First Fleeters in your family history? Do you have a first fleeter in your family history? Or are you missing someone around 1787? If so then it would be worth searching this database. Many genealogists must have ancestors who made up the first fleet. For those who aren’t familiar with the term First Fleeter let me explain …….. The First Fleeters is the name given to the group of eleven ships which sailed to Australia in 1787. The ships were the HMS Supply, HMS Sirius (both Royal Navy escort ships), Alexander, Charlotte, Friendship, Lady Penrhyn, Prince of Wales, Scarborough (all convict transport), Golden Grove, Fishburn & Borrowdale (food and supplies transport ships).
They left Portsmouth on 13 May 1787 and arrived at Botany Bay between the 18th and 20th January 1788. Amazing that they managed to sail so closely together for so many days. If you find ancestors who sailed on these ships then don’t assume they were convicts or sailors, there were also civil officers and paying passengers who simply thought Australia might offer them a better life. The purpose of the fleet was to establish a penal colony so that Britain could transport those who had fallen foul of the law, often the offences were minor, but that didn’t make any difference to the outcome.
This University of Wollongong website offers a searchable database of the people who were part of the First Fleet. Also there are numerous links to other sites concerning these brave souls who were present at the birth of modern Australia. The search form has several options alongside the obvious surname and first name there is ship, crime, place of trial, age, sentence etc.
A good website that will enable those who know that their ancestor was a first fleeter to learn more, but will also prove to be valuable for those who have an ancestor who has mysterious disappeared from home around 1787.
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