Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: C is for Convicts

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: C is for Convicts

I couldn’t wait for ‘C’ of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge, because I knew exactly what I wanted to write about: CONVICTS, CONVICTS, CONVICTS, CONVICTS, CONVICTS, CONVICTS  and more CONVICTS!

I did actually come up with a whole heap of other possibilities, however I couldn’t go past convicts. So let me tell you a little about the convicts in my (and by ‘my’ I mean my own, and Mr Lonetester’s) family history.

C is for Convicts

There has always a bit of contention between those who don’t want to know or acknowledge their convict heritage, and those who do (or haven’t yet, but hope to), and consider a convict to be “Australian Royalty”. Just in case you hadn’t figured it out, I lean way towards the Australian Royalty side.

So let me start with my convicts.  On my maternal line, I am fortunate enough to have two convicts, Isaac and Simeon Richardson … both of who were simply standing up for their rights, and paid for it dearly.

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Isaac RICHARDSON (brother of Simeon)

Transported 1831 (Jul-Nov)
Born/Died: 1804-1873
Occupation: Labourer
Crime: Rioting
Sentence: initially sentenced to death, but due to a local petition was changed to transported for life
Ship:  Lord Lyndoch
From/To: KEN, ENG to Hobart, TAS, AUS
Life Afterward: Married with two children, Isaac together with his bother we rioting to stand up for their rights during the Industrial Revolution. Sentenced to death, the local townspeople petitioned to save their life and both were then sentenced to transportation to Van Diemen”s Land for life instead. Isaac’s wife Matilda (nee Bonner) and the two children Edward and Esther were given assisted passage in 1837-38. Isaac was granted a conditional pardon in 1842. Isaac and Matilda had a total of 9 children, and continued to live in Tasmania.
For more information check out my blog post.
Web – Convict Records
Book – ‘A Family Remembers: The story of Isaac and Matilda Richardson and their descendants”

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Simeon RICHARDSON (brother of Isaac)

Transported 1831 (Jul-Nov)
Born/Died: 1807-1893
Occupation: Ploughman & hop grower
Crime: Rioting
Sentence: initially sentenced to death, due to a local petition was changed to transported for life
From/To: KEN, ENG to Hobart, TAS, AUS
Life Afterward: Convicted of stealing in 1854, and sent to Port Arthur for 2 years. Granted freedom in 1856. I did find a reference to a Simeon Richardson being transported to Western Australia a lot later, but without further research I do not know if this is him or not.
For more information check out my blog post (although it only touches on Simeon).
Web – Convict Records
Web – Tasmanian Archives Conduct Record for his 2nd offence
Book – ‘A Family Remembers: The story of Isaac and Matilda Richardson and their descendants”

a portion of the Conduct Record for Simeon Richardson, convict, transported on the ‘Lord Lyndoch’. Document held at the Tasmanian Archives

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Now on to Mr Lonetester’s family … and boy-oh-boy what an interesting collection of convicts he has, from both sides of his family. For this purpose I’ve decided to list them in order of transportation date.

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Sarah BENTLEY

Transported 1795-96 (Oct-Apr)
Born/Died: 1780-1869
Crime: stole two cotton gowns, value 5s. a cloth cloak, value 5s, a check linen apron, value 6d. a muslin check handkerchief, value 6d. and a shawl handkerchief, value 1s.
Sentence: 7 years
Ship: Indispensible
From/To: Highgate, LND, ENG to Sydney, NSW, AUS
Life Afterwards: Sarah was transported when she was  only 16 years old. She married John Warby in September 1796, a few months after her arrival in New South Wales. Between 1800-1821, Sarah had 14 children, most of which survived beyond infantcy.
More Information:
Web – Old Bailey for the original trial
Web – Convict Records

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Isaac DOWSE

Conditional Pardon for Isaac Dowse, convict, transported on the Glatton

Transported 1802-03 (Sep-Mar)
Variants: Isaac Douse
Born/Died: 1781-1853
Occupation: Brickmaker
Crime: stole a horse
Sentence: life (original trial verdict Guilty, death)
Ship: Glatton
From/To:  MDX, ENG to Sydney, NSW, AUS
Life Afterwards: Isaac married Esther Jenner in 1807 and had 4 children. However Esther died leaving Isaac to look after a young family. So convict woman Elizabeth Symons was assigned to Isaac to look after the house and family. No marriage certificate can be found for them, so it seems unlikely they married, however they did have 4 children together. In 1814 Isaac was granted a Conditional Pardon and bought 100 acres.
More Information:
Web – Convict Stockade
Web – Isaac as a Brickmaker in Sydney

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Esther Jane JENNER

Transported 1807 (Jan-Jun)
Born/Died: 1787-1814
Crime: ?
Sentence: 7 years
Ship: Sydney Cove
From/To: to Sydney, NSW, AUS
Life Afterwards: Married Isaac Dowse in 1807, and they had 4 daughters. Esther died a week after the birth of her 4th child.
More Information:
Web – Convict Stockade
Web – Convict Records

