GenMassachusetts-L ArchivesArchiver > GenMassachusetts > 2007-09 > 1188831407
Subject: [GENMASSACHUSETTS] Australian Convict Roots
Date: Mon, 3 Sep 2007 10:56:47 EDT
Web search lifts lid on convict roots
Jude Townend | July 25, 2007
MAX Carrick's mother always insisted that her side was of Irish ancestry but
the details were a little hazy.Her name was Whiting which he thought didn't
seem very Irish. So he wasn't surprised, when he began his family tree
research 12 years ago, that they are the equivalent of convict royalty.
Mr Carrick, 61, is a descendent of Willian Hubbard, who arrived on the First
Fleet after stealing one bed sheet back in Manchester, Britain, in 1783.
Hubbard quickly married another convict, Mary Goulding, who was fresh off the
second fleet, firmly founding his descendents’ criminal roots.
Mr Carrick was one of several convict descendents gathered at The Mint in
Sydney this morning, all keen to share their stories. No longer is there such a
taboo surrounding their law-breaking history.
“There's a certain cache having conflict blood in the ancestry,” said
Sydney Councillor Phillip Black yesterday, and described its contribution to a
typical Australian attitude today, one of irony and irreverence.
He, the convict descendents, other family history experts and enthusiasts
were gathered for the launch of a new online database, Ancestry.com.au, which
will allow users to search the Convict Transportation Registers 1788 - 1868
for evidence of their criminal past.
Whereas in the past people had to trawl the records by hand, the information
will now be available online, although users must subscribe after a 14 day
free trial. The transportation collection includes just over 163,000 names,
the largest online resource of its kind.
At the same time the company announced that a new study showed that as many
as four million Australians have a convict past, and they are joined by two
million descendents in Britain, also related to people deported in the 18th
and 19th century.
Among them, 2 per cent were guilty of serious crimes such as murder or
assault, but the vast majority - 87 per cent of men and 91 per cent of women -
were convicted of minor offences, mainly property crimes.
These ranged from stealing fish from a river or pond to setting fire to
underwood, or petty theft.
With the publication of the online records Max Carrick's search has only
just begun. But his wife Karen will not be helping him. “There's only room for
one all-consuming passion in the house,” she said.
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