History 4 All
how to trace YOUR family tree.
Newsletter No.10 – July 2007.
Family Tree Maker UK Edition 2006
Featured Article –
Australia, (a) Convicts article, (b) Useful Australian websites.
3. Help wanted - Need any help?
Latest news from Ancestry
What’s new on our site?
Next month’s article.
this message finds you all in good health. This past month has see another increase in subscribers, so to all our new subscribers a big
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Due to some technical difficulties (mainly links not
working properly), we have decided that future newsletters will be 'Online
only'. We hope this does not spoil your enjoyment of our newsletter.
I wrote last month: "I hope those of you in the UK have survived the recent wet
weather. Here in South Yorkshire we have had it very bad with some people
seeing their homes ruined by the deluge. I've seen sights that I have
never seen before in this part of the world. Thankfully as I write this newsletter the rains have
stopped. Lets hope that the sun shines tomorrow."
Well unfortunately the rains did not stop and indeed we
have suffered even more flooding throughout the UK in the past few weeks.
Our hearts and prayers go out to all those suffering as a result of the
atrocious weather. To everyone we ask, please give whatever you can afford
to your local appeals, to help those suffering.
to the archives so you can refer to previous issues:
Australia is a country in
the southern hemisphere comprising the mainland of the world's smallest
continent, the major island of Tasmania and a number of other islands in
the Southern, Indian and Pacific Oceans. The neighbouring countries are
Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon
Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the north-east, and New Zealand to
The Australian mainland has been inhabited for more than
42,000 years by Indigenous Australians. After sporadic visits by fishermen
from the north and by European explorers and merchants starting in the
17th century, the eastern half of Australia was claimed by the British in
1770 and initially settled through penal transportation as part of the
colony of New South Wales on 26 January 1788. As the population grew and
new areas were explored, another five largely self-governing Crown
Colonies were established during the 19th century.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies became a federation,
and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed. Since federation, Australia
has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system and remains a
Commonwealth Realm. The capital city is Canberra, located in the
Australian Capital Territory. The population is 21 million, and is
concentrated in the mainland state capitals of Sydney, Melbourne,
Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.
UK New South Wales and Tasmania, Convict Musters, 1806-1849
Convict Ancestry - Shame or
Pride? by Wayne Thomas
"This was the largest
forced exile of citizens in pre-modern history. Nothing in earlier
penology compares with it.....No other country had such a birth..."
Robert Hughes - 'The Fatal Shore'
So you think you may have a
few convict skeletons in the family closet?
You are one of the lucky ones!!
What was once considered a shameful association to be covered up at all
costs is now, for most with Australian ancestry, a source of pride.
Convict ancestry, if discovered in your family tree, can open up a whole
new world for the novice genealogist.
Documentation, generally, has valuable additions to what you may find from
a birth, death or marriage certificate. Details, in particular
distinguishing physical characteristics, are noted on certain records.
Court reports, if discovered, will also be the source of a wealth of
information on that 'infamous' ancestor. And let's be fair on these
people, they were not all murderers, rapists and professional burglars.
Many were 'transported' for petty crimes such as stealing a loaf of bread
or a handkerchief. Life was harsh back then, and if you were poor it was
often a choice of steal or starve.
Transportation was 7 years for the
stealing of goods worth less than a shilling (about $50 in today's value),
and then upwards to 14 years or life for other crimes. The 'System', as it
was called, lasted for 90 years and in that time approximately 165,000 men
and women and, incredibly, *children, were sent to Australia from Britain.
Once their time was served they could return to their homeland or, as was
the case with most, get their Ticket of Leave and be absorbed into the
colonial society as free citizens. Many, in fact, did go on to become
leading members of the community and well respected.
One in five of those transported were women and, unlike the men, it was
usually on the first offence that this punishment was meted out.
The question inevitably arises - why was the 'System' necessary in the
first place? For the answer to that we need to understand what life was
like back then in Britain, and a good place to start is the city of
London. The largest city, London was representative of many cities all
over Britain at that time, only worse because of its size and rapid
Between 1750 and 1850 the population tripled. This explosion was fuelled
by the 'Enclosure System" which forced many people off the land. The Lord
of the Manor owned all that the peasants produced - houses, animals, food
and in return they were allowed to work their own strip of land. As
populations increased, there were less strips to go around until
eventually all the land was combined and 'enclosed' by fences or hedges
and farmed as one piece of land.
In the cities poverty was rife and in consequence so was crime. There was
a belief at the time in a criminal class from which it was thought the
criminal 'mentality' could be passed on to others. Initially these
'criminals' were sent to **America and the Caribbean until the American
Revolution. Up till then free settlers bought these indentured labourers,
so unlike the Australian 'experiment' this solution had more economic
merit, because as soon as the felons stepped ashore they ceased costing
England a farthing.
Prisons were hopelessly overcrowded in Britain, therefore, prisoners had
to be placed in 'hulks', which were old rotting ships moored at the docks.
Extra prisoners were arriving at the rate of 1000 per year so this
'solution' was quickly becoming unmanageable. Australia solved the problem
beautifully as a destination for transportees. The overcrowded prisons
were freed up and there was virtually unlimited labour for the new colony.
