Was your an­ces­tor trans­ported?

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - FOCUS ON -

From the early 1600s trans­porta­tion was used as a means of pun­ish­ment, with the ship­ping of con­victs orig­i­nally from the Bri­tish Isles to the West Indies and Amer­ica. In the late-18th and 19th cen­turies, over­crowd­ing in Bri­tish pris­ons led to the rein­tro­duc­tion of trans­porta­tion, with the first pris­on­ers trav­el­ling on the First Fleet of Con­victs to Aus­tralia in 1787. Some 160,000 con­victs were trans­ported to Aus­tralia be­tween 1787 and 1867, in­clud­ing dur­ing the Swing Ri­ots of 1830-1831. Pris­on­ers await­ing trans­porta­tion were housed in prison hulks, which were de­com­mis­sioned wooden ships ini­tially moored in the River Thames. Trans­porta­tion was largely re­placed by pe­nal servi­tude in 1853 and it ended com­pletely in 1868.

The Na­tional Ar­chives holds the trans­porta­tion records, in­clud­ing quar­terly re­turns of con­victs in pris­ons and prison hulks in HO 8 (1802-1876), prison hulk reg­is­ters and let­ter books in HO 9 (1802-1849) and reg­is­ters of con­victs on prison hulks in ADM 6 (1818-1831). Records in HO 10 in­clude ma­te­rial about con­victs’ par­dons and tick­ets of leave from New South Wales and Tas­ma­nia (1834-1859), while HO 11 holds the Con­vict Trans­porta­tion Reg­is­ters. You can down­load both se­ries for free us­ing TNA’s Dis­cov­ery cat­a­logue at dis­cov­ery.na­tion­alarchives.gov.uk.

TNA se­ries HO 9 (1802-1849) can be ac­cessed via ances­try.co.uk, and HO 8 (1824-1854) and ADM 6 (1818-1831) through find­my­past.co.uk. The­Ge­neal­o­gist.co.uk also has the Con­vict Trans­porta­tion Reg­is­ters for 1787-1867.

There are many web­sites de­voted to trans­porta­tion records. A good place to start is the Con­victs to Aus­tralia web­site at mem­bers. iinet.net.au/~perthdps/con­victs. The State Li­brary of Queens­land has a search­able con­vict data­base at slq.qld.gov.au/re­sources/ fam­ily-his­tory/con­victs.

A farmer ex­plains his act of ar­son to a cler­gy­man dur­ing the Swing Ri­ots

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