Our Family lock down blog week 6

Well, we’re now into week 6 – gosh its actually gone quick really, its doesn’t seem like 6 weeks looking back!

We definitely started with renewed energy this week! Monday was a busy day. It started with James missing BBC bitesize for the 5 – 7 year olds because I went out early to get a bit of food shopping but he did see the 7 – 9 year old 20 minute lesson which was really interesting as it was about Henry VIII and his 6 wives – who knows the acronym D B D D B S? – I’ll leave it to you to work out!

It led to a bit of a family history lesson with me explaining that in many ways we had a lot to thank Henry VIII for as without his creation of the Church of England, we may not have many of the records we now use in family history research, in particular parish registers and records! That is where my lesson ended (well he is only 5!) but of course Henry VIII also has a lot to answer for – persecution of Catholics etc but who knows how history would have unfolded had it not been for his stubbornness to divorce Catherine of Aragon? An interesting thought!

Anyway, here’s a few pics and videos of our week….

Games courtesy of Lets Go Live @maddiemoate

So it has possibly been the best week so far despite the rain! I think the fact we’ve had all the mini maker stuff to do has helped! Treasure hunts for numbers and letters round the house have gone down well 👍 We even found a brilliant website were you can watch various animals live in aquariums, nature reserves etc! We were watching Tigers on Tuesday afternoon!

I’m also starting to think ahead to next week and the 75th VE day celebrations, I don’t know what the school have got planned but I really hope they have a VE Day themed homeschooling pack for us …. if not well, I have found loads of brilliant resources online and I intend to have a week of VE Day themes for the kids – colouring, creating bunting, baking some 1940’s recipes, songs etc. I’m quite excited about it!

I also want to spend some time preparing details of what my husband and my grandparents did in WW2 …watch this space for related blogs!

Our family lock down blog week 5

I can’t believe we’re into week 5 of lock down, and three more weeks until there may be able change. I’m really hoping the kids will go back to school for the last half term (at the beginning of June). I think they will after all they have (or at least primary schools have) in a number of Europe countries (or are planning to in the next couple of weeks). It would be so nice for the kids to see their friends and end their school year properly before the summer holidays, which the government have already said will not change.

For now it’s back to homeschooling for 6 weeks until half term. BBC Bitesize started today with small chunks of curriculum based education aimed at specific age groups. James loved starting the day with that this morning, even Rose watched it! Another bonus this week – we get two slices of Maddie Moat – Lets Go Live in the morning and the new series of her “Do You Know” series on cbeebies. She really is brilliant, even I learn so much! 😁

Also will do our best to follow the timetable set by the teachers this week in the hope that it gives us a bit more structure….maybe not to the day but at least to the learning!

It was also time on Monday to make the now unavoidable trip to the supermarket to do some food shopping – we have managed two weeks but the cupboards were getting rather bare😂 Lunchtime is definitely the best to go – no queue and plenty of stock – there was nothing I didn’t manage to get albeit that on some items I had to buy a more expensive version but at least we should be ok now for another two(ish) weeks! It’s amazing how much more food we go through when we’re all home 24/7!

We did have a great time making paper mache and covering an empty plastic bottle – recycling 👍 Can you guess what we’re going to make…..all will be revealed later in the week when it’s dry and possibly coloured……….

The homeschooling theme for this week is the wonderful story “We’re going on a bear hunt” – so we recreated it….

This was great fun, they went round about 4 times! I did film them three times but this was the best. It was hilarious! They also did maps and a James did a story board….

Well, it’s Wednesday already – half way through the week – and homeschooling continues with sharing and halving

With yet more cake and bun baking too! At least the weather is warming up again albeit windy! We seem to be getting into a routine this week of homschooling in the morning with play/creative time in the afternoon (largely anyway!).

I did enjoy a run this morning on my own and I bet my personal best for my little 5k circuit – 22 mins! (previously 25 to 30 mins) Definitely getting fitter (I think!🤣) although really felt the hayfever this morning though in my breathing….whilst I like the warmer sunny weather I hate the pollen that comes with it!

