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BS: Convict ancestry?

Roger the Skiffler 30 Jan 04 - 10:04 AM
Rapparee 30 Jan 04 - 10:43 AM
Dave Bryant 30 Jan 04 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,Guest Bertie The Bolshie 30 Jan 04 - 01:52 PM
Deckman 30 Jan 04 - 02:34 PM
Metchosin 30 Jan 04 - 03:11 PM
Rapparee 30 Jan 04 - 03:31 PM
Megan L 30 Jan 04 - 03:45 PM
Metchosin 30 Jan 04 - 06:12 PM
Joybell 30 Jan 04 - 06:17 PM
freda underhill 30 Jan 04 - 06:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Jan 04 - 06:58 PM
Liz the Squeak 30 Jan 04 - 07:12 PM
Mickey191 30 Jan 04 - 11:18 PM
Sam L 30 Jan 04 - 11:46 PM
katlaughing 31 Jan 04 - 12:06 AM
Coyote Breath 31 Jan 04 - 12:12 AM
JennieG 31 Jan 04 - 12:32 AM
fat B****rd 31 Jan 04 - 05:00 AM
Gurney 31 Jan 04 - 05:36 AM
Liz the Squeak 31 Jan 04 - 06:22 AM
Sandra in Sydney 31 Jan 04 - 07:02 AM
Snuffy 31 Jan 04 - 07:46 AM
HuwG 31 Jan 04 - 07:56 AM
Big Mick 31 Jan 04 - 10:32 AM
MAG 31 Jan 04 - 11:08 AM
Rapparee 31 Jan 04 - 11:50 AM
Amos 31 Jan 04 - 12:00 PM
katlaughing 31 Jan 04 - 12:25 PM
Joybell 31 Jan 04 - 05:12 PM
Sandra in Sydney 01 Feb 04 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,John Gray in Oz 01 Feb 04 - 09:14 AM
MAG 01 Feb 04 - 11:09 AM
Joybell 01 Feb 04 - 06:33 PM
rich-joy 03 Feb 04 - 12:56 AM
Rapparee 03 Feb 04 - 09:16 AM
Teribus 03 Feb 04 - 10:09 AM
Catherine Jayne 03 Feb 04 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,JOHN FROM ELSIE`S BAND 03 Feb 04 - 11:16 AM
Rara Avis 03 Feb 04 - 11:30 AM
DougR 03 Feb 04 - 11:45 AM
Teribus 03 Feb 04 - 12:38 PM
GUEST,John Gray in Oz 04 Feb 04 - 09:30 AM
Hrothgar 05 Feb 04 - 05:21 AM
Sandra in Sydney 05 Feb 04 - 08:43 AM
katlaughing 24 Aug 06 - 05:10 PM
Ebbie 24 Aug 06 - 05:22 PM
The Fooles Troupe 24 Aug 06 - 09:21 PM
Paul Burke 25 Aug 06 - 03:28 AM
Sandra in Sydney 25 Aug 06 - 08:06 AM
Bob Bolton 25 Aug 06 - 10:05 AM
Bob Bolton 25 Aug 06 - 10:26 PM
Bob Bolton 25 Aug 06 - 10:45 PM
katlaughing 25 Aug 06 - 11:31 PM
JennyO 26 Aug 06 - 12:30 AM
Bob Bolton 26 Aug 06 - 12:30 AM
Bob Bolton 26 Aug 06 - 11:03 AM
katlaughing 26 Aug 06 - 11:08 AM

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Subject: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 30 Jan 04 - 10:04 AM

You can search 17th &to 19th Century Old Bailey court records HERE: by surname. I was relieved to find my distinctive surname only as a victim: a Mercer from Bishopsgate in London who had been robbed twice. Guilty parties were deported to Australia!

RtS


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Rapparee
Date: 30 Jan 04 - 10:43 AM

My paternal grandpa served time at the local House Of Corrections back in the early 1920s for making illegal booze and not paying off the right people.

Does this count?


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 30 Jan 04 - 11:16 AM

There seem to be quite a lot of Bryants mentioned - some were victims or witnesses - one Richard Bryant was an officer of the law - while others who were found guilty, suffered a variety of punishments - death, transportaion, prison, whipping and even branding. One of the transported, managed to escape back to England and was caught and condemned to death, but this was commuted to transportation for life.

Just think what might have happened to you in those days if you were just caught by a speeding camera !


