Length of Indenture
One critical piece of information included in the Record of Indentures was the length of the contract each person was to serve. The length of the contract varied depending on whether the person was a redemptioner, indentured servant, or apprentice. For the period of their contract, individuals were handing almost complete control of their lives over to their masters for a number of years. They could not marry, vote, or earn other income. It was therefore very important that the length of each contract was noted accurately.1
The Story of Catherine Biesman
Unfortunately, the trail of Catherine Biesman seems to end there. However, Catherine's story is just one of thousands held within the Record of Indentures. It is our hope that this project will allow us to tell those stories.
Next Topic About this Data
- 1. Data note: Time was calculated for each indenture recorded in the volume as a fraction of years. Some individuals have multiple records which, it must be acknowledged, may skew the proportional data calculations.
- 2.Smith, Billy G. "INDENTURES & Apprentices MADE BY Philadelphia OVERSEERS OF THE POOR, 1751-1799". This data set allowed us to recover a small glimpse into Catherine's life before being indentured.
- 3. Richard Veit and David Orr, Historical Archaeology of the Delaware Valley, 1600-1850 (Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2014). p.260.
- 4. Record of Pennsylvania marriages prior to 1810. [and,] List of officers of the Colonies on the Delaware and the Province of Pennsylvania, 1614-1776"