Resources and Further Reading

Glossary of Terms

  • Apprenticeship: A person, usually a young male, would enter into a contract of indenture in order to learn a trade. The contract would last for a specified number of years during which time they would learn the skills necessary to be a fully fledged tradesperson. The apprentice would also promise to keep the secrets of the trade.
  • Dataset (also Data set): A collection of units of information that can be analyzed computationally. In the case of the Record of Indentures, each record is a single unit. The 5,139 units (or records) comprise the data set.
  • Data story: We have used maps, graphs, charts and diagrams as visual representation of the dataset created from the Record of Indenture. In combination with explanatory text, these form data stories.
  • Indenture Contract: A legal document detailing an agreement between two parties (master and apprentice/servant) where one agrees to pay the debt of another in exchange for labor over a specified time period. Historically this type of contract applies to both servants and apprentices.
  • Indentured Servant: A person - woman, man or child - who owes a debt to a master. The debt is typically paid by working a specified number of years for this master. The contract detailing the arrangement of payment of the debt was usually negotiated by the captain of the ship upon which the person traveled to Colonial America. The agreement would be signed before departure.
  • Redemptioner: In historical terms, a redemptioner was a person who traveled to Colonial America without first negotiating an indenture contract. Upon arrival, a redemptioner would need to pay the captain of the ship on which they traveled for their passage. They could do this either by paying cash (perhaps borrowed by friends or family) or by negotiating their own contract of indenture.
  • Transcription: The process of copying writing or text. In this case, the handwritten Record of Indentures volume has been transcribed into digital form which can then be analyzed in different software packages like Microsoft Excel or Tableau.
  • Visualization: Representing data (or other information) in a graph, chart, diagram or other pictorial form.


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