For many of us Anne Reid is a familiar face on our TV screens. Perhaps we remember her as Valerie Barlow from Coronation Street, or Jean in Dinner ladies?Or it may be from the more recent series of programmes in which she stars along side Derek Jacobi as Celia Dawson in Last Tango in Halifax.
Acclaimed British actress Anne Reid MBE, is the next of the celebrities to feature in the Who Do You Think You Are? programmes. In her episode she discovers that her family tree features ancestors who were employed as solicitor’s clerks in Liverpool, but who came originally from Scotland. Tracing this respectable line further back in the records she comes across a Scots schoolmaster and becomes upset to find out that he ended up marooned on the other side of the world having served a sentence for fraud that saw him transported to Australia from Scotland.
I was intrigued to read on TheGenelaogist’s website, that their researchers have discovered the real story of James Freeman, as played by Russell Tovey in the BBC TV series Banished. As they say in their article “Freeman’s real story is fascinating, if a bit gruesome.”
I won’t spoil it for you, as you can read it all by heading over to their featured articles on their website here:
What I can tell you is that the Transportation records to be found on TheGenealogist website is a fabulous resource for discovering convict ancestors that this country wanted to send away “to parts beyond the seas”.
Written by experienced family historian, David T Hawkins, to commemorate the 225th anniversary in 2012 of the sailing of the eleven vessels of the First Fleet from England, bound for Australia, this book is a must read for all those with any Australian ancestors.
From the arrival of the first 778 convicts in 1788, to the end of transportation in 1868, a staggering 165,000 criminals were sent to Australia for a range of crimes.In addition to those transported, hundreds of thousands of free persons emigrated from Britain and Ireland to colonies in Australia. With the vast distance involved, few people returned and many now have descendants living in Australia.
Tracing those descendants can be a huge task and that’s were this book is so useful. First of all it looks at convict records – what to search for, the types of records that can be located and the actual court record proceedings with some actual examples.There’s also admiralty records of the ‘hulks’ the prisoners were stored upon and then the ships they were transported upon.
The book looks at the voyage to Australia, giving a fascinating insight into the tough journey. Aside from convicts there is a look into other early settlers, records of officials and examples of those people who returned to Britain.
The book is a recommended useful guidebook for those people looking to trace Australian ancestry or who may have discovered a relative who was convicted and transported in the late 1700s and early 1800s. It’s very thorough and provides useful pointers for what you can find and where to search to find those all important records. The book is available priced £20 from S&N Genealogy Supplies at the S&N Genealogy website.
This week in 1834, 6 Dorset agricultural workers were sentenced to 7 years imprisonment and transported to Australia for forming a trade union and swearing an oath of secrecy. Led by George Loveless, a Methodist lay preacher, they were convicted in a rigged trial and transported to Australia. As the workers struggled to survive in dire economic conditions when the power belonged to all the landowners, protests had started to increase and the ruling classes felt their power base threatened and wanted to stamp it out.
In a very unfair trial, the 6 men were convicted and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment and transported to Australia.
The ‘Tolpuddle Martyrs’ transportation records are available on TheGenealogist, there’s more details here. After a determined protest back in Britain, they were eventually pardoned and allowed to come back in 1837.
Do you have any ancestors that were convicted around this time and sentenced to be transported to Australia or New Zealand? Have you found their transportation records from the 1700 or 1800s? We’d love to hear your stories!