I also managed to get my first watercolour painting done today in my little book I got at xmas – out in the garden whilst watching the kids play 😉 I am impressed with myself as never really been that good at painting!

So it’s now Sunday and the end of week five of lockdown and week 1 of the summer homeschooling term! What a week it has been. James seemed to lose interest in schooling after Wednesday even though we’ve only really been doing school work in the morning!

Not really sure what we have done in the second half of the week! Thursday morning Rose had a screaming melt down when we were moving the trampoline – I stood her on the mat we have on the ground round the ladder to the trampoline and she started scream because of ants – there were none about but she really lost the plot! 😱😵 She is turning into a bit of a diva at the moment! Maybe she’s missing the one to one attention she had got used to on the days she was at home with me and James was at school….. its hard to give each of them that one to one attention at the moment – both here all the time with just me most of the time to do things with them even though Graeme is working at home. I find I’m getting so tired by the latter half of the week. Why can’t they just do things on their own without needed one of us to interact with them all the time. I’m sure when I was a child, my brother and I didn’t have mum and dad playing with us all the time???

School are setting work in a different way this next week, rather than been in year groups it will be by key stage so we will see what that brings and whether it helps James maintain more interest in school work for longer. Waiting for the information to go on the website – why they wait until what feels like mid morning on a Monday to put it up and not on a Friday so we can get organised is beyond me and frustrating but hay ho! Lets just hope they;re back at school part time in some way after spring bank half term!

Week 4 Our Family lock down blog

Easter Sunday was hard for me – I was extremely tried having spent Saturday night in the tent with Rose – she slept brilliantly. Me – didn’t sleep a wink! 🥱😴😥 BUT, here we are at the start of the 4th week of Covid-19 lock down. It’s Monday 13th April 2020 – Easter Monday – and my last day to get some research done before Graeme is back at work (from home) tomorrow and I’m back in charge of the kids 🤣😂

It started well, getting back into running after a week off because my knees were suffering from too much playing on the trampoline with the kids! and having my own brick wall break through which felt like a minor eureka moment – those family researchers will understand I’m sure! A great start to the week. Now I need to go through the rest of my 300+ DNA matches and family tree and check where there may be errors in my early research or new leads to trace family further back. I think I’ve already found on error which I need to follow up!

I also started to get organised with paperwork, printing off and cataloguing numerous lecture/workshop/webinar notes from various events last year – many from Rootstech London which, despite having a ticket, a missed because the kids were both poorly and just wanted mummy! Still haven’t read most of them but at least now there is more of a chance with them printed off – I hate reading stuff on the computer screen!

Also getting a bit more organised ready for revision for my IHGS exam which is supposed to take place on the 13th June – still no definite decision if/when it will go ahead or be postponed until later in the year/November. I was really psyched up for it before all these new restrictions on our lives, with a revision timetable set out for when the kids should have been returning back to school/preschool next week (after the Easter hols) and in some ways I still hope it goes ahead sooner rather than later but on the other hand, I really can’t see when I’m going to get any meaningful revision in at the moment until the schools are allowed to go back so also hoping it is postponed!

As for the kids, well they’ve not been too back this week. James joined me for my run on Wednesday morning – he was on his bike not running with me! 🤣 It did slow me up a bit and I’m not sure it will happen every time but it was good for him I think.

With the weather not been quite as sunny and warm this week we’ve been inside a bit more. James has got back into doing a bit of school work and has really enjoyed the dino week with Lets Go Live with Maddy and Greg making his own fossil rocks and mummy and baby dinosaur

I have also had them back in the kitchen baking…..oh the diet we will all be on when life starts to get back to normal 🤣🤣🤣

We’ve also been making a different use for jenga blocks and started a new lego tower challenge

On Friday morning, James decided he wanted to try and run with me rather than cycle along with me….he managed half a km! 🤣 and decided he’d come on his bike with me in the future…but at least that’s his physical education sorted! 🚲

The weekend gave me a chance to catch up and complete my revision notes, spurred on by a virtual AGRA South Central networking meeting on Friday. After a few technical glitches! it was lovely to see everyone and catch up. Looking forward to more in the future until we can all meet again in person. I feel rather ‘out of’ the genealogy world at the moment, with little time and space to crack on with revision leaving me feeling rather deflated about the whole thing! Hopefully some virtual revision sessions can be organised with my revision group and spur me on again!