The 'experiment' failed in respect of the hoped for 'purification' of
Britain because the problem lay within the society, not the criminal. It
did succeed however, in colonising Australia much quicker than would have
*The youngest boy was John Hudson, aged 9. Elizabeth Hayward, at 13, was
the youngest girl.
**Over 60 years, 40000 men and women from Great Britain and Ireland were
Wayne Thomas has a website to help beginners with their 'family mystery'
UK New South Wales and Tasmania, Convict Musters, 1806-1849
(b) Here are some great links to Australian
sites for family historians:
The National Archives holds an abundance of material
of interest to family historians. We hold some colonial records, but
most of our records were created during the 20th century, reflecting the
growing involvement by the federal government in the lives of
individuals throughout this century.
Family History Compendium - The Australian Family History
Compendium is an Internet resource for people researching their
family tree. It contains information on a wide variety of categories
related to genealogy, with a strong emphasis on Australian material.
Government of South Australia - State Records
State Records Office The State Records
Office (SRO) contains numerous records that are of great value to those
undertaking family history research, such as passenger lists, convict
records, court case files and wills to name but a few.
The National Archives
The National Archives holds an abundance of material
of interest to family historians. While they hold some colonial records,
the richest sources in the collection for genealogists are those records
created during the 20th century. The records they hold reflect the
growing involvement by government in the lives of individuals throughout
this century - whether as immigrants and refugees, Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people, members of the defence forces, government
employees, recipients of welfare, subjects of surveillance by security
and intelligence agencies, or as prisoners of war or internees.
site if you are interested in Australian cemeteries from a family
history perspective or just ghoulish! This website contains alphabetical
lists of cemeteries in each state. Each cemetery may have links to
further information such as the cemetery home page and even in some
cases actual burial data.
Australian C19th Censuses
This web site is useful for location of
Australian censuses (the few which weren't destroyed) and musters.
However it does not indicate census that are held in the State Library
of Western Australia.
Australian Electoral Commission
The State Library no longer has access to electoral information from
7/6/2004. To access more up-to-date electoral roll information for the
various States see the above website for details.
Australian Family History Compendium
AFHC is an Internet resource for people
researching their family tree. It contains information on a wide variety
of categories related to genealogy, with a strong emphasis on Australian
Australian Red Cross : Around the world tracing and
refugee services This is for families that
have been separated due to conflicts, natural disaster or other
humanitarian crisis. To set an enquiry in motion you need to use
"contact us" and select "tracing enquiries" from the drop down box.
Australian War Memorial
This site provides searchable databases, which have been
produced from names and associated information based on records in its
collections. They include the
Honour (Details of Australians who died while on active service with
Commemorative Roll (Details of Australians who died while on active
service with allied forces),
Nominal Rolls (Details of people who served in various conflicts)
Honours and Awards (Details of Honours and Awards made or
recommended to Australians while on active service -not information on
campaign or service medals).
Wanted - If you have hit a brick wall in your research, maybe we, or
one of our subscribers could help. Send your
queries to us now. Just type 'Brick Wall' in the subject
box and we'll do our best to help. And a big thank you to those who
replied to our previous 'Help Wanted' enquiries.
Latest news from Ancestry.
When we're searching databases
for those hard to find ancestors, we often find ourselves rotating
through any number of variations for that surname, and it's easy to lose
track of which variations we've tried. Keep a master list of surnames
and their variations handy by your computer and then go down the list to
get a more complete search than you would by entering names at random.
It serves as a reminder, so you don't miss anything and also makes it
easier to keep a log of what names and variations you've searched for.
Tips from the Pros:
Russian Research from
George G. Morgan
If you are of Russian descent and
have encountered little of substance in the resources on the Internet,
you will be pleased to visit the Researching Russian Roots Site. Here
you will find introductory articles concerning how to start your Russian
family history research, links to message boards, an extensive list of
links to archives in Russia and their mailing/e-mail addresses, details
and links for research in Ukraine and Belarus, some individual family
trees, and a vast compilation of other Web links in the U.S. Some sites
are in Russian (Cyrillic), but most of these offer English versions as
well. If you're researching your Russian roots, don't miss this site.
Good History Read
When it comes to putting your
family history in writing, the more you know about history, the better.
This week try to find a resource through which you can learn more about
a particular time, place, or condition that relates to your ancestors.
Learn about social conventions through editorials in historical
newspapers. Learn about geography from a historical atlas. Learn about
immigrant conditions from books found at your local library, or at used
and new bookstores. Take it in small digestible pieces and slowly but
surely you'll build up your knowledge of the times and places in which
your ancestors lived.
When you join
you will receive regular tips like these above to enhance your research.
Give it a try now!
What’s new on our site?
Unfortunately, due to server problems affecting most
of my other sites, I have not had time to update this site for a while.
However if you have a browse round the site I'm sure you will find
something you haven't already seen. Also you
can take a look at this site
and from there explore other sites in our group. Enjoy.
6. Next Months Main Article - How the Census
started and why it's a great resource for the family historian - Don't
That’s all for this month folks…see you soon.
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Jim Ackroyd. Address: 12 Avondale Road. Doncaster. UK. DN2 6DE
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