Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Picking up where he left off in his acclaimed book, WITHOUT INDENTURES: INDEX TO WHITE SLAVE CHILDREN IN COLONIAL COURT RECORDS, Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips takes the story back even further. In his new book, WHITE SLAVE CHILDREN OF COLONIAL MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA: BIRTH AND SHIPPING RECORDS, the author focuses on the scenes where the crime of kidnapping occurred during the period from about 1660 to 1720.

     In the preface, the author explains how he became interested in the topic and explains his methodology. He also supplies guides to the birth, military, and shipping records and to the indexes. In addition, Phillips includes an exposé of the colonial shipping industry. He demonstrates that child traffickers included many prominent citizens, such as the mayor of Bristol, the governor of Virginia, and several well-to-do plantation owners.

     Although the majority of the “servants without indentures” were abducted in England, some of them were transported from Ireland and Scotland. But not all of the “servants without indentures” were foreign-born. Phillips discovered that some children who were born in Massachusetts were also kidnapped. (More than 200 of their descendants fought on the American side in the Revolutionary War and the author provides a list of the names of the New England patriots.) Usually, the children were beggars or vagrants, but that was not always the case.

     County courts were authorized to examine the children, estimate their ages, and sentence them into servitude for a certain number of years. (The younger the child was, the longer the sentence.) Since the county minutes provide the places of origin and approximate ages of the unfortunate children, Phillips decided to delve further into their background.

     Perusing shipping records found in such places as the Library of Congress and the Bristol Record Office in England, he identified 170 ships that transported white children against their will to the plantations of colonial Maryland and Virginia. Itemizing the children as “cargo,” the ships sailed from seventeen different ports located in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Massachusetts.

     Then utilizing the date of their appearance in court and the details furnished in the minutes, he conducted a targeted search of birth and baptismal records in the locales from which the children were taken. He was able to match more than 1,400 children with parish or town records. On the roster of children from London, for example, Phillips shows that Thomas YEOMAN, son of Johanis (sic) and Marthae (sic) YEOMAN, who was born on 6 February 1655 in Saint Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London, is probably the Thomas YEOMONS (sic), who was judged to be age 14 when he appeared in the Talbot County, Maryland court on 16 March 1669. He was sentenced to serve William SHAW for seven years.

     Phillips sheds light on a new facet concerning the colonial origins and lives of thousands of early young immigrants in what is now the United States. WHITE SLAVE CHILDREN OF COLONIAL MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA: BIRTH AND SHIPPING RECORDS is an interesting addition to the field of genealogical literature.

     Sporting an interesting front cover, the 393-page soft-bound work has a preface; additions and corrections to his previous publication, WITHOUT INDENTURES; an epilogue; and a surname index. Material is arranged by geographic areas in the British Isles, with a separate roster for Massachusetts.

     To the book's price of $39.95, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.50 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy; for UPS, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order #4608) may be purchased by check, MasterCard, or Visa from Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211 (for phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website ).

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