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: GUEST,Guest Bertie The Bolshie
Date: 30 Jan 04 - 01:52 PM

Don't let it worry you a fair proprtion of Austrailians are descended from Convicts


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Deckman
Date: 30 Jan 04 - 02:34 PM

Hmmm? I'm finding this topic interesting. In my single years I dated a lady who was native Austrailian. She gave me to understand that this "convict background" really does effect many people today. She explained that it's unusual, when you research your ancestry, NOT to find that you have convict roots. I would be interested to here comments from the Land Down Under. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Metchosin
Date: 30 Jan 04 - 03:11 PM

Hey Rapaire, my paternal great grandfather served some time in the BC Penn in the 30s for the exact same reason. Sort of made me feel I had some direct connection with Steve Earle's Copperhead Road, although I believe Great Grampa Seth's stomping grounds centered around an area called Jinglepot Road; less threatening a connotation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Rapparee
Date: 30 Jan 04 - 03:31 PM

Grandpa didn't pay off the right people. The guy across the street literally became a millionaire, poor ol' grandpa had to keep working.

Fortunately, my brother has inherited his still. Not his commercial one -- the sheriff destroyed that one -- but his personal one. Holds a couple gallons of still beer, and works quite well, thank you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Megan L
Date: 30 Jan 04 - 03:45 PM

among my ancesters one was killed as a witch and another was a martyr. Ah well they were typical of the Barclay name. It was said a Barclay was either of the drunken or the preaching variety, mind you my father said the best preacher spent 6 months of the year drunk .


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Metchosin
Date: 30 Jan 04 - 06:12 PM

Sadly, Great Grampa left nothing material behind, perhaps the only thing passed on was the genetic predisposition of some members of our family to occasionally thumb their noses at authority.

The pious among them considered the only thing he was good at was producing children. He must have had some value to some though, because family legend also has it, that upon his incarceration, there was a great labour strike, with a lot of angry, disgruntled miners and such. Conseuently, to keep the peace, he was granted early release. I think his main problem, aside from imbibing immoderate quantities of his own product, may have been his error in judgement regarding who to supply with his wares, to assure immunity from prosecution.


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Joybell
Date: 30 Jan 04 - 06:17 PM

Well the way it affects us here in Australia is that these days if you DON'T have a convict on the family tree you are to be pitied. Thumbing your nose at authority has always been a popular idea here. Sadly it isn't true that most or even the majority of Australians have convict roots, because during the goldrushes of the mid 19th Century the place was flooded with immigrants from the British Isles and from America and parts of Europe.
Having said that I'm proud to note that "Moondyne Joe" Western Australia's only convict-bushranger was a distant cousin of mine. I only wish he was a bit closer. Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: freda underhill
Date: 30 Jan 04 - 06:42 PM

..no convict ancestry.

my father's side (clynes) left galway, ireland in the 1860s, starved out by the english. they established a diary farm in coleraine, victoria.

we like to think we are related to jimmy clynes (John Clynes, first dep prime minister of the british labour party, who went down the mines & taught miners how to read).

my mothers side were scottish. my great grandfather brought the first tugboats to sydney harbour.


freda


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Jan 04 - 06:58 PM

My father once said that one of his grandfathers was transported to Australia, and later came back to Ireland. A matter of some pride, for both trips.


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 30 Jan 04 - 07:12 PM

I can't get the link to work but as far as I know I don't have any ancestors with convict tendencies - only an accidental arsonist and one who spent the last 12 years of her life in a lunatic asylum, well after 8 children, so would I.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Mickey191
Date: 30 Jan 04 - 11:18 PM

Liz--I can't get it to work either. Do you have webtv? Disappointing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Sam L
Date: 30 Jan 04 - 11:46 PM

Miller brothers, with the Jesse James gang. In the most recent movie they were brutish doofuses. In the geneology it was a rumor, but in the Pinkerton photo Clell Miller looks exactly like my uncle Joe. I don't get the upside of that particular group of outlaws. Seem like dumb thugs to me, on the wrong side of the war and the law.

   Apparently the south is postponing rising again for another year or so.

   In America a lot of geneologies were corrupted because pretentious rich southern women wanted to be like European Aristocrats and wrote whatever they could make up, based on their tawdry fantasies of themselves. That's why the American south has a rich deep cultural tradition much much older than the country itself, somehow. It's a spiritual essence, emanating from a bunch of old biscuit recipes. But it produced a lot of good literature that stands up to anywhere.


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: katlaughing
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 12:06 AM

Roger, what a fascinating site. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 12:12 AM

I just read (in Alan Taylor's Book "American Colonies") that Australia and New Zealand weren't the only destinantions for convicts, seems like the British West Indies and the US of A were also used.

Of course we got the con artists in stead of sheep stealers.

Wasn't there a member of U-2 who was asked by the authorities upon arrival in Australia if he had ever been convicted of a felony. He replied; "I didn't know it was still a requirement."

CB


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: JennieG
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 12:32 AM

In Sydney, in the 1880's, a large building in the Botanic Gardens (called the Garden Palace, and only opened a few years before) burned down. Popular rumour at the time said that the old convict records were stored there and some people who had risen above their convict origins helped the fire start for this very reason.
It's a good story, but I believe it's not true.
As far as I know, there isn't a convict in my ancestry. But I have still to research my maternal grandfather's line - I wouldn't be surprised to turn up one or two convicts there.
Joybell - have you read Randolph Stow's book 'Moonlite'? It's a kids book that is very funny. He apparently based some of the exploits of his fictional bushranger on Moondyne Joe.
Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: fat B****rd
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 05:00 AM

Good one, Roger. Pity my ancestors never moved south of Sunderland or that they came from Alsace. All the best from Charlie.


