British Convict transportation registers database 1787-1867

British Convict Registers

Have you got criminals on your family tree? If so then the British Convict Transportation Registers 1787-1867 database will be of interest to you. It has been compiled from the British Home Office (HO) records which are available at all Australian State Libraries.

The database contains over 123 000 of the estimated 160,000 convicts transported to Australia in the 18th and 19th centuries. Details are given such as names, term of years, transport ships and more.

A search for my ancestor John Silcock gave the following information …

  • John Silcock one of 224 convicts transported aboard the Eliza
  • Departed England 2 February 1831
  • Arrived Van Dieman’s Land
  • Convicted at Southampton Special Gaol Delivery for a term of 7 years.
  • Free pardon.
  • Original source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 89, Class and Piece Number HO11/8, Page Number 5

A search of the original records may given further information, but the index alone gives quite a lot of detail.

Prison Ship Records 1811 – 1843 now online

Prison Ship Records 1811 – 1843 now online

Prison Ship records now online has added to their collection 8,900 records of prisoners who were held on hulks or prison ships. Those with ancestors unfortunate enough to be imprisoned on these hulks will find these records will add to their family history considerably.

Hulk is the term used for ships that were used by the British government to house prisoners, often those who were awaiting transportation to the penal colonies as part of their sentence. As can be imagined the mortality rate for those held on these ships was high, disease was rife as was violence between the guards and the prisoners and between the prisoners themselves.

The time period covered by these records is 1811 – 1843, a time when there was much unrest in England because of the invention of agricultural machinery which meant that many farm workers were unemployed. This transcript collection has been provided to FindMyPast by Barbara Chambers who is sister to Jill Chambers the acknowledged expert on the Swing Riots. A link to Jill’s website is in the links below.

The records are for the following hulks; Bellerophon, Euryalus, Hardy and Antelope, there are also a few records from Parkhurst Prison.

Wikipedia has a good article about prison hulks which you may find useful if you haven’t come across the term before. They also have an article in which there is a list of British prison ships which could be very useful if you have ancestors who worked on these ships as well as if you have ancestors who were the poor souls imprisoned on them. Links to these websites is below.

Below is an example of an entry for John Taylor.

First name(s) John
Last Name Taylor
Hulk Bellerophon
Recieved From Justitia Hulk Woolwich 19 February 1823
Age 14
Status Boy
Offence Felony
Where And When Convicted Durham 27 February 1822
Sentence 7 years
When Mitigated
How & When Disposed Of
Married Or Single
Read Or Write
Character From Gaoler A notorious bad character





Warwickshire Online Databases

Whilst we are on the subject of Warwickshire …….. the Warwickshire Record Office has a range of online databases which would be very helpful to those with Warwickshire family.

Victuallers Database
The Victuallers database is a database containing details of licensed victuallers in Warwickshire from 1801-1828. The information has been taken from the series of registers of calendars of Victuallers’ Recognizances held by the County Record Office.

Tithe Apportionments Database
Tithe Apportionments database contains information from the Warwickshire tithe apportionments, produced after the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836. Not all our parishes have apportionments, but those that have now appear on this website and the data entry is complete.

Calendar of Prisoners
The Calendars of Prisoners database is an index to the ‘Calendars of Prisoners’ or lists of those held in the County Prisons (in Warwick, Birmingham and Coventry) for trial at the Courts of Assize and the Quarter Sessions courts held in Warwick between 1800 and 1900.

Windows on Warwickshire
Windows on Warwickshire is a searchable database of images of historic photographs and other items held at Warwickshire museums, archives and libraries, as well as Compton Verney Art Gallery and Warwick Castle.

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Middlesex Convict Records 1682 – 1787

Ancestry has just put online Middlesex Convict Transportation Contracts, 1682-1787. Transportation was a punishment for convicted criminals in England and other parts of the British Empire, came about in the seventeenth century. At first transportation was primarily to America and the Caribbean. However, transportation to America stopped with the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in 1776 and a new penal colony in Australia was developed. Transportation was formally abolished in 1868, but had not been practiced for nearly a decade before that.

What’s Included?

This is a collection of Middlesex Quarter Sessions Court orders for convicts to be transferred to British Colonies. Specifically the convicts were transferred to America, the Caribbean, or, in later years, Australia. Information available in these contracts includes:

  • Convict Name
  • Ship Name
  • Captain Name
  • Destination
  • Transfer Dates

These records can be used to help find court records relating to the original conviction. Search the records for the Middlesex Quarter Sessions Court for more information.

Paths to Crime

clip_image002There is an interesting blog written by the staff of the Bedfordshire Record Office called Paths to Crime. The blog concerns itself with documents and their stories that are coming to light due to the Paths to Crime project

The aim of this two year project is to catalogue and repackage the Bedfordshire Quarter Sessions Rolls from 1831-1900. This collection of court papers will be a valuable resource for both the family and social historian.

The latest blog is called And Your Name Is ?. Well worth a read and shows what a great resource these Quarter Session Rolls are.


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