What does Indenture really mean?

September 7, 2015

Over the past several days, I have been talking about Capt. John Worthington (1650-1701) and have used the term Indentured Servant a number of times.

I went to the Maryland State Archives website and did a search for Indentured Servant. Knowing that I might find some results with either one of those two words, as I didn’t put them in quotes.

I found a result that had “John Worthington” and “indenture” in it. Reading the article, that was already transcribed AND the Image a click away, it had some information that fit with other information I already had. BUT, I couldn’t understand what it was really saying. I know it was a Legal Document and that it had something to do with a Land Record.

So, what do I do, I send an email to +Judy G. Russell, CG, CGL, The Legal Genealogist, to get some clarification on what I was looking at.


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Stepping back a minute, I had done research on that Indentured Servant topic before and found a Wikipedia Article on the topic.


Oh, I am looking for a record like the one on the WikiPedia webpage for Capt. John.

That web page is what was in my mind when I read this article from the Archives and tried to share my question with The Legal Genealogist. I was expecting the usual “it depends” answer. Not this time.

Ahhh. No, the word had other meanings, and in particular:

In old conveyancing, if a deed was made by more parties than one, it was usual to make as many copies of it as there were parties, and each was cut or indented (either in acute angles, like the teeth of a saw, or in a waving line) at the top or side, to tally or correspond with the others, and the deed so made was called an “indenture.” Anciently, both parts were written on the same piece of parchment, with some word or letters written between them through which the parchment was cut, but afterwards, the word or letters being omitted, indenting came into use, the idea of which was that the genuineness of each part might be proved by its fitting into the angles cut in the other. But at length even this was discontinued, and at present the term serves only to give name to the species of deed executed by two or more parties…

Henry Campbell Black, A Dictionary of Law (St. Paul, Minn. : West, 1891), 614, “indent.”

The article that I found, isn’t what I was looking for, but I have added a few new names to my Capt. John FAN club (Friends or Family, And, Neighbors). One of the names I had seen before, the other two I hadn’t. One in England the other in Maryland.

AND it puts Capt. John still in England in 1676 or 1677, about where I expected to find him there, “of Manchester in the County of Lancaster in the Kingdome of England” and the property “neere” Ashton.

Lesson Learned: I need to keep remembering to put the terms that I might find in a document into historical context and don’t forget the Law at the time and place.

I just find it very interesting that a 17 year old lad, would be part of a Land Transaction.

My sincere thanks to Judy G. Russell for her awesome responses to my questions. And she was so kind to allow my to share this with you. Thank you!!!


Manchester is where it is reported that he lived, Ashton-under-Lyne (current name) is where the property was, and Failsworth is where there is another reference to Capt. John and other Worthington’s. A whole book has been about that Worthington family.

Hints to solve another Mystery

September 7, 2015

For years, I have seen references to Samuel Worthington, brother of Capt. John Worthington (1650-1701). But have always lost him in Somerset County, Maryland. Other Worthington researchers have not been able to find any descendants.

In the past couple of Blog posts, I have mentioned that I was looking in the State of Maryland Archives website. I think that I found out why.

GRATED: by 1689, as a free adult.

RESIDED: in Somerset Parish, Somerset County.

FAMILY BACK-GROUND. Possibly related to John Worthington (1650-1701). MARRIED Alice (?-1739/40), daughter of Arnold Elzey, Gent., (?-1733), a justice
of Somerset County, 1693-1699, 1702-1709, and
wife Major Waller. Her brothers were John (1693-
?), who married Anne Catherwood; and Arnold
(1695-?). Her sisters were Sarah (1683-1753);
Elizabeth; Major (1685-?); and Anne (1686-?),
who married first, Robert Catherwood (?-1715),
and second, by 1718, William Stoughton (1692-
1759). Alice married second, Merrick Ellis (?-
1732) of Somerset County.

CHILDREN. Probably died without progeny.

A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al. Volume 426, Page 915

pile of old bricks

I have some follow up to do on this, to see if I can verify what is in this article, so I have a few more bricks to move out of the way to make sure I haven’t miss anything coming forward in time.

Now, I have to go back to the other side of the pond to see if I can find John AND Samuel with their parents.


Image courtesy of GenealogyInTime Magazine http://www.genealogyintime.com – See more at: http://www.genealogyintime.com/GenealogyResources/Wallpaper/free-images.html#sthash.Oke9zsXD.dpuf

Getting Closer RE: Capt John

September 6, 2015

Still looking at the Maryland Archives, identified a number of records whenever I get back down there when I ran across, what may be, THE record I was looking for.


or how about this


Of note, the Marke Cordes mentioned above was also mentioned in the English property transaction in my earlier blog post.

Now to figure out what the document really means.

Was he, or Was he NOT an Indentured Servant?

September 6, 2015

I hope that I have someone to take a look for Capt. John Worthington (1650-1701) in some records, at the Maryland Archives. The long told story is that he came from England in the mid to late 1600’s, probably around 1675. Further, the story was that he was an Indentured Servant of “Lord Baltimore”.

Over the past couple of days, I have been trying to understand WHICH Lord Baltimore, as there may be as many as 7, and when “he” would have crossed the pond, bringing the lad John Worthington.

