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Source Information

Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788-1842 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.
Original data:

Indents First Fleet, Second Fleet and Ships. NRS 1150, microfiche 620–624. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

List of Convicts: Minerva, Speedy, Royal Admiral, Minorca, Canada, Nile. NRW 1151, microfiche 625. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

Bound manuscript indents, 1788–1842. NRS 12188, microfiche 614–619,626–657, 660–695. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

Annotated printed indents (i.e., office copies). NRS 12189, microfiche 696–730, 732–744. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

© The Crown in right of the State of New South Wales and is used under licence with the permission of the State Records Authority. The State of New South Wales gives no warranty regarding the data's accuracy, completeness, currency or suitability for any particular purpose.

About New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788-1842

This database contains convict indents listing details about convicts being transported to New South Wales, Australia.

Historical Background

Transportation as a punishment for convicted criminals in England and other parts of the British Empire came about in the seventeenth century. At first transportation was primarily to America. However, this stopped with the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in 1776, and a new penal colony was developed in Australia. The first group of convicts to be transported left for Australia in 1787 in what has come to be called the First Fleet. The Second Fleet left in 1789–1790 and the Third Fleet in 1791. Transportation was formally abolished in 1868, though numbers of convicts had waned for nearly a decade before that. By the time transportation was discontinued, approximately 160,000 people had been sent to Australia.

What’s in the Records

A convict indent (or ‘indenture’) is an official list of convicts being transported aboard a particular ship. The lists provide particulars about each convict, with the amount of information increasing as transportation when on. Name, a trial date and place, and sentence are listed on the earliest indents. Later records may include

  • age
  • crime
  • physical description
  • nativity
  • marital status
  • number of children
  • trade
  • port and date of arrival
  • vessel
  • information on tickets of leave, certificates of freedom, or pardons
  • to whom a convict was assigned

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