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Gurney
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 05:36 AM

Cain was a murderer, wasn't he? Fratricide, too. Don't know if he did time though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 06:22 AM

If you want to read a really good book about one particular group of convicts going to Australia, look out for 'The Floating Brothel' by Sian Rees ISBN 0747266328. It's the true story of an 18th Century ship called the 'Lady Julian', full of female convicts going to Sidney Cove (now Circular Quay) and is fascinating.

It's available on www.madaboutbooks.com

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 07:02 AM

my father's line has 1 convict (George Sewell, sentenced 1812, at York). I have a copy of the Judge's summing up - full-blown thundering attack on those who broke into the victim's house & threatened him & his servants (an Englishman's house is his castle!!)

The best bit is the report of the subsequent arrest of the wife of one of the thieves cos she carried a saw into the jail to help her husband escape & was also transported along with this desperate gang of desperate fellows!! George's family later followed him to Sydney & one son married the daughter of a soldier who arrived in 1793.

When I was hunting the ancestors 20 or so years ago I had friends who has up to a dozen convicts in their trees. Greedy, I called that.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Snuffy
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 07:46 AM

"Australia is the only country in the democratic world which, ever since the first census in 1832, has regularly and systematically destroyed the working papers to draw a veil over when and why its citizens arrived in the country. For more than 100 years the passenger lists of the convict ships were kept under lock and key in a safe at the Public records Office. Historians were only allowed access on the understanding that no individuals were named. In 1882 The New South Wales High Court ruled that it was not in the public interest for a person's criminal ancestry to be made known. For this reason, any such allegation (even if true) would be libellous (slanderous?) […] In old Birth Certificates you can read that the father, or sometimes the mother, "works for the Government", which in the strictest sense of the word, was true. In other Certificates a parent's occupation would be given as "F.S.". This somewhat cryptic designation was intended to make you think it meant "Free Settler", when it actually stood for "Freed by Servitude". It was therefore actually a convict whose sentence (usually seven or fourteen years) had expired. In other Certificates a parent's name was simply missing, as if the child were born illegitimately – a disgrace one would sooner suffer than recognise the even more unpalatable truth. Generations of Australians, right up to today, were just not inclined to pat themselves on the back for having created a modern state out of such unprepossessing human potential."

According to my notes the above is my translation of a german passage on Suzanne (skw)'s Judy Small webpage. (Judy is incidentally descended from two First Fleeters)


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: HuwG
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 07:56 AM

One name from my father's side of the family, and from entirely the wrong part of the country (Middlesex, instead of Durham). Twenty-six pages of names from my mother's side, but then most of her forebears had a common name in Wales (Jenkins).

Actually, I'm more ashamed of the uncle who was a magistrate in Gateshead. Turncoat !


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Big Mick
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 10:32 AM

Just did a quick check. Plenty of victims and defendants. But one thing that did jump out was that it didn't take much to get put to death or transported. One person stole a hat (worth 5p) and a wig. Got put to death in the 1700's. Damn.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: MAG
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 11:08 AM

Hmmm, the aunt who was into researching genealogy never could find out anything about my great-grandfather who supposedly immigrated from Wales. Now I wonder if he stopped off in New South Wales first.


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Rapparee
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 11:50 AM

It wasn't only England who shipped out convicts, either.

In the 18th Century, a maid the Princess Caroline (I think it was) was transported for stealing a minature. She was indentured in Virginia, escaped, and by virtue of the minature and a lot of nerve passed herself off to the Southern aristocracy as a member of the royal household. Even after her true identity was discovered she was still on the social circuit -- until her "owner" showed up. She eventually married a British soldier, I believe. Can't remember the names right now, though.

I suspect that all of us have, somewhere, a convict in the family tree. I don't see any reason to be ashamed of them....


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Amos
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 12:00 PM

Depending on the society, you often find some of the most creative and courageous sorts ending up carrying the sinister brand of "criminal". It takes guts to try and shake loose the bonds of normal social expectation, take the risks of capture and punishment, and so on. That's why we glamorize heroic crim types like Robin Hood, Billy the Kid, Pretty Boy Flloyd, and the Highwayman. They were brave enough to act.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: katlaughing
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 12:25 PM

Rapaire, you've reminded me that we have an indetured "servant" somwhere in our Virginia ancestry, too. We've a small coin purse said to have been made by same. That's one I don't ven know the name of, though.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Joybell
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 05:12 PM

Thank you Jenny. I'll try to find the book you mention. Moondyne Joe was an amazing character. His life reads like a movie script. Only one photo of him has ever come to light and it shows him in a kangaroo-skin outfit with a cape and home-made boots. He holds a small axe in his left hand. I fancy I can see a family resemblance when I look at his face and that of my Bolitho great-grandfather. Joe's name was Joseph Bolitho Johns.
Freda, we live quite near Coleraine. Do you still have family there?
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 06:28 AM

update on info published on Judy Small's site

The 2001 Census (100 years since Federation) included a provision for the person filling it in to allow their data to be kept for 100 years securely in Archives. Not the form - the Census Act say it must be destroyed, but the complete forms of willing Australians were copied before destruction. See www.abs.gov.au for further info.