That was one mistake. The mistake being that John Worthington was “on the boat” with ”Lord Baltimore”. The second mistake was what an Indentured Servant really was. Mistake number two. What I currently understand that term to mean is that someone PAID for the passage of “the indentured servant”.

When of realized those two mistakes, I think I have determined which “Lord Baltimore” paid for his passage. Charles Calvert, the 3rd Barron Baltimore was in Maryland, in 1675. Right “title”, time, and place. Now to find a record of that, and my research says there will be records.

As I have learned in the resent past, and currently teach, BEFORE you visit an Archive, see what that have Online. I did and the Maryland Archives have a number of volumes with Legislative Proceedings on this topic. Haven’t found what I was looking for yet, BUT, I did find this.


A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al. Volume 426, Page 913

A nice profile for Capt. John. My new conflicting information is high lighted. 1678 or 1679 as a FREE Adult.

The full article has too many “probably” statements, I get that, but there are even more questions that come up. His parents names are OK, but later on, there is mention of Samuel Worthington that is “possibly” related to John.

Samuel has a profile as well, but he disappears from records within a generations, I have known about Samuel before and have looked, and he disappears.

Not at all comfortable about this new information.

However, in the profile is mention of a Land Transaction in England 01 February 1676/77 which will be my next “Bright Shiny Object”.

Maryland, Wills and Probate Records–Capt John

September 2, 2015

Just spent the last hour looking at a new record on Ancestry.com


I believe this is the Last Will for Capt. John Worthington (1650 – 1701). It will take a while to transcribe it, but I am certain that it is him.

This document was created in 1699 and it had all of the right children, known at that point, references to other extended members indicating property Capt. John owned. The plantation, on the Severn River was mentioned,

At first, I wasn’t sure, the way that the information was presented on the screen, but reading (what I could) it’s his.

I had a date in my file for when the will was Proved. The date was the same, the year was not, but I think the information I had may have been in error.

Two children weren’t listed, be that was because they were born after the will was written, one of those children died very young, the second carried the name of that baby, and was Charles from whom I descend.

Yesterday I spent a while trying to make the Pendennis connection, the plantation and the castle, so I see a trip to Annapolis, Maryland in my future. Just not seeing any hint as to why Capt. John would name his plantation Pendennis. But, did HE name it or when what his plantation named. Property had names, which the will pointed out and I have other records of, but why Pendennis. Why would at “young lad”, that is Capt. John have that name linked to him.

The Pendennis Castle was involved in a siege in 1646. King Charles I was the King at the time (trying to confirm that), and there was a John Arundel (1576 – 1654) tied to the castle. Arundel being the county, in Maryland, where Capt. John lived.

Thank you Ancestry.com for this new Record Collection. It should keep me busy for a while.

What’s in a Name ? Pendennis

August 31, 2015

A couple of days ago, I was re-organizing some of my genealogy photographs and was reminded of Pendennis Mount across the Severn River from Annapolis in Maryland. This is the photo that I took, Pendennis Mount on the Severn.


It is the name of the plantation that Captain John Worthington (1650-1701) owned. At the bottom of the Mount, is the Maryland War Memorial.


I have been there a number of times, including where Capt. John and his family were initially buried until he and his household were re-interred in the Saint Anne’s Anglican Church in Annapolis.


A photo of a few of his descendants who visited here in September 2000.


In reviewing these photos, I thought I would find the Website I had found earlier on Pendennis to see what I could find. When I had looked earlier (couple of years ago), the location of Pendennis was out of place from where I expected to find it, based on the time, place, and “paper trail” for Capt. John.

When I did a Google Search I found this website:


I knew there were Worthingtons in Falmouth, but the location through me off, so I didn’t pursue it. It being Why Did Capt John name his plantation “Pendennis”? The website, English Heritage had a guide book for Pendennis Castle, so I ordered it. Today, it came in the mail.

Maybe, just maybe, this Bright Shining Object (BSO) will lead to the answer to my question. While looking into this, I will not forget my DNA issue.

Who knows, maybe one of my U.K. Google+ or Blog followers will have some insight on this place. This castle, at least my understanding at the moment, is over 400 years old, well before Capt. John was born.

Letter addressed to Cousin Russ

March 18, 2015

Backing up a couple of days ago, but in the order in which I read this stack of letters, I finally opened this envelope.




It may be difficult to read, but it is addressed to “Cousin Russ”.

Two things about that, 1) If you are on Google+, I am sometimes called that, but 2) that is how some of these letters are addressed, that is to “Cousin ….” Mary, Jody and family, to me, have always been known as our Texas Cousins.

Jody, Mary, and Frances do live in Texas, but the other brother, Will, lives in Arizona. Texas Cousins, none the less.

In the letter / note, Mary said “After Jody’s mother Bernice died in September 1966, I became Aunt Polly’s penpal in her place”, that important, as the letter from Anna to Mary and Jody talked about their Aunt Polly, my Grandmother may not be able to write any more letters and that Anna, my Aunt Anna, would write as she could.

My start in genealogy, now for me Family Research, started from my Texas Cousins, for which I am most grateful. Mary mentioned “There are also 2 letters from Anna and one from Eleanor. I just couldn’t bear to thrown them away.” Thank you Mary.

Now to have time to start to read the letters from Aunt Polly to Mary and Jody


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