We have just added two key collections to the world’s largest online collection of Australian convict records.
For Australians exploring convict history, the NSW Convict Indents, 1788-1842 provides the ideal starting point, as all convicts on ships transported to Australia were listed in an indent. Details such as name, trial date/location, and sentence are available, with later records also including occupation, to whom a convict was assigned, nativity and detailed physical description.
As early Australian convicts and free settlers established themselves in their new country, almost all aspects of their lives and activities fell under the responsibility of the Governor and were recorded by the colonial secretaries. The NSW Colonial Secretary’s Papers, 1788-1856, are the most comprehensive collection of public records relating to the early years of Australia, following the arrival of the First Fleet.
These records paint a vivid picture of day-to-day life in early Australia as they contain all the letters and records associated with the daily activities of colonial administration in NSW. This includes letters and complaints received, marriage permission requests, character memorials for potential settlers, petitions by convicts for sentence mitigation, pardons, official visit reports, grant or lease applications, information about court cases, import and transportation permits, proclamations, office appointments, affidavits notifying loss of certificates of freedom and tickets of leave.
While most early Australians can be found in these collections, some of the most notable public figures and convict heroes include:
Australia Day is an occasion to not only celebrate our great country, but a day to reflect on who we are, where we came from and how our early history shaped our country’s character, attitude and culture.
These new records are a significant addition to our collection, which now surpasses the one billion record mark on the site. They provide one of the most detailed snap shots of the day-to-day life of early Australia and those who founded our country.
These convict records are free to search from 26 January – 29 January 2012. Simply go to www.ancestry.com.au/convict2012 to begin searching.
[i] The Australian Constitution Referendum Study, 1999
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