Further to 19th Century attitudes to convicts in the family -

A Minister of Religion was meeting up with an old lag who was happy to reminisce about his days in jail - his grown daughters were horrified & I bet never mentioned that fact to their decscendants.

Any one who went Home (to England that is!) many years after their first arrival in Sydney referred to the second return to Oz as their year of arrival!

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: GUEST,John Gray in Oz
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 09:14 AM

I recently had it confirmed that my GGGG Grandfather was transported to Australia as a convict in 1850.His sentence was 10 years for stabbing a constable in the thumb.
Up until a generation or two ago people did not generally discuss any possible convict links. To have a convict ancestor was referred to as the "convict stain" ( on the family ) or just as, "the stain".

I often wondered why this was and looking through my ancestor's archives I came across something that may be a clue.
The convict ship manifests list all the convicts on board, their sentence and what they were convicted of. I was surprised to find that bestiality was a not an uncommon charge. Sometimes the lurid details were included, performing an unnatural act with a mare ( or an ass or etc etc )
So just what did all you Brits get up to in the 18th & 19th centuries? Maybe the cows were better looking than the women back then. The poor old Kiwis are still trying to throw off this colonial legacy.
And we've got a bloke that likes embracing crocodiles - now there's really rough sex for you.

JG/FME


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: MAG
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 11:09 AM

Why they call it unnatural is beyond me. Apparently it happens in nature all the time, if the right species doesn't    happen to be present.

Witness the David Small song about the moose in love with a cow, or that zebra-pony cross in England named Pozee.


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Joybell
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 06:33 PM

An interesting side-note to the story of transportation to Australia is the story of the "Convict theatres". I came across this little known part of our history while studying something else. The best source of information is a book written by convict, James Tucker, titled "Ralph Rashleigh" It is a wonderful story anyway, based loosely on his own experiences. He was a dedicated and articulate writer and his acurate descriptions of convict life, and life in Sydney generally, in the 1840s is fascinating. The story of the finding of this book is interesting in itself. I can recomend it as a good read and a good reference book. Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: rich-joy
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 12:56 AM

My Mum's paternal grandfather, George Sidney, came out on the last convict ship to Western Australia in 1868 - there is a photograph taken in 1923/4 of her as a baby, on his knee (he was a Ticket of Leave by then!). He was convicted of burglary and we THINK came from the Birmingham or Staffordshire areas ... (and we'd LOVE to find our Pommie Rellies!!)

Further back she is also descended from one William Thacker, convicted in London and who was in service at the founding of Albany in Western Australia in 1826 (earliest settlement).

We all LOVE the connections, but you're right, most folks of my grandmother's generation and before, hid the facts in shame. Consequently, it has been VERY hard for my Mum to find out about her/our heritage!!

Cheers!
R-J


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Rapparee
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 09:16 AM

I honestly don't understand this lack of pride in one's ancestors.

To me, the reason WHY someone ended up somewhere and then helped build the country is irrelevant. It's what they did later that counts, and some did truly great things.

Unless...they were afraid of contests....

"My granddaddy was sent out for stabbing a constable!"
"Yeah, in the thumb! My grandda was sent out for doin' a horse! Nyah!"
"Well, you two guys ain't nuffing! My dad came because he offed two peelers and took a shot at the bloody Queen!"
"Sure, sure, and my grandma ran a bawdy house frequented by the Prince of Wales!"
"My mom and da came over 'cause he was governor to the prison."
(pause)
"Let's beat the crap outa him!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Teribus
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 10:09 AM

Thanks for the chuckle Rapaire,

I had a look at the site, found some of my name-sakes. I would imagine that prior to 1776, those marked down for transportation went to the US colonies. The first date for transportation to Australia was 1788. I totally agree with you what they were sent out for is irrelevant, it's what they did there when they arrived that counted - the good as well as the evil.


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 10:49 AM

Nothing exciting on my surname....as he was the victim of theft!!!


"STEPHEN ATTAWAY, theft: simple grand larceny, 26 May 1790.
492. STEPHEN ATTAWAY was indicted for stealing, on the 12th of May, one oil skin umbrella, value 4 s. the property of William Pettigrew.

Thomas - deposed that he took the umbrella from him, and secured him; and deposed to it.

The prisoner called two witnesses to his character.

GUILTY, Whipped.

