Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Deed of Gibbea Chavers - 1777, Granville County

Hi all! Well, this is a deed that I've transcribed from the State Archives of North Carolina. This is of Gibbea Chavis (spelled Gibbe Chavers in the deed) giving land to Joseph McDaniel.. This deed was found in deed book L of Granville County on page 382. Although the deed is from 1775, it was not recorded until almost 2 years later. Mentioned in the deed is Hudspeth and I'm very interested in who this person is. They may be another free Black, like Chavis, but I really think they were white even though their name pops up all the time in records concerning free Blacks in Granville County. If anyone has information on the Hudspeth line, I'd love to get in contact with you. Seems to me that Gibbea was doing fairly well for himself to be selling off 300 acres, and it looks like keeping some of the land for himself.

Deed of Gibbe Chavers to Joseph McDaniel, 1777

To Joseph McDaniel of Granville Co, NC from Gibbe Chavers, planter, of aforesaid, 8 September 1775, for 44 pounds 8 shillings and 10 pence proclamation money of North Carolina which he the said Gibbe Chavers is justly indebted unto the said Joseph McDaniel & honestly desire to secure & pay to him & for & in the further consideration of 5 shillings like money, one tract or parcel of land lying on the North side of Tar River, Beginning at a White Oak in Hudspeth's line, then running West to a corner Pine, thence North to a corner Pine, thence East to a corner Pine, thence Southern to Chaver's line, then along the various courses of Chavers' line to the first station, containing by estimation 300 acres, be the same more or less; also 1 spotted stone horse, 1 grey horse gelding branded with L on the near buttock, 1 spotted mare branded with a stirrup iron on the near shoulder and buttock, & her colt, 1 young spotted sores branded on the near shoulder a& buttock, with a stirrup iron, 1 young Sorrell horse branded on the near shoulder 3 & on the near buttock 8, 5 cows & calves, 2 hefers, & 1 (?), the cattle that are marked are marked with a crop & half crop in the right ear & a half moon in the underside of the left ear.
Gibea Chavers
Wit: Zacharias Higgs,
Jurat: Jonathan Kittrell
Granville County August Court 1777.
Prov'd by the oath of Zacharias Higgs
Reuben Searcy C.C.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Finding and Using Apprenticeship Records in North Carolina

I gave a talk in October of 2005 in an online chat room at the Genealogy Forum, where I host chats on Southern genealogy when I'm not in school. I hope to resume that in June 2008. The talk was about using apprenticeship records in NC for genealogy. The talk was a short one and not a lot of information in the original talk, so what I'm going to do here is post a transcript of the talk and fill in extra information. I hope this information can help someone in their research.

It is important to remember that even though this information is specifically about apprenticeship records in North Carolina, a lot of the information could easily be true for other states; however, every state had its own laws and laws also changed through the years.

So let's get to it . . .

I'm sure most who are reading this is probably very familiar with researching wills and census records for 1850 and on as a medium for searching for family connections, but what about trying to find those connections when no will exists and before the 1850 census? This is where apprenticeship records come in very handy (along with orphan's court records and bastardy bonds, which I'll discuss in another post).

A little background into this, before my research on free Blacks in antebellum North Carolina, I knew nothing of apprenticeship records. I've since learned a lot while doing research and I realized how under-utilized the source is. Apprenticeship records have helped me in my research more than perhaps any other type of records in connecting families before 1850.

If you go to the state archives here in Raleigh, each county has a series for apprenticeship records called “Bonds” and a series for civil court cases located in “Court Records.” Apprenticeship records can be found in both places. In many cases, court orders issued for placing someone into an apprenticeship can be found in the "Bonds" series while the exit from/termination of the apprenticeship will be found in Court Records.

