Norfolk County, Virginia Apprentice Records


Surviving apprentice bonds for Norfolk County are few and far between. Norfolk County (and Lower Norfolk County before that) have been around for several hundred years, yet there are only 203 actual bonds in the Virginia State Annex of the archives. This book was constructed by going line by line through the Minute Books and Order Books. Entries are arranged chronologically for surviving apprentice bonds dated 23 November 1709 to 16 March 1819 and offer varying amounts of information.
Not all children who are listed as Colored are African American as Indians were also considered persons of color. As in all genealogy, race is a perception made at the time of the entry by our ancestors and all perception is not the same.

“There were multiple reasons for binding out a child…. If the parent (or surviving parent) could not support the child or pay the annual tithe on the child (white males only or persons of color) they would be bound out rather than risk them becoming a ward of the county. They were also bound out if the county decided that the parent was not capable of teaching the child a trade or caring for the child. Illegitimate children were normally bound out by the county as well as any child where the father died, as women were not expected to be able to support a child or be a good influence on a young child. Children who were of the “age of reason” (normally 14) could bind themselves out to learn a trade. This type of apprenticeship was arranged between the child (or his parent) and the craftsman and then submitted to the court to have it approved and recorded. Children were often bound out to relatives since the relative knew the child (and their parents) and would also know the work ethic or capabilities of the child. Although most of the children were bound out within Norfolk County, they could be bound out to another parish or even to another county although that was less likely to happen.”
Although this book is devoted to Norfolk County, it includes earlier records from the Lower Norfolk County time period. A full-name index adds to the value of this work.

Sharon Rea Gable

2024, 8½x11, paper, , 160 pp
ISBN: 9780788427770