Illinois Ancestors: New book reveals names of white children brought to colonies as slaves

Illinois Ancestors: New book reveals names of white children brought to colonies as slaves

Some emigrants to the American colonies came as "indentured" servants, agreeing in a written contract to be an apprentice or to serve a master without wages for a specified number of years in exchange for passage on a ship.

However, many white children were kidnapped between 1660 and 1720 and sent to plantations as servants in Maryland and Virginia. Author Richard Hayes Phillips discovered this little-known activity while researching his own ancestry — and discovered he was descended from such slaves: unindentured, white, kidnapped children.

Phillips' new book, "Without Indentures: Index to White Slave Children in Colonial Court Records (Maryland and Virginia)," provides background information on that terrible practice. The bulk of the book is an index to the 5,290 children who were kidnapped and sent to Maryland or Virginia.

Court Order Books of the counties in those states, some not examined in centuries, have provided these names, each accompanied by the date he/she appeared in court, the age assigned by the judge, and the name of the owner.

The indexes to "Gentleman Justices and Worshipful 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 years of arrival) and an index to ship arrivals (with name of each ship accompanied by county and years). For each county, there is also a table showing year by year "the racial breakdown of children (white, negro and Indian) imported against their will."

For example, in Lancaster County, Va., between 1659 and 1715 there were 528 white children, 29 negro children, and seven Indian children imported as slaves.

Sources of additional information as well as URLs to links having data are included in the author's notes and acknowledgments. Researchers who have traced a family back to any of the names in this new index can now learn how and why those individuals settled in Maryland or Virginia.

"Without Indentures" is a 327-page, softcover, illustrated, indexed book, ISBN 978-0-8063-1979-7, that can be ordered as Item No. 4606 from Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Baltimore, MD 21211-8492, for $29.95 plus $5.50 shipping. Vis and MasterCard orders can be placed at 800-296-6687 or online at

"Kidnapping children and selling them into slavery is wrong, at any time, in any place, by any name, for any reason. The children who suffered this ordeal deserve to be singled out, by name, and enshrined in a reference book devoted exclusively to them," Phillips wrote.

Illinois society honored

At the recent Federation of Genealogical Societies' annual conference in Fort Wayne, Ind., FGS President Josh Taylor presented Jane Haldeman, president of the Illinois State Genealogical Society, with the FGS Award of Merit for its "tremendous leadership in paving the way toward online educational offerings."

Visit the society's website to learn about and/or register for future free ISGS Webinars at

Illinois repositories get grants

According to the recent Newsletter of the Illinois State Archives (fall 2013), the Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board has awarded Historical Records Preservation Grants as follows:

— McLean County Museum of History, Bloomington, $1,194 for acid-free negative storage.

— Chicago Film Archive, $2,500 to digitize Ruth Page Video Archive.

— Stephenson County Historical Museum, Freeport, $2,254 to rehouse and digitize Taylor family glass-plate negative collection.

— Peoria Historical Society, $2,500 to hire staff to create database of Peoria Historical Society's historical records collection.

— Peru Public Library, $2,500 to preserve oral history interviews.

— Museum Association of Douglas County, Tuscola, $4.891 "to properly accession, accurately catalog and correctly store Douglas County archival materials that were previously stored in doughnut boxes."

Visit, then click Departments, Illinois State Archives, and Illinois Historical Records Advisory Board

You can check the secretary of state's website for the historical records advisory board and additional information on grants, applications, etc.

Queries, genealogical questions from researchers and genealogical materials readers would like to share will be printed in this column free. Joan Griffis may be reached via email at or by sending a letter to Illinois Ancestors, c/o The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

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