There were minor differences in ages that apprenticeships lasted over the years, but generally, white males were apprenticed until age 21, white females to age 18, all free people of color until age 21 regardless of gender. In regards to free blacks during the colonial period, it was a common practice to keep the apprentice years after they turned 21 and they would sue for their freedom from their apprenticeship masters. Records of these cases can be found both in the bonds series and with court cases. Even white apprentices sometimes were kept in an indenture against their will past the date of the end of the apprenticeship and also had to sue for freedom.

Records don't always exist for an exit from an apprenticeship, as most ended outside of court and no reason to go to court in order to terminate it, but if your ancestors were free blacks or poor whites, it wouldn't hurt to check for an exit case. For more detailed look into the particular county you are looking for, go to the following website: Guide To Research Materials In the North Carolina State Archives. This site is in order by county alphabetically and it shows what type of records are available for each county. The archives also has this in book format, which can be purchased here or can be purchased when you visit the archives in person. I have this book and use both the book and pdf format all the time! Please note that the digital format of the book was last revised in 2002 so the information is not exactly the same as the book format. It’s a great tool to use though when you do not have the book handy.

General Summary of Laws Regarding Apprenticeships in Antebellum N.C.

In the 1700s, laws required the binding out of all apprentices until the males were age 21 and the females were age 18. The law was slightly changed in the early 1800s so that white males were bound out until age 21 and white females until 18. Free people of color (including in some cases Native Americans) were bound out until age 21 for both male and female. It was also common practice to hold free people of color until age 30, especially the males.

In the apprenticeship laws of the early 1700s, there was not much said about education being a requirement of apprenticeships, but in the late 1700s to early 1800s, this began to change. Apprentice masters were required to teach their wards to both read and write and in many cases, the court reminded them of this fact by stipulating that the apprenticeship master must teach (or "cause to be taught") their wards to read and write in the court order. Although apprentice masters were to educate their wards, a survey of census records in the latter part of the 19th century shows that not everyone followed this. In my own research with free African Americans in antebellum NC, some of the known apprentices were listed as being illiterate in later census records.

How Can Apprenticeship Records Help My Research?

In most cases, apprenticeship records will tell the name of at least one parent, and in some cases both. In a case where only the mother is listed, it is usually because the child was considered an orphan or born out of wedlock and it is definitely worth taking a look through bastardy bonds and orphan court records in the case where only the mother is listed for the apprenticeship record. If they were considered orphans, then usually there will be something in the orphan's court record about binding them out as apprentices.

If both parents were listed, it might be the case that the family was poor, or maybe it was the only way for a child to receive their education because of where they lived. Children in rural areas did not have many opportunities to receive a formal education, so apprenticeships in North Carolina offered a way for children to receive their education, as well as a skilled trade, from an apprenticeship master. A few cases do exist where no parents are named, or their parents are referred to only as Mr. or Mrs. and a surname. In these cases, an apprenticeship record won't do much in helping you to find the parents, but they might offer one more clue…. If the record only lists a mother (i.e., Mrs. SURNAME), and you know the parents were married from previous research, it can help you narrow down a death date for the father. The same could be true if it only lists a father, but given the fact that women didn't hold much esteem until the 20th century, it could just be that the court didn't feel it necessary to acknowledge the mother.

Another tidbit to glean from apprenticeship records is who the apprenticeship master was. In cases where only the mother was named as a parent, it is possible the master is actually the child's father. This seems especially true of free blacks before the Civil War. If the apprenticeship only lists the child's mother, it might be worth it to look through the bastardy bonds to find who the father was and you might just discover that the father and apprentice master were one and the same. In other cases, the master may be a relative of some kind, a brother in law (or sister), an uncle, a cousin, etc.

The trade to be learned can be helpful to know for future reference. It can be interesting to compare apprentices from the mid 1800s with the census records of the later part of the 1800s to see if the trade the learned became their occupation. In some cases it did, but not always.

Apprenticeship records are highly overlooked records in North Carolina. If you had ancestors in North Carolina, it will be worth your while to look for an apprenticeship record for your ancestor.