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Family History 4 All

 Learn how to trace YOUR family tree.

Newsletter No.10 – July 2007.

Family Tree Maker UK Edition 2006

1. Our welcome message.

2. Featured Article – Australia, (a) Convicts article, (b) Useful Australian websites.

3. Help wanted - Need any help?

4. Latest news from Ancestry

5. What’s new on our site?

6. Next month’s article.


Dear Subscriber,

I hope 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 welcome and we hope you enjoy our newsletter. And to all our subscribers – if you have an article or amusing story to share with us then please don’t be afraid to send it for publication…you can remain anonymous if you prefer but we want you all to feel you can contribute if you want to. Just send an email with the words ‘Newsletter item’ in the subject box. And we will include it at the first opportunity, subject to editing, if necessary of course.

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.

Here's the link 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 south-east.

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 population increase.
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 happened otherwise.

*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 transported.

Wayne Thomas has a website to help beginners with their 'family mystery' at www.new2-geaneology.com

Article Source:

 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 South Australia South Australian family history database specialists.

  • Australian 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.
  • Australia-Cemeteries Fantastic 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 material.
  • 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 Roll of Honour (Details of Australians who died while on active service with Australian forces), Commemorative Roll (Details of Australians who died while on active service with allied forces), Nominal Rolls (Details of people who served in various conflicts) and Honours and Awards (Details of Honours and Awards made or recommended to Australians while on active service -not information on campaign or service medals).

    3. Help 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.

    4. Latest news from Ancestry. Ancestry.co.uk

    Top Tip:  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.

    Find a 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 Ancestry.co.uk you will receive regular tips like these above to enhance your research. Give it a try now! Ancestry.co.uk

    5. 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 miss it!

    That’s all for this month folks…see you soon.

    Jim. Editor

    PS. Please forward this newsletter to your friends/relatives, if they are interested in family history, with our compliments.

    If this newsletter was forwarded from a friend/relative and you would like your own copy, you can sign up here: http://familyhistory4all.co.uk/newsletter.htm

     Email: publish2002ukATyahoo.co.uk

     replacing AT with @ of course.

     Jim Ackroyd. Address: 12 Avondale Road. Doncaster. UK. DN2 6DE

    Take a look at our other web sites here: http://jamesackroyd.com



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