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

Library of Congress Subject Headings

The Library of Congress has many items to help you research your colonial-era ancestors who may have arrived in America as convicts, indentured servants, or apprentices. Some records have been transcribed and published. You may find it helpful to read about specific places or ethnic groups.

Check the Library of Congress online catalog to search for published materials about convicts, indentured servants, and apprentices. Here is how to use Library of Congress subject headings to find what you're looking for:

  • Go to the catalog and select the Browse option.
  • From the pull-down menu, select “SUBJECTS beginning with.”
  • Then enter a subject heading in the search box (see below).
  • You will get a list of subject headings beginning with those words. Click on any subject heading to see a list of works on that subject; then click on any title to access its bibliographic record.
  • Please note that works published before 1925 may have links in their records to freely accessible online electronic versions.

You'll find that the subject headings below may be particularly useful. They are linked to the online catalog.