Discovering Links: Convicts, Australian Royalty

Did you have an ancestor who was a petty thief, stealing just to survive, or one that was a full-on criminal? There’s no doubt that finding convict heritage for an Australian is what is known as “Australian Royalty”. It is GOLD.

For a start there’s a HEAP of fabulous records available to check out, and there’s plenty of places to search … here’s just some that I’ve used, and have collected together for you. Note these aren’t in any particular order, so you might need to read through them all to see if they are likely to be of use to you in your convict search.

criminal records at the State Records of SA

criminal records at the State Records of SA


New South Wales Free Settler of Felon?
Jen Willett’s site allows users to search the Free Settler or Felon database to find people in the Newcastle and the Hunter Valley area of New South Wales. So fare she has over 170,000 references to Convicts, Settlers, Townsfolk, Bushrangers, Innkeepers, Soldiers and Land Owners, Medical Practitioners and Magistrates. Information about the voyages of approximately 350 convict ships and the Surgeon Superintendents who accompanied them can be accessed via the Convict Ship Index and Convict Ship Surgeon Superintendent Index links

Convict Love Tokens
The National Museum of Australia holds the world’s largest collection of convict love tokens, with more than 310 in their collection. A convict love token is the smoothing and engraving of a coin with a message of affection which was one of the few ways a convict could leave a memento behind with loved ones in England before being transported. The tokens often include the names of the convict and their loved one, the length of the convict’s sentence and popular phrases and rhymes.

British Convict Transportation Registers 1787-1867
The State Library of Queensland is on that everyone with Convicts needs to bookmark. The “British Convict transportation registers 1787-1867” database has been compiled from the British Home Office (HO) records which are available on microfilm at all Australian State Libraries. This collection allows users to find details for over 123,000 of the estimated 160,000 convicts transported to Australia. Details include names, term of years, transport ships and more.

Convict Records of Australia
The information on this website includes name of convict, known aliases, place convicted, port of departure, date of departure, port of arrival, and the source of the data.

Claim A Convict
The Claim A Convict website first went online back in 1998 thanks to the work of Lesley Uebel. Sadly Lesley passed away in 2014, and the work has now been resurrected by a team of volunteers including Jonathan Auld. Searchable (or browseable) by surname or ship name, you can “claim a convict” adding your details on to one that is yours, which allows you to link up with others researching the same person.

Female Convicts Research Centre
With oodles of information and links the Female Convicts Research Centre is the THE place to check out for female convicts that were sent to sent to Van Diemen’s Land (aka Tasmania).

New South Wales Police Forensic Archive
For more recent convicts (ie. 1910-1930) the  Sydney Living Museum has a collection of Mugshots taken from those in New South Wales.

Historic Houses Trust – New South Wales Mugshots
This collection of photographs is some from the 2500 “special photographs” that were taken by New South Wales Police Department photographers between 1910 and 1930.

Conduct Record held at the Tasmanian Archives for Sarah Brown, convict transported on the 'Majestic'

Conduct Record held at the Tasmanian Archives for Sarah Brown, convict transported on the ‘Majestic’

Tasmanian Convicts
The British Government transported about 76,000 convicts to Tasmania between 1804 and 1853. If you have convicts (male or female) that were sent to Tasmania, LINC Tasmania (formerly the Tasmanian Archives) contains an absolute ginormous amount of original records that they have digitised and put online for everyone the access (for free).

Convict Stockade
This is a wiki site aimed at being a community site for all with convict heritage. This is a site for participation and collaboration.

Sentenced Beyond the Seas: Australia’s Early Convict Records
State Records NSW holds Australia’s earliest convict records dating back to the First Fleet in 1788. These convicts were sentenced to be transported to parts beyond the Seas. Convict indents, or lists of convicts embarked on the convict transport ships, were sent out to the new Colony of New South Wales. Sentenced beyond the Seas includes many of these convict indents dated from 1786 to 1801, and include digitised copies of original records.

Convicts to Australia
Run by the Perth Dead Person’s  Society, this site which is also known as Convict Central is one of the best-known sites for convict research, and has been around for ages. With research guides, indexes, convict tales, and a timeline – there’s a lot to find on this website.

Founders and Survivors
The Founders and Survivors site is a partnership between historians, genealogists, demographers and population health researchers. It seeks to record and study the founding population of 73,000 men women and children who were transported to Tasmania. Many survived their convict experience and went on to help build a new society.

Australian Royalty
Described as a “family tree of colonial Australians, their forbears and descendants”, as of January 2015 this website list over 68,000 people. So it worth a look.

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

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

As mentioned above, these sites are only a few of the many, many that are available. So I have included links to the two best portal websites below which give you a stack more links to convict records and sites, as well as the big-name pay sites. And for those who are social media inclined, I have included some links to the more popular convict-related Facebook pages and groups.


CoraWeb – Convicts

Cyndi’s List – Convicts

Convict Records on Ancestry

Convict Records on Findmypast


Australian Convicts and their Descendants

Claim a Convict

Convict Records

The Convict Stockade

First Fleet 1788 Researchers


So with all these links to records and information, surely there is something to help you find your Australian Royalty convicts.

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5 Responses to “Discovering Links: Convicts, Australian Royalty”

  1. Crissouli says:

    Thanks, Alona, handy to have them all in one place..

  2. Found a new site, thanks Alona.

  3. Michelle says:

    Thanks Alona this is a great list to have in one place. Motivation to start my ‘Genealogy Toolbox’.

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