Do you have a convict in your family?

Individual convicts can be named in these volumes – this table even gives wives’ maiden names [Convict system, volume 8, page 65 of section on Western Australia]

The State Library is adding new digital content to its website all the time, which means that you can do some of your family history research from home. For instance, if you have a convict or guard in your family, you might be interested in the Convict system. This eight-volume set, housed in our rare book collection, consists of corrrespondence about the convict establishment from the Comptroller General.

Lots of convicts are named, as you can see from the example here, and there is plenty of background information too. For instance, I was able to find out when the government ceased the practice of recouping passage money from convicts – 1857. There is a notice to this effect on page 29 of the same volume.

The easiest way to access this wonderful resource is to type convict system under Title in our catalogue and select State Library Online from the drop-down box. Once you’ve selected a volume, you can browse through the pages by placing your cursor on the edge of a page and clicking. This makes a very satisfying page-turning noise! If you want to search for names, scroll down and select the Download button. This means you can save a searchable PDF version to your PC. The files are fairly large so you may need to be patient.