Tripping off to Ireland

One of my hard to research ancestors is Rebecca Jackson. As I was going to a conference in USA in June 2014, I decided to divert to Ireland for three weeks prior to the conference. No good just spending a week overseas when you have to travel to and from Australia. You have to make the most of travelling time.

What did I know about her before I left?

Rebecca was tried in County Donegal on 1 January 1847 for stealing wearing apparel. There were three other people tried for the same offence. William Jackson Senior, William Jackson Junior and Sarah Steele. She was Presbyterian, could read a little and her native place was County Donegal. She departed Dublin on 19 July 1847 on the ship Waverley with Sarah Steele onboard as well.

So where do I go from there? What do I need to find out?

I knew that many records from Ireland had been lost in a fire in Dublin many years ago, but what was left to use? With so much online now, I decided to contact the Donegal Archives on Facebook to get some clues from them. I knew I would be visiting there at some stage of my journey. They said all convict records were at the National Archives in Dublin. As I was flying into Dublin I decided to stay a week there and spend lots of time at the archives, library and museum. I was also visiting schools as part of this trip but you can read about that on my other blog written by a little Tasmanian Devil soft toy.

National Archives of Ireland

Checked the convict records there but they were exactly the same as those I could find here in Australia as part of the AJCP. Disappointed I had a chat with the archivist on duty when I registered for my ticket to use the resources at the archives. He said if Rebecca and the two Williams were all from the same family then their crime might be mentioned in the Outrage papers for Donegal. I had never heard of these but they were a godsend. I checked for 1846 and 1847 seeing as they were on trial early in 1847.

What I found out will be my next post.


Just re-read the convict records and noticed Jane Steel at age 53 was single(not widow) so she can’t be William’s sister, maybe she is the sister of his wife ….

Rebecca Jackson

Rebecca is one of my ‘hard to find out anything about’ convicts. All I know is that her native place was county Donegal in Ireland. She was Presbyterian and could read a little. She was convicted of stealing wearing apparel. It was her first conviction and Sarah STEELE (?) was also on board for the same offence. She was an exemplary convict according to the surgeon’s report.

Her description says she was 5 feet 1 inch tall, age 17, with a fair complexion, large head and mouth, small nose and chin, brown hair and eyebrows, blue eyes, an oval visage and high forehead.

She was tried at Donegal on 1 January 1847 and departed Dublin on the ship Waverley 3 on 19 July 1847. On arrival in Van Diemens Land on 25 October 1847, she was assigned to the ship Anson which was moored in the Derwent River. After 6 months she was given 3rd class status, her ticket of leave on 2 July 1850 and her certificate of freedom 3 January 1854. Marriage to John ENGLAND was approved on 20 September 1854 and they did the deed on 16 October 1854 at St Georges Church, Battery Point, Hobart.


Since my recent trip to Ireland I have more news about Rebecca. She is no longer labelled ‘hard to find out anything about’.