Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) Craftsman Database Search

by | Jan 31, 2021 | 0 comments

Do you happen to have a carpenter in your family tree?  How about a blacksmith?  A bricklayer?  Or any of 127 different crafts practiced in the American South (coopers NOT included, more’s the pity).  This is your lucky day!  I have just stumbled over this bit of magic!  The The MESDA Craftsman Database is an awesome resource.

Search to Discover

As a I often do, I was running Google Book searches on random ancestors, just to see.  Upon entering “Benedictus Horsington” into the box, the first thing to pop up was from The Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts.  Only a very confusing snippet was viewable, so I searched for the journal.  Which I found, in full, through the Internet Archive.  It took a bit to find the right issue.  But, at last, Volume 25, No. 1, p. 172:

But what does it mean?  To find out, I went to the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts website.  The Research tab led me to the database. 

Name and Occupation

Benedictus Horsington

When I typed “Horsington, Benedictus” into the appropriate field, I got the three records referred to in the journal.  I clicked the apprenticeship record:

I’ve long suspected that Benedictus was the son of Thomas Horsington and wife, Katherine, who I’ve seen in Princess Anne County records.  However, I’ve had no proof.  Now, I do.  I got more details when I looked up his Master.

Thomas Burns, Joiner of Norfolk County, Virginia

One wonders what kind of role model Master Burns was to his young apprentice!

Andrew Lathinghouse, bricklayer, Gloucester County, Virginia

Filled with elation, and curiosity, I next searched for “Lathinghouse.”  Well, our dear Andrew, living in Gloucester County (this was news to me!), indentured himself to William Taylor of James City County 13 Sep 1708.  This indenture was supposed to last until “ye last day of March in ye yeare…Seven hundred and ten.” However, Taylor sold him to the Honorable Robert Carter, Esq. 3 Nov 1708.  With little option, and, I would imagine, tons of frustration, Andrew agreed to serve Mr. Carter for an unspecified period after the original indenture expired.  This occurred 9 Mar 1709.  All of this took place in Lancaster County.  Why articles of indenture of a man in Gloucester County to another from James City County happened in Lancaster County, I have no clue.


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