I am researching two songs which concern men transported from Belfast to Australia in the 1820s. Both are essentially true. One concerns a petty larcenist called James Donnelly (that is the name of the song) sentenced to death at the Co Antrim March Assizes of 1824 but the sentence was commuted to transportation for life; he was 18 years old. He was transported on the fourth voyage of the ship Asia which sailed from Cork on 29th October 1824 and arrived in Sydney on Feb 22 1825.He was granted ticket of leave in 1836 and Conditionally pardoned in 1844. At this stage he was free to conduct a normal life and presumably married.
My interest is in whether Donnelly's descendants can be traced in Australia.
Is there any person in Australia who might be able to advise me - or even to take up this aspect of the work on my behalf?
I am also interested similarly in a number of convicts who were or may have been associated with a celebrated forger called William Hill - his song begins:
Adieu lovely Erin, I'm now going to leave you
May peace be on your daisy clad hills
In wild foreign lands I am bound for to praise you
And I'll sing the perfection of your sweet winding rills
He and an accomplice Peter Sloan[e] were transported on the ship Regalia, arriving in Sydney on 5th August 1826.
Hill was aged 47 and may have been granted Ticket of leave in 1839 (aged 60) There is no record in Ireland of any petition for his wife and family to join him, which there is in the case of Peter Sloan[e] - he was 41 and his wife (named as Catherine Lynn) and his family were recommended for free passage in 1831.
Other possible associates were Joseph Tierney aged 43 (Conditional Pardon 1841) and John Fox aged 30 (Ticket of Leave 1834) whose families also were recommended for free passage in 1831.
I would very much like to find more than the convict records can tell me of the Australian lives of these men and feel that this would be best answered if their descendants were traceable.
Any takers? Anyone like a challenge.