The institution of apprenticeship was a common means of providing for the maintenance and future self-reliance of orphaned children as well as for any children whose parents had abandoned them or otherwise refused to support them. Apprenticeship records are ordinarily buried among volumes of original county court minute books. They are nonetheless valuable to genealogists because they establish the existence of young people who might otherwise go undetected in the more conventional genealogical sources.
Just as he did for 29 counties of East Tennessee, Dr. Alan Miller has sifted through the apprenticeship records of Middle Tennessee and brought them within the reach of the genealogy researcher. This second volume of Tennessee’s “forgotten children” contains some 7,000 apprenticeship records scattered among the minutes of the county courts for Middle Tennessee. These records span the period from 1784 to 1902 and list in tabular form the apprenticeships created in the following 35 Tennessee counties: Bedford, Cannon, Cheatham, Clay, Coffee, Davidson, DeKalb, Dickson, Franklin, Giles, Grundy, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, Montgomery, Moore, Overton, Perry, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Stewart, Sumner, Van Buren, Warren, Wayne, White, Williamson, and Wilson.
Dr. Miller extracted this volume from county court minutes on microfilm obtained from the Tennessee State Archives, the Dallas Public Library, and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. He has arranged the records by county and thereunder chronologically. For each record we are given the name of the apprentice, a date (either the date of the original bond or indenture, or a subsequent date), the age at apprenticeship, the name of the master, and miscellaneous information ranging from the name of the mother or a sibling, race, cause of apprenticeship (e.g., orphan), his/her trade, etc.