This week’s Findmypast Friday marks the release of over 240,000 fascinating Australian convict records, new additions to our collection of historic Irish newspapers, Irish Workhouse records from County Clare and Sligo as well as English parish records from the parish of Southfleet in North West Kent.
Australian Convict Records
Containing nearly 27,000 records, the Australia Convict Conditional and Absolute Pardons 1791-1867 list the details of convicts pardoned by the governor of New South Wales and date back to the earliest days of the colony. Pardons were generally handed out to convicts serving life sentences but in the earliest years of the colony the Governor had the power to grant both free and conditional pardons as rewards for good behaviour, for special skills or for carrying out special duties or tasks. Each record contains a transcript and an image of original documents. As well as listing the names of pardoned convicts, the records also include the name of the ship they arrived on, the term of the sentence they served, any additional notes, and details of their release.
New South Wales Registers of Convicts’ Applications to Marry 1825-1851 contains over 26,000 records. Convicts in Australian penal colonies were actually encouraged to marry as Governors believed that marriage and family life were good for both morality and stability. Convicts who did obtain the Governor’s permission to marry could apply for tickets of leave or pardons as well as assistance in establishing a household. In the early years of the colonies, many convicts married even if they had wives or husbands back home. Each record contains a transcript as well as an image of the original document. Registers list the convict’s name, the name of their spouse, their profession and the length of their sentence as well as the sip they arrived on and when they were given their freedom.
Containing over 188,000 records, Australia Convict ships 1786-1849 dates back the ships of First Fleet and include the details of some of the earliest convict settlers in New South Wales. The records are made up of five separate sets of musters and indents held by the State Records Authority of New South Wales. Indents records were used in the early settlements to keep track of the convict population while musters lists of who was on board a ship were taken at the port of embarkation. Each record contains a transcript and a black and white image of original documents. Indents can include a variety of information about individual convicts such as their native place, details of their offence and sentence, a physical description and details of their family members. Musters usually only give a name, date and place of trial and sentence. Musters were also taken after disembarkation.
Over 7,000 records have been added to our collection of Victoria Prison Registers 1855-1948. The new additions are taken from the Central Register of Female Prisoners, held by the Public Record Office Victoria. The register kept a record of prisoners that passed through Pentridge prison in Coburg, Victoria. Pentridge was built in 1850 and was the central prison in the Melbourne region from about 1860. Each record includes a transcripts and scanned image of the original registers and many include mug shot photographs of individual’s prisoners. They list fascinating details about not only the prisoners’ offences, sentences and incarceration, but also biographical information such as their name, date of birth, country of origin and occupation. Remarks on the register may also include the name of the ship on which the prisoner arrived if they were not born in Australia.
Irish Workhouse Records
Containing of over 9,000 records, the Sligo workhouse registers 1848-1859 consist of handwritten registers taken at the Sligo Union workhouse, one of three workhouses in the County Sligo. The records pre-date civil registration and will be a valuable resource to those with Sligo ancestors given the lack of 19th century census material available in Ireland. Each record includes a transcript and an image of the original document. The registers list the names of new arrivals and details including their age, occupation, religion, any illnesses or infirmities, family members, local parish, their condition on arrival (usually describing clothes or cleanliness) and when they were discharged or died.
Containing over 63,000 records, the Clare Poor Law Unions Board of Guardians Minute Books cover the Kilrush and Ennistymon unions, two of eight poor law unions located in County Clare. The Board of Guardians oversaw the running of the poor law unions as well as the hiring of teachers, staff and contractors. Guardians were elected by those who paid the taxes that funded poor law relief. The books recorded weekly reports on the number of inmates, new arrivals, births, deaths and discharges. They also recorded expenditures including food supplies and salaries as well as the number of inmates receiving medical treatments. Each record contains a transcript and an image of the original handwritten minutes.
Over 308,000 new articles have been added to our collection of historic Irish newspapers. Substantial additions have been made to Saunder’s News-Letter, a title that dates all the way back to 18th century Ireland and now contains nearly 950,000 fully searchable articles.
North West Kent Parish Records Baptisms
Over 4,000 new records have been added to our collection of North West Kent parish records, nearly 2,000 baptisms, over 500 marriages and 1,500 burials transcribed by the North West Kent family history society are now available to search. The new additions cover the parish of Southfleet and each record consists of a transcript of the original source material.
Remember to check our dedicated Findmypast Fridays page every week to keep up to date with the latest new additions.