Ancestry.com.au’s collection of more than 2.3 million convict records will be available to search for FREE to the public for 11 days beginning January 20 in honour of Australia Day.
With more than four million Australians having descended from convicts1, approximately one in five can claim convict history and will likely have an ancestor included in the collection.
Our extensive convict collection includes records from the England and Wales Criminal Registers, the Convict Transportation Registers, Convict Muster Rolls, Convict Applications to Marry, Convict Death Registers, and a variety of other record sets documenting the trial, journey, working life, release and death of the majority of convicts transported.
Convict records offer a unique peek into the window of early Australian history, providing researchers not only with invaluable information to paint a portrait of their ancestor, but also with clues to their ancestors’ place of birth and country of origin, allowing them to investigate earlier family history.
Notable Australians who can proudly claim convict history include:
- Maggie Beer – Celebrity Chef and 2010 Senior Australian of the Year
Her 3xgreat-grandmother was a convict thief and her 3xgreat-grandfather a bigamist who was convicted after three simultaneous marriages. They met after both were transported to Australia.
- Tony Windsor, MP – Independent Federal Minister for New England
His 2xgreat-grandfather was transported to NSW on the ship Midas in 1827 (the same boat as the aforementioned James Tucker) after stealing wet bedding from a clothes line and eventually died in Darlinghurst Gaol after being convicted of horse stealing.
- Rod Marsh – Cricketer
His great-grandfather (by adoption) was transported to Australia after being charged with manslaughter following a late night brawl which resulted in a man being shot.
Australia Day is all about national pride and so is a great time to stop and think about the unique way in which our country was founded and by whom.
For those wanting to explore their early Australian heritage, like it or not, chances are that convict records will not only be the right place to start, but will also reveal colourful stories which will actually make you proud to be Australian.
1 The Australian Constitution Referendum Study, 1999