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Alexander MACDONALD

Alexander MacDonald, convict, Ticket-of-Leave

Transported 1812 -13 (Dec-Jun)
Born/Died: c1794-1847
Variants: Alexander McDonald, Alexander White
Ship: Fortune
Sentence: life
Crime: involved in the murder of 5 people
From/To: Edinburgh, MDL, SCT to Sydney, NSW, AUS
Life Afterwards: Alexander married Sarah Warby in 1822 NSW, AUS, daughter of convicts John Warby and Sarah Bentley.  Alexander and Sarah had 12 children between 1824-1846. Alexander was granted a Conditional Pardon in 1833.
More Information:
Book – The Pioneer Register Volume 1
Web – Convict Stockade
Web – Convict Records
Web – Record of the Crime on the National Archives of Scotland
Web – Trove, listing the arrival of the Fortune

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Elizabeth SYMONS

Transported 1814 (Feb-?)
Variants: Elizabeth Simmonds, Elizabeth Symonds, Elizabeth Jones
Born/Died: c.1787-1859
Occupation: Servant
Crime: ?
Sentence: 7 years
Ship:  Broxbornebury
From/To:
Life Afterward: Shortly after arriving in the colony, Elizabeth was assigned to look after Isaac Dowse’s  family and house, since his wife had just recently died. They obviously got along well, as they had 4 children of their own together.
More Information:
CD – Journey to a New Life: The Story of the Emu in 1812, and Broxbournebury in 1814

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James LAYTON

Transported 1814 -1815 (Aug-Jan)
Born/Died: c.1795-1828
Crime: ?
Sentence: 7 years
Ship: Marquis of Wellington
From/To: Birmingham, WAR, ENG to Sydney, NSW, AUS
Life Afterwards: James married Elizabeth Warby in 1820 in NSW. She was a daughter of John Warby and Sarah Bentley. James and Elizabeth had 4 children between 1821-1828. Sadly James died one month before his 4th child was born. Elizabeth then remarried.
More Information:
Book – Warby: My Excellent Guide
Web – Trial 1809 for stealing (not transported), Old Bailey
NOTE: There appears to be a number of James Layton’s who were convicts, and I believe that this has a number of people confused.  While they all have James’ birth details the same as well as marrying Elizabeth Warby. One has him as being sent to Newcastle in 1819 on “Lady Nelson”. Another says he was convicted at Lancaster Assizes for 7 years in 1810, and transported to NSW on the “Minstrel”  in 1812 and VDL on the “Infatigable”.

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Charles BILLING

Transported 1835
Born/Died: c.1816-?
Occupation:
Crime: convicted for stealing
Sentence: life
Ship: Norfolk
From/To: NFK?, ENG to TAS, AUS
Life Afterwards: Charles married Bridget Fitzsimons, and they had 9 children.
More information: Known to the authorities prior to being transported, his conduct report states that he is “bad in every respect”. Life as a convict didn’t go well for Charles, and he rebelled. His conduct report mentions that he cut his chains and in doing so ended up in solitary confinement for 10 days. He also received 50 lashes a few months later for another offence. He was however recommended for a Conditional Pardon in 1846, which was also the same year he married Bridget Fitzsimons.
Web – Convict Records
Web – Tasmanian Archives, Conduct Report
Web – Tasmanian Archives, Colonial Tasmanian Families

 

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Frederick POINTON (brother of Henry & Thomas)

Transported 1836-37 (Dec-Mar)
Variants: Frederick Poynton
Born/Died: c.1812-1884
Occupation: Labourer, Cook
Crime: received stolen goods (20 dozen pidgeons)
Sentence: life
Ship:  Sarah
From/To: Codicote, HRT, ENG to Hobart, TAS, AUS
Life Afterwards: 4th March 1845, Ticket of leave, and in June 1845 married Louisa Wright. In August 1846, he was recommended for conditional pardon, and in November 1847 this was approved.
More information:
Web – biographical information
Web – Convict Records

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Henry POINTON (brother of Frederick & Thomas)

Transported 1836-37 (Dec-Mar)
Variants: Henry Poynton
Born/Died: c.1809-1882
Occupation:
Crime: stole 20 dozen pidgeons
Sentence:7 years
Ship:  Sarah
From/To: Codicote, HRT, ENG to Hobart, TAS, AUS
Life Afterwards: Henry married Mary Ann Anderson on 13th February 1862 at Hobart, Tasmania, and they had a number of children.
More information:
Web – biographical information
Web – Convict Records

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Charles KERSLAKE

Transported: 1837
Born/Died: 1879-1900
Occupation: Labourer, clerk, gardener, baker & yeoman
Crime: pickpocket, stole 1 handkerchief
Sentence: 7 years
Ship: Moffatt
From/To: LND, ENG to Hobart, TAS, AUS
Life Afterwards: married Sarah Jane Brown (another convict) in 1844, and they had 12 children.
More Information:
Web – Old Bailey for the original trial
Web – Convict Records

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Sarah Jane BROWN

Transported 1838-39 (Oct-Jan)
Born/Died: 1822-1871
Crime: stealing
Sentence: 14 years
Ship: Majestic
From/To: Birmingham, WAR, ENG to Hobart, TAS, AUS
Life Afterwards: married Charles Kerslake (another convict) in 1844, and they had 12 children.

