Contents of this article
The Convict Transportation Registers Database provides access to information included in the Convict Transportation Registers Series (HO 11) held in The National Archives (TNA) of the UK. For more than 123,000 of the 160,000 convicts transported to Australia between 1787 and 1867 it provides a name (including any known aliases), the place of trial, the duration of the sentence, the name of the transportation ship and date of departure, the place of arrival in Australia, and other miscellaneous information.
The records mainly include those for individuals convicted in England, Wales and Scotland, with only a small number of Irish convicts appearing. The database also covers soldiers who had been court-martialled and sentenced to transportation. These 'soldier convicts' may have been convicted in various British colonies including the West Indies, India, Pakistan and Canada.
The information in the Convict Transportation Registers Database has been transcribed from microfilm of the original documents (available as part of the Australian Joint Copying project). The database may be searched by convict name, ship name or date of arrival in Australia. Search results are delivered through the Queensland State Library’s One Search catalogue. The database supports wild card searching .
The full dataset, available as a comma delimited text file, may be downloaded at http://data.gov.au/dataset/british-convict-transportation-registers/.
Strengths and weaknesses
The Convict Transportation Registers Database is an invaluable resource for legal, imperial, social, cultural, economic and naval historians. Most fundamentally it is about people convicted of crime, and additional information about the offences of which those from London were convicted can be found in the criminal records included in London Lives and the trial accounts in the Old Bailey Proceedings. Like many of the resources indexed by Connected Histories this resource is rich in personal and place name information, and consequently of great interested to family and local historians. A very helpful list of related websites and guides for family historians are available at http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/info/fh/convicts/resources.
Although the database reproduces the key information provided in the original registers, it does not take the form of a literal transcription, since the information has been inputted into a structured database. Some information may have been omitted or reformatted. The database does not link to images of the document themselves.
About the project
The Convict Transportation Registers Database is a project of the State Library of Queensland, and the material it contains was transcribed by State Library staff and a team of volunteers. For further information, see the project's About this project page.