Viewing Tip

If you see a large "X" at the top right of Ask Olive Tree Genealogy blog, click on the "X" to close it. Closing the "X" will give you the best viewing experience and allow you to leave a comment on a blog post

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Finding an English Indentured Servant in 17th Century America

Russ asked
I have an Ancestor who came to Annapolis, Maryland ABOUT 1665. I say about, as that is a guess based on the first time I found his name in Maryland. John Worthington 1650 - 1701. The story goes, that he came to the new world with Lord Baltimore. Great, I can find him. In reality, there are at least 3 Lord Baltimore's. These are Calvert's who were given this title. John, was apparently intentured to Lord Baltimore.

I haven't found any good evidence on a passage of any of the Calvert's into Maryland (actually looked from Pennsylvania to Virgiinia, that might have happened after 1650 but before 1700. The story goes, that John was about 14 years old when he arrived in Maryland. I have been to the Maryland Historical Society and spoke with a person who knew the Lord Baltimores, but was not able to provide any further information.

So, my Question:Where should I be looking to find this John Worthington? The other side of the pond, that is England, I have found conflicting information to know where John Worthington came from, which is really what I am trying to identify.

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Russ, glad you found your way over here! My question to you is - what is your source that John Worthington came to the New World with Lord Baltimore? Is it family lore or do you have a reliable source?

Moving on though, you say he may have been an indentured servant and that could be very helpful to you in your search. An indentured servant is under contract to an employer for a certain length of time, so somewhere there may be a contract in existence for your ancestor. Just out of interest, you may want to read what it was like for an Indentured servant in the 17th and 18th centuries.

I think you should check the lists of names of Child Apprentices in America from Christ's Hospital, London 1617-1778 Have you checked the Peter Coldham books on English migration to USA? He has written many, but the ones that might be of most interest to you are

* The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607-1660: A Comprehensive Listing Compiled from English Public Records of Those Who Took Ship to the Americas for Political, Religious, and Economic Reasons; ....
* English Adventurers and Emigrants Immigration Sixteen Hundred and Sixty-One Thru Seventeen Hundred and Thirty-Three
* The Complete Book of Emigrants in Bondage, 1614-1775
* More Emigrants in Bondage: 1614-1775
* British Emigrants In Bondage, 1614-1788

Here is the complete List of Peter Coldham's Books on Amazon. I think Google Books has some of these online.

Lastly - have you read my blog post called Finding English ancestors in the National Archives UK ? I'm hooked on that website, and you might want to have a search for your John Worthington there. I've just ordered four records from the 1700s for two of my English ancestors, and it was very reasonable cost-wise.


  1. also look for him as a freeman?

  2. Thank you. What a great resource list. I was not aware of any of these, which is why I was asking. Thank you.

    I now have lots of work to do, but a place to start.

    Thank you,