Sarah Brown, Convict, Conduct Record held at the Tasmanian Archives

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Thomas POINTON (brother of Frederick & Henry)

Transported 1840
Variants: Thomas Poynton
Born/Died: c.1804?-1873
Occupation: ?
Crime: convicted of breaking out of goal, and poaching from the land belonging to Lord Melburne.
Sentence:7 years
Ship:  Lady Raffles
From/To: Codicote, HRT, ENG to Hobart, TAS, AUS
Life Afterwards: Thomas married Eliza Hazell in 1826 in Surrey, ENG.
More information:
Web – Convict Records
Web – Chronological history

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Bridget FITZSIMONS

physical description of Bridget Fitzsimons, convict, transported on the ‘East London’ in 1843

Transported 1843
Variants: Bridget Fitzsimmons
Born/Died: c.1827-?
Occupation: Laundress
Crime: stealing 10 yards of cloth
Sentence: 7 years
Ship: East London
From/To: Meath, IRE to Hobart, TAS, AUS
Life Afterwards: Married Charles Billing in 1846
More information:
Web – Tasmanian Archives

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Isobel CUTHBERT

Transported 1844
Variants: Isabel Cuthbert, Isabella Cuthbert
Born/Died: c.1819-1880
Occupation: Laundress
Crime: incest
Sentence: life
Ship: Margaret
From/To: ANS, SCT to Hobart, TAS, AUS
Life Afterwards: Married Samuel Billing in 1844
More information:
Web – Convict Records

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Louisa WRIGHT

Transported 1844-45 (Oct-Jan)
Born/Died: 1821-1864
Occupation: Servant
Crime: stealing a watch and on suspicion of stealing clothes.
Sentence: 7 years
Ship: Garland Grove
From/To: Lincoln’s Inn Fields, LND, ENG to Hobart, TAS, AUS
Life Afterwards: She was granted a Ticket of Leave on 20th May 1845, and on 13th June 1845 Louisa  married fellow convict Frederick Pointon in Christ Church, Longford, TAS, AUS. They had a family of 11 children.
More information:
Web – Biographical information

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James DODD

Transported 1852-53 (Nov-Feb)
Born/Died: 1839-1903
Crime: larceny
Sentence: 10 years
Ship: Oriental Queen
From/To: Chester, CHS, ENG to Hobart, TAS, AUS
Life Afterwards: Married Agnes Liddell who emigrated with her family from Scotland.
More Information:

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The Research Never Ends …
So that is my convict story so far. I say “so far” as  I am expecting to find more. Most of those lusted above are direct-line reli’s, as I haven’t traced many of their siblings yet. So they’ve been saved for another day or two or three. The information above is as complete and correct as I currently know, but if anyone has information that differs please don’t hesitate to write and tell me that I have something wrong.

Special Mentions …
I do have to make a special mention to two aunties-in-law who have helped with much of this research. Kay Davey and Glenice Gare have both done family history research which they have shared with me. I thank them for not only their friendship, research, and willingness to share, but also their enthusiasm in genealogy. It is inspiring.

While I could do an entire blog post with just links to convict records, there are several that I’d like to make a mention of that I have found incredibly useful for my searches.
Claim-a-Convict www.claimaconvict.net
Convict Records http://www.convictrecords.com.au/
Convict Central http://www.convictcentral.com/index.html
Old Bailey Online http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/
State Records NSW http://srwww.records.nsw.gov.au/indexes/searchform.aspx?id=65
Tasmanian Archives (particularly the name indexes) http://www.linc.tas.gov.au/tasmaniasheritage/search/name-indexes/nameindexes

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6 Responses to “Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: C is for Convicts”

  1. Sharon says:

    WOW! So many convicts! I am feeling somewhat envious as I don’t have any. I was pretty excited when I thought I had found a convict in the family but although the name and dates were correct, my research soon revealed that it was a different fellow and not my relation after all!

  2. Frances says:

    Phew! That’s an impressive list. What a lot of research – and how great that you’ve got more to look at (I don’t think I’ll ever finish my research and to be honest I’m not sure you can, or that I’d want to.) I’ve only found four… so far…

  3. Alona says:

    Sharon … never give up. Hopefully you’ll find one in your family someday.
    Frances … I’ve always wanted to compile a list on Mr Lonetester’s convicts. This challenge gave me the boost to do it. But even I was surprised when I gathered it all together.

  4. Leslie Ann says:

    Wow! Seven years for pick-pocketing- that’s pretty harsh! Enjoyed your post :-)

  5. Catherine says:

    WOW!!! … that sure is a lot of Convicts Alona… :-) Thanks, I enjoyed reading about them and will be coming back to read about their crimes etc. in more detail… 20dozen pidgeons is an awful lot of feathers to try and hide :-D

  6. Alona says:

    Lesilie and Catherine, thanks for the kind comments. Now, I just need some time to do more research to to see if there are more!!

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