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. Justice ASHURST"


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: GUEST,JOHN FROM ELSIE`S BAND
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 11:16 AM

Some years ago I was singing at the Westlands Folk Club at Yoevil, the same night that Martin Carthy was the booked there as the guest.
He amused the audience by suggesting that if Britain had sent their malefactors to Greenland instead of Australia it would be Eskimos beating the shit out of us at cricket instead of Aussies!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Rara Avis
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 11:30 AM

Ancestors on my father's side were encouraged to quit England for the US, which they did – post-haste. The reason why remains unsaid in our family. In the early 1920s, one of my father's uncles was a flim-flam man. He and his cronies used to drive across the country, cutting down the farmers' wire fences. They made little household gadgets from their newly acquired wire and sold them to the farmers' wives.


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: DougR
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 11:45 AM

Wow! Great site! I only found 388 Richards listed! I had some pretty busy ancestors evidently.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Teribus
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 12:38 PM

There was a guy in Hawick who got transported the other way - he used to be one of Al Capone's drivers. Dressed and looked the part too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: GUEST,John Gray in Oz
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 09:30 AM

Gee whizz Rapaire, you draw a long bow. I haven't detected a - lack of pride in one's ancestors - in any of those posting. I alluded to a "possible" reason for silence in generations past but that this is not the attitude today. A bit like being a bastard was once hidden but today nobody gives a damn.
And as for being afraid of a contest, you only have to look at the cemetaries full of Australian servicemen generated by two world wars to see that we don't shirk a stoush.
And on a lighter note - there's always cricket.

JG/FME


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 05:21 AM

I can remember my mother saying, with some asperity, of a family who had been her neighbours for sixty years (and into which my sister later married):

"There's a touch of the leg iron in that family."

She always took pride in the knowledge that all her ancestors came to Australia as free immigrants. However, there were a couple of branches of the family that seemed to be mentioned less than others. I'm going to explore them one of these days....


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 08:43 AM

speaking of bastards ...

Dad's grandmother (b. 1860) & granddaughter of our convict had the word ILLEGITIMATE written boldly across the space for date & place of parent's wedding on her birth certificate. Her younger siblings were not so unlucky (parents told a fib!) & parents were finally able to marry when their oldest daughter was 25 (their spouses had died by then). I wonder if their children were at the ceremony.

When I found Gran's certificate in the archives, I knew my father would not be worried, but I was concerned how his 70 year old Catholic spinster cousin would react. Fortunately she was a modern spinster, not an old-fashioned Catholic old maid, & merely wondered if Grandm would have known. She realised that Gran would have as she was a nurse & would have needed her birth certificate to get a job.

ancestor hunting can be fun.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 05:10 PM

We just saw a special on PBS's "Secrets of the Dead" which was based on the book LtS mentions, "The Flaoting Brothel." It was really interesting and an incredible recounting of what the women sent to Australia went though. I could easily have watched another hour or two about it. Glad to see a Mudcat recommendation for the book. Thanks! Any songs about these women?

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Ebbie
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 05:22 PM

"Cain was a murderer, wasn't he? Fratricide, too. Don't know if he did time though." Gurney

Close enough, Gurney. According to the story, Cain was exiled.


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 09:21 PM

I don't think Eskimos live in Greenland...


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 03:28 AM

You wouldn't call it living. The only entertainment they get is to change their name now and again. Currently it's Inuit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 08:06 AM

Kat - I know of 1 song about convict women, I think Judy Small wrote it. I couldn't see anything about it in her website Crafty Maid website

Title is something like Damned whores & it includes the rhyming line "& we don't wear drawers"!! I's the story of 3 convict women. JennyO & Bob Bolton no doubt would know it.

Dunno where Jenny is at the moment (maybe posting to this thread as happened once recently!) but Bob is unlikely to be on line as he is concerned with the organisation of the Bush Music Club's Maitland Ball & is probably very busy.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 10:05 AM

G'day Kat and Sandra,

The song Sandra is thinking of is A Bunch of Damned Whores ... by Ted Egan - currently Administrator (~ = Governor) of The Northern Territory!

The song is based partly on the exploits of the Class 3 women at the Parramatta Female Factory ... and more specifically on the equivalent group of "intractable" women at the Cascades (Hobart, Tasmania) Female Factory (Prison / Workhouse Laundry). It's sung on various Ted Egan records by his lady Nerys (as the Welsh convict girl) - Margret RoadKnight - and various others - as English, Scottish and Irish women convicts.

The Judy Small song, which also appears on Ted Egan's Convicts CD, is Mary Parker's Lament - and that's also on Judy's 1982 A Natural Selection. I think this one is from Judy Small's family history ... but I don't have details in front of me ... and it just went midnight ...

