Where are the elusive Jackson father and son?

The last time I found William Jackson senior and junior was on the Ireland Australia Transportation database. But did they actually get sent to New South Wales or Van Diemen’s Land or Western Australia?

They were tried at Lifford Assizes in January 1847 and sentenced to seven years transportation. Also convicted at the same time for the same offence were Rebecca Jackson, daughter of William senior, and Jane Steel, another relative but not known how. Two of Jane’s children Mary Jane Gallagher and John Gallagher were also on board the convict ship Waverley when it arrived in Hobart Town with Rebecca and Jane.

Could there be reference to the Jacksons in the CSO CR 77 or 78 files or distress papers of 1847? These files include information about conveyance of prisoners to their next prison ready for embarkation on the convict ships. Where were they sent after Lifford Assizes?

From the database there is reference to them TR 6, p 48.  When I was in Ireland, I checked the files for Rebecca, but not sure if I looked at Williams’ files.

There were no other reference codes mentioned for them on the database so no good looking at Convict reference files or free settlers papers.

But there was no sign of either William arriving in either New South Wales or Van Diemens Land or Western Australia between 1847 – 1853.

According to the Chief Secretary’s Office Registered Papers  from the National Archives of Ireland, male Irish convicts were not sent to Australian colonies between 1846 and 1848. This was due to pressure from the Australian colonialists who wanted transportation to cease.

The new re-modelled system which was put into operation when the transporting of males was resumed in 1848, was a three stage system known as the exile system. Under the exile system each convict was to spend between 12 and 18 months in solitary confinement in prison at home, one to three years on public works in Gibraltar or Bermuda (this applied only to men), leading to the third stage which was transportation to Australia on ticket-of-leave.

It was not possible to operate this system in Ireland because lack of accommodation made it impossible to fulfil the strict 12 to 18 months of solitary confinement which constituted the first phase of the regime. Accommodation consisted of a temporary depot which had been opened at Spike Island in 1846 for men and depots at Cork and Grangegorman, Dublin, for women, both of which were overcrowded because of the increased intake due to the Famine. [1]

So did the two Williams get sent to Spike Island?

There are manuscripts held at the National Library of Ireland showing a convict register of an Irish prison giving particulars of prisoners, including those sent to Bermuda, Van Diemens Land and Gibraltar. ]2]

As William senior was in his late 50’s when convicted, maybe the time he spent in prison was more than he could cope with and he never got transported. But William junior was only 13 when convicted. Were the young convicts kept separately to the old hardened convicts?

Maybe they were kept at the Lifford gaol and according to a paper written about resources relating to the famine, there are local prison records kept. [3]

There are also convict letter books starting in 1842 relating to the convict department. Perhaps a mention there?

Where to search next?

  • TR6 p48 at the NAI – is name of ship mentioned or prison they were sent to – Just checked the AJCP and no mention of ship
  • Prison registers for Lifford Gaol in early 1847  at NAI- does it mention where they were sent to next?
  • Spike Island prison register  Ms 3016 at NLI – were they sent here?
  • Convict letter books at NAI – CON LB 1 26 May 1845-3 February 1851

My Irish readers: Any ideas of other records I could look for that might mention where these elusive Jackson father and son were sent to in January 1847 after being  tried at Lifford assizes.

  1. NAI, CSO RP/1849/G10919
  2. National Library Ireland, Ms. 3016
  3. Department of Justice, Prison Registers, and can be consulted at the National Archives Ireland.

Can you help solve these brickwalls?

Couleur / Pixabay

Tonight’s twitterchat for #ANZAncestryTime was about helping to solve brickwalls.

Many participants had written blogposts or biographies on wikitree including the information known about their person who is a brickwall.

Other participants gave us details so we could help solve them

Sharn: I have traced my Campbell ancestors back to Neil Campbell and Christian Buchanan who had children 1761-1773 in Callender Perthshire but I can’t find a marriage or their births

Margaret: It is my father’s family that is so difficult. For his maternal gmother wikitree.com/wiki/McKinnon-…, we know her father is John. We assume her mother is Isabella from Naming Pattern, possibly Jamison. NO PROOF.

