Posted by on January 30, 2011 in Content, Convicts

Ever wondered where your hairy legs come from? Or perhaps it’s your ruddy complexion, flaxen hair or so-called frugal nature…

We often boast about the crimes of our convict ancestors, but with the List of Convicts with Particulars 1788-1842, Australians can now also get a picture of what they looked like.

This collection contains information for 23,000 convicts, ranging from their standing number to detailed physical descriptions and also ‘insightful remarks’ recorded about them by bureaucrats of the day.

Descriptions featured in the collection include:

  • Mr Avery, a Brass Founder from Birmingham, is described as 5’6 tall, with hazel eyes, flaxen hair and a pale complexion. The bureaucrat then goes on to describe him as ‘indolent’.
  • Terrence Rudden, 21 years, convicted in Cavan, Ireland for ‘Administering Unlawful Oaths’ and sentenced to life in the colony, is described as having a dark ruddy complexion, brown hair, hazel grey eyes and hairy legs.

For most of us, it is impossible to know what our ancestors who lived before the invention of photography looked like, and so to get an idea of both their physical description and also a description of their character is very rare indeed.

Many family researchers and enthusiasts will find the physical descriptions detailed in the List of Convicts with Particulars 1788-1842 can help them to piece together yet more of their family’s puzzle, and perhaps even explain the origins of some of their own physical and character traits.

The collection contains various lists of convicts in Australia, including:

  • Alphabetical list of convicts on transports, 1788-1800
  • Chronological list of convicts from places other than the United Kingdom, 1807-1826
  • Statistics of Convict Transports, c.1788-1823
  • Index to Convict Indents, 1801-1818
  • Musters of Convict Ships on arrival providing similar information as the indents, and noting to whom they were assigned, 27 Aug-13 Dec 1823
  • Annotated Printed Indent, 1840-1842

Information listed in these records may include:

  • Name of convict
  • Trade or occupation
  • Conviction place and date
  • Sentence or term
  • Physical description – height, colour, complexion
  • Vessel name

Search List of Convicts with Particulars 1788-1842