The family history database Ancestry, has made available online the Convict Registers of Conditional and Absolute Pardons 1791-1846 , and the NSW Certificates of Freedom 1827-1867, which “completes” the journey from arrest to release of almost one third of all convicts transported to Australia.
It will allow family members to see whether a convict in their family tree was given an absolute pardon, giving them full citizen rights, or a conditional pardon, which entitled a convict to their freedom but not to return to the UK. Other information already on the website includes applications to marry and death registers.
Technology has also made it possible to view digital images of original documentation and to find out details of people’s occupation and religion and gather a physical description.
Ancestry estimates that more than four million Australians are descended from convicts who were shipped from Britain to Australia’s penal colonies, meaning there is a one in five chance the average Aussie will have an ancestor included in the records.
The Ancestry Library Edition database is available free, via the Library website , on all the public PCs at the City of Tea Tree Gully Library.
Image courtesy of National Library of Australia – National Treasures