I have an ancestor who left Northern Ireland (probably County Down) sometime around 1745-1750 and settled in York County, Pennsylvania. I think he may have come to America as an indentured servant for a few years, and then set out on his own. I am trying to confirm whether he was, in fact, an indentured servant.
James Leyburn's book "The Scotch-Irish" said that thousands of immigrants who came from Northern Ireland in the 1700s were too poor to pay for their passage. Instead, they would agree to work as indentured servants for a few years in exchange for paid passage to America. Leyburn's book also said that the legislature in Pennsylvania set certain rules for these contracts of indenture. One rule was that the indentured servant was entitled to fifty acres of land at the end of the contract (usually four to seven years).
My question is this: When the indentured servant received his warrant for fifty acres, was his warrant any different from the warrants issued to other types (non-indentured) of immigrants? In other words- is there a way to tell, by looking at the warrant, or by the type of warrant, whether someone was an indentured servant or not?
My ancestor received a warrant for fifty acres in Hallam Township, York County, PA on September 10, 1750. I have a scanned copy of the warrant. I'd like to try to figure out whether he was in America for a few years before 1750, serving out a contract of indentured servitude.