Regard(les)s,

Bob


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Subject: Lyr Add: BUNCH OF DAMNED WHORES & MARY PARKER'S...
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 10:26 PM

G'day again Kat & Sandra,

I must have posted Bunch of Damned Whores before (I have it in my "Songs" folder in Mudcat html!). The story that caught Ted's eye was of the Class 3 ('intractable') convict women at the Cascades Female factory - during religious service attended by the Governor Lord Franklin along with Lady Franklin - getting upset at a long and tedious haranguing sermon by the Anglican Chaplain. Their response was to hoist their skirt and exppse the bare buttocks to him.

It's recorded that the Governor and his Lady were more amused and sympathetic than the Chaplain ... they were suffering the same. Anyway, Ted took the core idea and expanded it to an anthem for the repressed convict women.

Bunch of Damned Whores
Words & Music: Ted Egan

We're a bunch of damned whores and we never wear drawers,
And they say we're the cause of dissension,
But none of your fuss, before you judge us -
There's a few things that we'd like to mention.


Cockney:
Me name's Molly Brown and the beak sent me down,
For nickin' a gentleman's watch in the Strand.
So I'm sailin' away, from Southampton today -
Transported for life to Van Diemen's Land.
So if I'm one of them whores and I never wear drawers,
It's simply that I can't afford 'em,
But it seems plain to me that the English gentry-
Is the baskets what causes the whoredom.
We're a bunch of damned whores and we never wear drawers,
And they say we're the cause of dissension,
But none of your fuss, before you judge us -
There's a few things that we'd like to mention.


Scots:
I'm Morag MacDonald, born in the Gorbals
And raised in the brothels since I was aged ten
And now I'm transported, for life, for me sins
- And they've handed me over to the Government men.
I wonder how just it all is for I must now
Submit to the evils of this cruel lot.
They'll flog us and rape us and tell us we're evil,
But they are the sinners - we're not!
We're a bunch of damned whores and we never wear drawers,
And they say we're the cause of dissension,
But none of your fuss, before you judge us -
There's a few things that we'd like to mention.


Irish:
I'm Bridgid O'Rourke and I'm from County Cork -
I'm a prisoner for life, just for stealing a sheep,
To feed me old parents, who were squealing with hunger
Oh! Jesus, these times are so hard I could weep
For I'm here in the Factory - out at Parramatta
And I'm sold to the soldiers and guards,
By a dirty old harlot, who takes all the money
And spends it on liquor and cards.
We're a bunch of damned whores and we never wear drawers,
And they say we're the cause of dissension,
But none of your fuss, before you judge us -
There's a few things that we'd like to mention.


Welsh:
My name's Megan Rhys I got nabbed by the police,
In the back streets of Cardiff for pinching a dress.
I'm only eighteen and I've been treated mean
My life's been a story of unhappiness.
Drummed out of my Parish for having a child,
Whose father was killed in the war -
I was driven to vice - so, "Twill d pob saes"
It's the system what made me a whore
We're a bunch of damned whores and we never wear drawers,
And they say we're the cause of dissension,
But none of your fuss, before you judge us -
There's a few things that we'd like to mention.


So lift up your skirts, girls, and show your bare bums
And slap on your buttocks, me whorey old chums.
Let's show 'em we know 'em, for just what they are.
They're the world's greatest bastards by far!
We're a bunch of damned whores and we never wear drawers,
And they say we're the cause of dissension,
But none of your fuss, before you judge us -
There's a few things that we'd like to mention.


(Reprise:)
We're a bunch of damned whores and we never wear drawers,
And they say we're the cause of dissension,
But none of your fuss, before you judge us ? (pause):
? There's a few things that we'd like to mention.


Judy Small's song is about her distant ancestress - Mary Small (neé 쳌arker).

Mary Parker's Lament
Judy Small

There's a little more grey in my hair nowadays,
As I sit here watching my grandchildren play
And I wonder if they have the faintest idea
Of the life that their grandmother knew.

It's oh and alas for you Mary my girl,
To be torn from the life you knew half round the world
And never again to see home.

It was back in the eighties, a younger girl then,
With auburn hair flashing, I'd walk with my man
And he'd tell me the places he'd take me to see -
If only that he had the means.

But then I was with child and I saw him no more.
In the pain of our parting I thought I should die
And I stole from my master some blankets and cloth,
Just to keep me and baby alive.

But 'twas all for nought for the baby he died.
It felt like a part of me perished inside
And for stealing I was sent as a transport to sea,
Never knowing for where I was bound.

It's oh and alas for you Mary my girl,
To be torn from the life you knew half round the world
And never again to see home.

Seven long years was the sentence I bore.
It felt like a lifetime as I came ashore
And I wept when I saw the life waiting for me -
As a chattel, a slave and a whore.

So I married a convict, the safer to be,
From the soldiers and the freed men who chased after me,
And for seven long years we did work for our keep
Ever dreaming of England and home.

And the children I bore were the joy of my days.
I longed for my mother to see them at play
And our hands grew rough from the scrubbing and dirt
And the sun turned our fair skins to brown.