I did get time for a further look at my DNA ancestors over the weekend and checked out some of the virtual family tree live lectures – so sad that such a great event had to be cancelled in the fantastic building that is Alexander Palace. There will always (hopefully) be next year.

I am getting there (I think) with understanding the DNA ancestry although, to be honest, I’m really not that interested in it other than to break down any brick walls. It is great for checking your traditional research is correct, but again going back in time, the connections are only as good as the paper trail research. It is always tempting to accept research of others where there are a large number of trees with the same information but there is always the risk that many of those trees have just copied from each other and not actually done the paper research themselves….if there are no sources, do not accept it …is my motto! Do the research yourself, otherwise what fun is there in it?

I also got to practice some calligraphy – I won’t say ‘skill’s yet as they are definitely in training! Although I discovered that to practice properly I do need some proper calligraphy paper that does not cause the ink to bleed… shopping! 🤣

I also finished my first Nathan Dylan Goodwin novel “The Missing Man” which I was bought for my birthday. A great read thoroughly enjoyed! Can’t wait to get started on my next – “The Stirling Affair” also bought for my birthday 😁 I guess I know what sill be on my xmas list!

Monday is the start of the summer school term, so it’s back to homeschooling…..lets see how this goes!

My brick wall breakthrough

My maternal grandmothers paternal family have always been a mystery in our family. My great grandfather was Fred Sheard Oldfield. His mother, May Ann Turner was married to Tom Oldfield but he was not named on the Fred’s birth or marriage certificate.

We also could not figure out where the name ‘Sheard’ came from. However, after my recent studies and further insight into how names came about (and in many ways probably still do) and my research into his mother, Mary Ann, found her living as a ‘House keeper’ for Fred Sheard in the 1901 census, the conclusion drawn was that Fred Sheard was most likely Fred Sheard Oldfield’s father.

It was also discovered that Fred Sheard was lodging with Mary Ann’s brother in the 1891 census. Fred Sheard was said to be born in about 1863 in or around Huddersfield, according to the census returns.

But how to find his parents? There were just too many possibilities to be sure of the right family based on traditional records research alone. So, unfortunately my Nanna died is 2012 so the closest relative I could obtain a DNA specimen from was her youngest sister, my great aunt Janie, who my mum is very close to. She was very willing and the test was carried out in Summer 2019. It has however taken me until now to get round to studying those results and searching for a DNA connection to try and resolve this brick wall.

This morning, East Monday during the Corona virus lock down 2020, I decided to tackle it and what a eureka moment! Within minutes I had found DNA matches with a number of cousins (1st, 2nd, 3rd including some of them being 1x or 2x removed) to my great aunt…and these were on her paternal side with the common ancestor being my great x4 grandfather through the mother of Fred Sheard 😁😍🧬

This has enabled me to locate his mother and father using traditional research methods – Ann Goldthorpe and Joseph Sheard who married in 1843. Fred was their youngest child of five. Unfortunately as yet there does not appear to be any DNA matches through the paternal side, Joseph, but traditional records research names his father as David. There are a number of possible alternatives for which couple are his parents – David and Mary or David and Hannah. I think it is David and Mary but there is insufficient information, being prior to useful census records and the introduction of civil registration, to confirm this. They all live in a similar area!

So, another small brick wall is built on this paternal side, although I am sure as more DNA results are available this will be broken down – or further traditional research at the archives when I can travel to Yorkshire on the other side of these Corona virus times!

