I’ve written much about the indenture of Native Americans (click the “Indenture” category on the right) during the settlement period of California, but indenture was far from a new idea. Many of our ancestors likely came to American as indentured servants because they lacked the funds to pay for passage. Through the system of indenture, a person could have their passage, food, etc. paid for in exchange for their labor over a period of years. According to wikipedia, over half of all white emigrants that arrived in the English colonies of North America during the 17th and 18th centuries may have come as indentured servants.
The other night I explored the virtual Jamestown website and discovered a database that contained information about over 10,000 indentured servants that came to America in the seventeen and eighteen hundreds.
Many of the women were “spinsters” and many of the boys were under twenty years of age–a majority of the younger travelers were orphaned though some had parents in prison.