In the present context, a headright was a grant of 50 acres to a Virginia settler. Anyone paying for the transportation of another person into the colony was entitled to that person's headright. The use of headrights was a popular means of acquiring land in Virginia, but the headright system often led to abuses; i. e., sometimes persons were "imported" more than once without actually leaving the colony. One thing to keep in mind: the date of a land patent listing headrights does not necessarily match the date that the person named as a headright arrived in the colony. The date of the patent only indicates that the person named as a headright had arrived in the colony by that date. The person whose name was used as a headright may not have been imported by the person getting the patent. Headrights were commodities that could be bought and sold. The person whose transportation was paid for by another incurred a debt that usually was repaid by seven years of indentured servitude. The bond was known as an indenture, because the terms of the agreement were copied twice on a large piece of parchment and then cut apart in a wavy line or indenture. Each party got a copy, which could be matched together later if a question about authenticity arose. I have some references on the subject, but with everything temporarily packed up, I will have to get back to you later.
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