Alex: I had a go at crafting a more focused research question this afternoon. Here it is. Where and when did Robert Forfar die. He married Lucy Swait on 30 Jan 1842 at St James Westminster London UK and had a son George born 23 Oct 1848 and baptised Bannockburn? Lucy Forfar nee Swait died a widow in 1866. I surmise that Robert died some time between 1861 and 1866 as he was paying for George to go to school in Ealing in 1861. Did he die in England? Did he die in Scotland? Did he die somewhere else entirely? Robert was described as a mason on George’s marriage certificate. His family were weavers in Scotland. Forfar as a name presents a whole bunch of problems – spelling and that it is a place name as well. I need to keep rigorous records of my searches.

Kerri-Anne: I’m grateful for how much I know but I’d like to find out more information on my convicts in England Scotland Ireland – Thomas Power Jean MacDonald James Bradley Sarah Barnes Mary Parker Charles Watson Waters Ann Daley Richard Hicks Margaret Howe

Sharn: My g g g grandmother was Mary Williams said to be born in Singleton NSW c 1840 to parents named as Joseph Williams and Mary Kelly. I can’t find this couple or Mary’s birth

Sharn: Would really love to know what became of my g g g uncle Lawrence Frayne, convict who left a wonderful diary from his time on Norfolk Island after he received a Cert of Freedom in 1846

Margaret: I found most of the family for my 2xggfather William Dickson – again DNA matches and lots of research. Now I have to find his parents’ siblings – and his wife – and their missing children.

Hilary: I partially broke a brickwall when I discovered who my 3xgt grandmother married then found a DNA match with her descendants from that marriage My ancestor was illegitimate so I need to confirm the father with another DNA match

KerrieAnne: I am trying to find the origins of my direct maternal line ancestry from Ann MacLean to Robertson and further back – mt dna suggests Viking origins which is no surprise as she was from the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides

Tara: I think of them as learning opportunities and, as 3/4 of my ancestry is Irish, I’ve multiple 19C brick walls. The other 1/4 are English/Welsh origins and I can take most lines back quite far although my Welsh 3GGM is a challenge of her own

Jennifer: My 2x great grandparents John Taylor & Martha Lloyd are my brickwall. They arrived in Aust betw September 1841 and October 1842. They don’t appear on any passenger list. I’ve searched Taylor, Tailor, Tyler

KerrieAnne: Brickwalls – my husband’s direct paternal line challenge – finding Edward Tiearney & Catherine Colligan in Ireland before their emigration to US. Done ydna & got a good match but no real progress to go further back in Connacht Ireland, probably around Carracastle

Claire: my brickwall is probably not solvable. Can’t find marriage of 2x g-grandparents who had 2 kids in 1880s Dublin. No death of man recorded but dead by 1901. I’ve checked every marriage of right names countrywide church/civil & every death in Dublin from year before last kid born to 1901. Not helped by names involved: Reilly/Murphy

Sharn: I would love to know more about the family of my two convict brothers Michael and Lawrence Frayne both born in Dublin c 1809 and 1821 with children between

Suggestions of where to look for information

  • Prison hulks for convicts
  • Scottish kirk session on Scottish Indexes
  • Colonial Secretary letters
  • Occupation records such as Masons
  • National library of Ireland parish registers
  • Census records
  • Newspaper and archives for British and Irish

Try more than one site for your records – GRO, FreeBMD, ScotlandsPeople. With a missing name, I look for another person – then you find the name is mistranscribed, and that’s why it hasn’t come up on the index.

I really think spelling is key. My New Year’s resolution is to write up lists of spelling variations for each surname I am researching and make sure my searches cover all and any more I find.

A tip for breaking down brick walls is to re-examine any certificates or other documents you have. You never know what you might have missed in the past

look at the names of witnesses as sometimes their surnames might be a clue to a real surname after a name change

From Judy

I can’t join #ANZAncestryTime but my Brick Wall tips are (1) Research all relatives; (2) Try neglected sources (bit.ly/3GkDiLv); (3) ’13 Tips to Try’ (tidd.ly/3I1yiwT); (4) ‘Break Through the 1837 Brick Wall’ (tidd.ly/3rHona5).