I am going to separate the sources to use when searching for your convict. As more sources are mentioned in discussions, I will add to the relevant pages.
Back in the home country prior to transportation.
- Scottish criminal trials – National archives of Scotland – JC26 but these are not online – you can use the index to find certain information – the actual records often have 100’s of pages including witness statements etc – maybe use a Scottish researcher or contact the archives to have it sent to you by mail or email maybe.
- Convicts tried in London – Old Bailey online,
- Ancestry.com – HO26 and HO27 series – good for checking if convict had previous offences at a petty session or assize court
- British newspapers – found in the UTAS library while you are a student or in local libraries as part of the Gale collection – British Newspaper Archive online here but costs – or more online at Find My Past
- Irish gaol records – Find my past online – or an index at Familysearch online
- Irish newspapers online – often have to pay for these
- Hulk registers – National Archives UK – ADM6 online at Find My Past
- Hulk registers – Ancestry.com – HO9 online
- UK institutions for crime, prison and punishment
- County records – England – Warwickshire calendar of prisoners from assize records, Lincolnshire convicts transported, Parkhurst boys from Devonshire, early convicts transported from Devon, Gaol records at bottom of page for Bedfordshire, index from York Assizes (some gaps),
- County records – Ireland transportation database – County Down,
- Search for a name and it goes through many other connected sources,
- Digital Panopticon relates mainly to Old Bailey convicts
- Special groups of convicts – Hampshire workhouse rioters, Political convicts, thesis PDF Swing Rioters and Machine Breakers,
After court and given sentence of transportation, most male convicts were loaded into carts while shackled and taken to the port areas of Portsmouth, Plymouth , the Solent or Thames Estuary. From here, loaded into a rowing boat and taken out to the floating hulk where they lived until put on a convict ship to Australia. There were also hulks in Dunleary Harbour Dublin (Dun Laoghaire) and Cove in County Cork. Men were put to work in hard labour while on the hulks.
Female convicts did not spend time on hulks but straight to the convict ship. There were over 4000 children accompanied their mother to Australia. So females didn’t have time to recover from the road journey to the ships in London before they were actually on the seas heading to Australia so often more deaths or diseases occurred if the female lived a long way from London.
Here is a link to teaching resources about the hulks including primary sources about life on board.
Life on the seas coming to Australia
- Surgeon reports onboard of sickness, general info from National Archives UK with links to PDFs
- Ancestry link to UK Royal Navy Medical Journals
- Conditions on board the convict ships
- Online game to play with grandkids or kids about the voyage to Van Diemen’s Land
- Paper by Deb Norris on the lives of children on board the convict ships PDF
- A bit about Charles Bateson’s book and life on board
Here are some links to get you started:
Convicts sent from Canada, Founders and survivors group, convict freedoms,glossary relating to female convicts, LINC Tas convict records, Female convictsTasmania, claim your convict, Tasmanian orphan school records,