More Emigrants in Bondage, 1614-1775. Peter Wilson Coldham. Softcover, 2002, 219 pp.
Between 1614 and 1775 more than 50,000 English men, women, and children were
sentenced to be deported to the American colonies for crimes ranging from the
theft of a handkerchief to bigamy or highway robbery. After years of painstaking
research, the names of nearly all those transported were extracted from official
court records by Peter Coldham and published in the landmark work The
Complete Book of Emigrants in Bondage in 1988 and its Supplement in
1992, forming the largest and most complete passenger list of its kind ever
published. From this unexpected source the researcher at last had the means of
learning the names of the persons transported to the colonies, the charges
against them, the dates and places of sentencing, the ship names, and the places
of arrival in the colonies.
The original volume of Emigrants in Bondage published in 1988
acknowledged that there were some notable omissions from the list of transported
felons then printed, which remained to be researched and remedied. The
Supplement of 1992 began to supply the omissions, but now with the
publication of More Emigrants in Bondage, Mr. Coldham has closed the
remaining gaps. Altogether there are some 9,000 new and amended records in this
important new work, which is arranged and annotated in the same way as the
parent volume. To the original list of 50,000 records, these additions come as a
windfall, arising from the availability of previously closed archival resources
and the re-examination of conventional transportation records such as Assize
Court records, Circuit Court records, and the quaintly-named Sheriffs' Cravings,
to which can be added newspapers and printed memoirs.
The addition of 9,000 records to the canon makes this the most important list
of ships' passengers to be published in years. Whether as a list of additions or
corrections, this new work is an indispensable tool in the researcher's arsenal,
and anyone using the parent volume and supplement cannot possibly ignore this
volume. Questions about the peopling of colonial America come readily to mind
when looking at a book like this--questions about ancestors, too--and the
answers found here are both challenging and surprising.