Then on ticket of leave we were granted some land
And worked it and ploughed it by sweat of our hands -
And forgot about England except in our dreams
And called New South Wales our true home.

And now here I sit watching my grandchildren play
And looking back over the length of my days
And it's clear in my mind is the Plymouth I knew
And I weep for my mother again.

It's oh and alas for you Mary my girl,
To be torn from the life you knew half round the world
And never again to see home.

Mary was one of the multitude of English poor caught up with poverty and betrayal - who knuckled down under the oppressive convict regime of early New South Wales, did as well as the system permitted ... and founded a line of Australians prepared to 'buck the system' when warranted and work for a better country.

It's a pity that none of them are represented in our State and Federal Parliaments as our Prime Minister eagerly lines up to join the American fight against democracy ... as long as he gets his Davy Crockett hat!

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 10:45 PM

Errr... G'day again,

I had intended to attach these notes (found here: Henry & Susanne's Songnook) on Judy Small's Mary Parker's Lament:

Written in 1982. Mary Parker was a First-Fleet convict arriving at Sydney Cove aboard the Lady Penryn on 26 January 1788. She later married one John Small, a convicted highwayman also in the First Fleet, and from that union my family has descended (some would say rapidly!). This song, true to the folk tradition, includes both fact and fabrication, as not all the details of Mary's life are known but the story sings true enough to me. (Judy Small Songbook 54)


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry? Lyrics added
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 11:31 PM

G'day, Bob and Sandra! Thank you, so much, Bob, for posting the lyrics and notes about these songs! It's wonderful to read them after just having seen the PBS show.

What incredible women to have been punished so and found a way to live life in spite of it all.

Thanks, again,

kat


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Subject: Lyr Add: MARY REIBY (Sue Gee)
From: JennyO
Date: 26 Aug 06 - 12:30 AM

Okay, I guess it's time to get this one out. It's on a double CD of songs from sessions put together by Miguel Heatwole, called The People Have Songs - a bit of a blast from the past for me, but that's a whole 'nother story.....

MARY REIBY

Written, played & sung by Sue Gee
additional vocals by Jenny O'Reilly, Miguel Heatwole, Margaret Walters & Len Neary.

"While researching a workshop on cross-dressing in folk music I discovered the teenaged Mary's brief episode during which she stole a horse, resulting in her being transported to Australia. I have been writing songs for many years now and my pet topics include women in Austalian 'herstory,' especially controversial figures, and political satire."

CHORUS
      Tell me, convict boy James Borrow
      What may be your fate tomorrow?
      Streets of Sydney glowing gold
      For Mary Reiby, merchant bold.


      When you're next at Circular Quay
      Take a stroll down Reiby Place
      See a travel-worn ship docking
      And a teenaged convict's lonely face
      Was she anxious, hopeless, fearful
      Bitter, raging at her plight?
      Or did she see sun on water glinting
      Thanking God he'd spared her life?

CHORUS

      Denied a loving place in family
      Young Mary took a desperate ploy
      To escape her situation
      She masqueraded as a boy
      James Borrow was the name she took
      Three months she roamed a wandering course
      Til penniless, in rags, and starving
      From a field she stole a horse.

      Could she have known this reckless act
      Her whole destiny would shape?
      Despite all pleas she was transported
      To spend her days in a strange landscape
      Conditions on the ship were hard
      A fever cost them many lives
      But Mary, lucky and resourceful
      Somehow managed to survive.

CHORUS

      Assigned to working as a servant
      In Lieutenant Grose's home
      She caught the eye of a young sailor
      Thomas Reiby was his name
      On the banks of the Hawkesbury River
      Together they farmed a grant of land
      Began their lives as equal partners
      In love and business, hand in hand.

      A flood destroyed their Hawkesbury home
      So the Reibys moved to Sydney's Rocks
      Mary ran their trading stores
      Tom sailed the world purchasing stock
      For many years the business prospered
      'Til fever took Tom from her side
      But Mary carried on undaunted
      Although her tears had scarcely dried.

CHORUS

      Alone, she brought up seven children
      Her sons upon her ships enrolled
      Her steady hand made wise investments
      Until an empire she controlled
      She stood her ground among the men
      With commonsense and business skill
      Yes, we salute you Mary Reiby
      Your life inspires all women still.

CHORUS


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Subject: RE: BS: Convict ancestry? Lyrics added
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 26 Aug 06 - 12:30 AM

G'day kat,

The First Fleet - the one that first settled Australia in 1788 - had fairly good British Government supervision and reasonably good conditions for the transported convicts. Subsequent convict transport was handed over to contractors (as it had been, formerly, for transportation to America) and conditions - and deaths in transit - on the second fleet were much worse.

The person who stood up and "blew the whistle" on bad practices and conditions seems to have been a convict woman named Sarah Bolton. I can't see any suggestion that she was any relation to my family, since my Gradfather Bolton only came out from Lancashire in 1911, as a 14-year old with his mother and brother, after his father died the year before.

