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Indentured Servants, Apprentices, and Convicts: Finding Family Histories at the Library of Congress


Newspapers advertised new shipments of convicts and indentured servants. When the situation became unbearable, some servants and convicts ran away, prompting the publication of descriptions and rewards for returning these runaways.

At the Library of Congress, you can access newspapers through print archives, microfilm, digital collections, and subscription databases. From the comfort of your home or local library, you can explore our online tools, such as Chronicling America to discover thousands of digitized newspapers and the Directory of U.S. Newspapers to locate the physical archives of newspapers that have not yet been scanned. If you can narrow your search to a specific newspaper and date, you can submit a request to the Library of Congress Newspaper and Current Periodicals Division or to Duplication Services to acquire a copy of an issue or article. (A fee may be required.)

Digital Collections

The Library of Congress has digitized hundreds of thousands of historic newspaper titles which are available 24/7 through its website. These collections and directories of resources are listed below.

Subscription Databases

The subscription resources marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.