GHL Blog Rotating Header Image

The History of Apprenticeships in North Carolina (part 3)

Share Button
Apprentice and master

Courtesy of

Today’s post is the last of the series on apprentice bonds. On January 21, 2013, I talked about the history of apprenticeships in North Carolina. Last week on February 11, 2013 I talked about laws regarding apprenticeships. Today I want to share some examples of what you might find in apprentice bond records.

In 1770, a free African American child born out of wedlock was bound out in Granville County.  Below is an excerpt from the record.

Dicey Bass Apprentice Bond, Granville County 1770

Dicey Bass Apprentice Bond, Granville County 1770. North Carolina State Archives call number C.R.044.101.7

From this, we learn that Dicey Bass was base born – this is also referred to as a bastard or born out of wedlock. This information leads us to another source of information for Dicey by looking at the Bastardy Bonds located in the North Carolina State Archives. (Note: Bastardy Bonds are bonds against the mother so one would need the mothers name. Often they were filed when the child was an infant or while the mother was still pregnant.) We learn that she was mulatto and my prior research on this family shows that she was a free African American during this time. Also, we learn her mother is Lovey Bass and that Dicey is about 4 years old. Another clue that she is a free African American is that she is bound out until age 21. Remember from last week, the 1762 law stated all white females were only bound until age 18, all other females until age 21.

In 1787, a girl in Granville County was bound out. This child was only 1 year old, and surprisingly not the youngest I’ve seen bound out.

Betsey Lankford Apprentice Bond, Granville County, 1787

Betsey Lankford Apprentice Bond, Granville County, 1787. North Carolina State Archives call number C.R.044.101.7

From this, we learn not only her age, but the month, day, and year she was born (October 3rd the previous year, which was 1786). The reason why she was bound out is not said. To learn that information it would be good to check through the Civil Action Papers in the North Carolina State Archives to see if there is more information.

Leaving Granville County and moving south to Richmond County, there is a bond dated 1870.

Manda Griffin Apprentice Bond, Richmond County 1870

Manda Griffin Apprentice Bond, Richmond County 1870. State Library of North Carolina microfilm call number C.082.10001

Manda Griffin is an orphan age 16 and she is bound to Benjamin Griffin. Since she is an orphan, this may be an uncle, older brother, cousin, etc. Further research would need to be done to determine the relationship. A good place to start in this case is with Civil Action Papers located in the North Carolina State Archives. Although we don’t know exactly how old she is to the day, we can see that she is 16 years old and 9 months. The bond is from October 1870, so we can determine her to have been born around February 1854. We can also determine she is white since the age listed as the the end of her apprenticeship is 18.

This is a petition to the court to bind out a child named William Red (or possibly Reed or Reid) in Richmond County.

William Red or Reed Apprentice Bond, Richmond County 1900

William Red/Reed, Petition to Apprentice, Richmond County 1900. State Library of North Carolina microfilm call number C.082.10001

From the petition we can determine that the mother is Ellen Red who is an “idiot”, that the child William is illegitimate, and he is age 12. In the actual bond (not pictured) dated September 3, 1900, the only information given is his name and age. This is an example of extra information you might learn by going through Civil Action Papers as well.

Finally, the original records are located at the North Carolina State Archives. The Archives have also created microfilm versions of some of the apprentice bonds. These microfilms are available in our library for Interlibrary Loan if you are a North Carolina Resident. Check the catalog of the  Government & Heritage Library. Use the county and the word apprentice as your search terms (for example: “Granville County Apprentice”) to see what is available in our library.

In addition, we do have some books that provide abstracts of apprentice bonds for various counties.  Some search results from our online catalog may be microfilm and some may be books.  None of our genealogy books circulate via Interlibrary Loan.

If you are not a North Carolina resident and do not know when or even if your ancestor was bound out as an apprentice, one other possible location for microfilm records is the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Visit your local Family History Center and you can request any microfilm in their catalog.

Finally, if you would like to contact GHL for assistance with looking in a book of ours for apprentices, please view the following information before making your request: To request copies of documents from the State Archives, please view their website for specific guidelines to follow based on your residency:


  1. Thanks to my father who shared with me on the topic of this website, this web site is really

  2. […] Bastardy bonds and apprentice bonds  (from the colonial era up through 1913) are useful in determining one or both parents of an illegitimate child. Bastardy bonds are against the mother so you need to know the mother’s name., The father is sometimes named in these bonds if the mother is willing to name him. Apprentice bonds are also helpful.  If your ancestor was apprenticed as a child (and this could be done at a very young age) the bond often will list the parent’s child.  For example, Dulaney Swinney was apprenticed to Atkin McLemore in Granville County, NC in 1756. Dulaney was noted to be the son of Moses Swinney.  If the child’s named parent is the mother, then the child may have been born out or wedlock.  Checking the bastardy bonds would be beneficial. […]

  3. […] found, in my own research over the years, 4 types of county records that can be especially helpful: apprentice bonds, court records, guardian records, and […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This blog is a service of the State Library of North Carolina, part of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Blog comments and posts may be subject to Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties.