the servant's departure and the advertisement; the day of the week he or she ran away; the reward offered; and the length of time the servant had left to serve. Includes a bibliography.

Hawbaker, Gary T., ed. Runaways, Rascals, and Rogues: Missing Spouses, Servants,
and Slaves: Abstracts from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Newspapers.

Hershey, PA: G.T. Hawbaker, 1987.
Contains transcripts of runaway servant advertisements from the Lancaster
Journal 1794-1810.

Herrick, Cheesman A. White Servitude in Pennsylvania; Indentured and Redemption
Labor in Colony and Commonwealth.
New York: Negro Universities Press,
1969.
Discusses the subject of indentures, including the process of indenturing and the supply of workers from Germany and Great Britain. Includes a bibliography of primary sources.

Hocker, Edward W. Genealogical Data Relating to the German Settlers of
Pennsylvania and Adjacent Territory: from Advertisements in German Newspapers Published in Philadelphia and Germantown, 1743-1800.
Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1980.
The advertisements are arranged by newspaper, then by date. Advertisements for runaway indentured servants are mixed in with other subjects.

Meaders, Daniel, comp. Eighteenth Century White Slaves: Fugitive Notices. Vol. 1
(Pennsylvania). Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993.

Lists runaway servant advertisements from the 1729-1760 issues of the Pennsylvania Gazette. Includes indexes of masters and servants/apprentices.

Record of Indentures of Individuals Bound Out as Apprentices, Servants, etc., and of
German and other redemptioners in the office of the Mayor of the city of Philadelphia, October 3, 1771, to October 5, 1773.
Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1973.
Includes the date, servant's name, which European port they sailed from, to whom they were indentured, their master's residence, occupation and terms of the contract, and the amount of money involved.

Salinger, Sharon V. "To serve well and faithfully": labor and indentured servants in
Pennsylvania, 1682-1800.
Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987.
Discusses the use and decline of indentured servitude in Pennsylvania. Includes two indexes of names mentioned in the book: one of servants' names, and one of masters' names and their occupations.

Wareing, John. Emigrants to America: Indentured Servants Recruited in London,
1718-1733.
Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1985.
From "a register of the names and surnames of those persons who have
voluntarily contracted and bound themselves to go beyond the seas to His Majesty's colonies and plantations in America…," London Record Office. Includes alphabetized table of names, agents, destination (colony name), date, and page number in the original records.

Wokeck, Marianne S. Trade in Strangers: The Beginnings of Mass Migration to
North America.
University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999.
Provides historical background on indentured servitude, and includes a good bibliography of published sources

Compiled by Mary F. Schoedel, November 1, 2006, for the Pennsylvania State Archives.

PA State Archives - Research Guides - Indentured Servants

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