12 October 2005

New World Pauper or Prince

I find it hard to imagine what life must have actually been like, in 1740, for my ancestor. No matter how many sources I collect, it only amounts into a glimpse of time, a vague moment in reality. Yet, I imagine so much more... until the next piece is found, and redefines the reality around me. Will this be the challenge of my descendants after me? I don't have any records of Urban entering indentured service but I thought that this topic was very important to cover. Most ship's passengers probably couldn't afford the passage fare. This fare was equivalent to about $176.00 in today's terms. I know it doesn't seem like much today, but credit didn't exist then for the poor. Consider the journey leading up to Rotterdam and the day-to-day expenses along the way. In some instances families were broken-up and siblings never seen nor heard from again when those passage debts could not be settled. Payment was often due upon arrival at Philadelphia. Settling these debts usually meant that the person would have to agree to be an indentured servant for two to eight years.