However, the earliest arrival I have traced on my mother's side was Jane-Anne Quinn from Ireland with her 'free sttler' family in 1834 and married a Dutch sailor, Jan van Kampen, on the goldfields in 1854. Others of Mum's family claim her to have been a sister to Ellen Quinn (arriving in the same year) who married an ex-convict John (Red) Kelly - and their first son (born in 1854) was Edward (Ned).. who went on to be our most noted bushranger!

It's fairly hard to track down the old records, due to events like the strange way that the "Crystal Palace" of the 1888 Exposition caught fire and burned to the ground ... just after they moved the old State records into the empty building for storage!

Regards,

Bo


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Subject: Lyr Add: LONDON CONVICT MAID & CONVICT MAID
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 26 Aug 06 - 11:03 AM

G'day yet again kat & co,

Here's another - with a broadside origin in the early 19th century ... and a "honed-down" version from the early 'folk revival' period. This is interesting since many suspect that the broadside was actually encouraged ... indeed, perhaps instituted, by the authorities - to counter the stories circulating in London about convicts who had done well in the new colony and were better off that they had been, in service, in London. The current folk scene version seems to have been entirely "trimmed" in the revival!

BTW: I would tend to hear the current tune as a variant of The Croppy Boy. If anyone wants to investigate that line ... I could supply my tune in ABC (and supply a MIDI to the Mudcat MIDIs).

Regards,

Bob

True Patriots All , Geofrey C. Ingleton, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1952, contains a reproduction of this ballad, titled THE LONDON CONVICT MAID; originally printed by "Birt, Printer, 39 Great St. Andrew Street, Seven Dials, London" and later in the collection of Mr Harry Hodges and then in the Dixson collection, Sydney.

THE LONDON CONVICT MAID

Charlotte W -, the subject of this narrative, is a native of London, born of honest parents, she was early taught the value and importance of honesty and virtue; but unhappily ere her attaining the age of maturity, her youthful affections were placed on a young Tradesman, and to raise the money to marry her lover, she yielded to the temptation to rob her master, and his property being found in her possession, she was immediately apprehended, tried at the Old Bailey Sessions, convicted and sentenced to seven years transportation. On her arrival at Hobart Town, she sent her mother a very affecting and pathetic letter, from which the following verses have been composed, and they are here published by particular desire, in the confident hope that this account of her sufferings will serve as an example to deter other females from similar practices.
                               __________________________________

Ye London maids attend to me,
While I relate my misery;
Thro' London Streets I oft times stray'd,
But now I am a convict maid.

In innocence I once did live,
In all the joys that peace can give;
But sin my youthful heart betray'd,
And now I am a convict maid.

To wed my lover, I did try
To take my master's property,
So all my guilt was soon diplay'd,
And I became a convict maid.

Then I was soon to prison sent,
To wait, in fear, my punishment,
When at the bar, I stood dismay'd;
Since doom'd to be a convict maid.

At length the judge did me address,
Which fill'd with pain, my aching breast,
To Botany Bay you will be convey'd,
For seven years a convict maid.

For seven years! oh, how I sighed;
While my poor mother loudly cried;
My lover wept, and thus he said,
May God be with my convict maid.

To you that hear my mournful tale,
I cannot half my grief reveal;
No sorrow yet has been portray'd,
Like that of the poor convict maid.

Far from friends and home, so dear.
My punishment is most severe;
My woe is great, and I'm afraid
That I shall die a convict maid.

I toil each day in grief and pain,
In sleepless thought the night remain;
My constant toils are unrepald,
And wretched is the convict maid.

Oh, could I but once more be free,
I'd ne'er again a captive be,
But I would seek some honest trade,
And never become a convict maid.

The broadside version seems not to have been collected in Australia - but a much trimmed version appears in folk clubs in the 1950s:

THE CONVICT MAID
(Tune: The Sailor Boy)

You lads and lasses all attend to me
While I relate my tale of misery;
By hopeless love was I once betrayed,
And now I am, alas, a convict maid.

To please my lover did I try so sore,
That I spent upon him all my master's store,
Who In his wrath did so loud upbraid
And brought before the Judge this convict maid.

The judge his sentence then to me addressed,
Which filled with agony my aching breast:
"To Botany Bay you must be conveyed,
For seven long years to be a convict maid."

For seven long years I toil in pain and grief,
And curse the day that I became a thief,
O, had I stuck by some honest trade.,
I ne'er had been, alas, a convict maid.

A pithy abbreviation of "The London Convict Maid", a broadside about "Charlotte W-".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Convict ancestry? Lyrics added
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Aug 06 - 11:08 AM

JennyO, I' love to hear the tune with that! Thanks so much for psoting it and DO tell...how many other CDs are you on that we've not heard about?:-)

G'day, Bob. One of my fav. books is one I read about Ned after reading about the book here at the Mudcat! Thanks for the further info...I find it all so very interesting!

kat


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