What I doubt I’ll ever find, is a photograph of Fred Sheard 😢

In the meantime it is on to checking the rest of my DNA matches 😊

Our family history 2020 skools out for Coronavirus Blog Week 3 – a toughy!

6th to 12th April

The Countdown to Easter

Well, this has been a tough week, particularly the first half. I was tired, tetchy and tearful but some good did come out of it – a heart to heart with my son, James, who so far has generally been really good and strong but he finally had some tears with me on Tuesday lunchtime opening up to missing his friends, school and his teachers. It is so tough for all of us but for those in reception class, just starting out in their school life and finding their way in making friends, it must be hard to have that all suddenly taken away from them. It is going to be a sad end to their first year at school unlikely to return before the summer break and therefore missing out on some important summer events such as school sports day etc.

I did really help him though when later that afternoon, one of his friends who lives just near us was going for their daily exercise with her family and we were able to stop them and have a chat (across the road of course). It was lovely for James to see her.

One thing that wasn’t helping my mood and ability to cope was hubby working from home in our conservatory which is open plan to our kitchen and a thorough fare to the garden. Also many of the children’s toys etc are in there. And whilst it may not have bothered him, it bothered me! The constant not knowing if he was a video call and trying not to make too much noise was beginning to strain on me…..So I banished him and his home office to our sons bedroom where there is a desk which my son never really uses yet and he con continue working in peace with us know that when he’s out of the room he’s having a break and we can make as much noise as we want downstairs. This really has helped the second half of the week.

God it’s so tiring though constantly trying to think of things to entertain them both and maintain that entertainment. our three year old daughter, as with most three year olds, has the concentration span of a gnat 🤣🤣🤣🤣. On Thursday I set out an obstacle course for them in the garden …they loved it but it only held their attention for about 20 mins (wow that long some may say!) and rather than me being able to relax and watch them, I think I found it more exhausting than them following them around resetting all the obstacles…….hmmm

I also discovered how to make paint. Paint is generally banished from our house because of all the mess they make – they do have a small set of watercolour each. we had bought a long roll of paper for them to use in the summer outside for messy painting but I hadn’t got around to buying any paint yet… why not make your own – all you need is sugar, salt, cornflour, water and food colouring. It went a bit lump but they didn’t mind, made a lovely mess with foot prints and did keep them entertained for quite a while!

It’s Easter Saturday as I’m writing this and it feels like a Sunday, in fact yesterday even felt like a Sunday…everyday feels like a perpetual Sunday at the moment! It’s been a long week! I’ve actually ventured out to the supermarket this week – twice! And yes they were both for essentials – the second to try and get stuff I couldn’t get the first time and plan for the next week! I’m still getting used to how much more food we are going through with everyone been at home 24/7! Still not flour though 😪 And now were are out of plain flour and bread flour.

I can cope without both for now but the kids really enjoyed making their own pizza base for tea on Thursday and their own bread rolls for their bbq burgers yesterday! They also really enjoyed making chocolate crispy buns 😋😋😋

In many ways it is great to have such lovely weather at the moment, the kids can play outside. As it was Good Friday they couldn’t wait to get started on the Easter egg hunts round the garden and start tucking into their Easter eggs – well in these strange times why not start early its Easter weekend, why wait until Sunday! They have 2 eggs each so the rule is they can have half an egg a day over the 4 day weekend (not to be eaten all at once though) and before they get any they have to complete the egg hunt and James has to spell out the word(s)/phrase they make up! Make them work for their eggs!!!!

I spent Good Friday sat outside in the garden with the computer yesterday doing some work … daddy is not working which means I can catch up on things I want to do!…. which was great because it meant I could still watch what the kids were doing to with daddy – mainly putting the tent up so James and Daddy could sleep in it last night! We weren’t sure how that would go as last time they tried it neither got much sleep (it was two years ago though so James was only 3 years old). Thankfully both got a good night sleep – better than me in fact I was too hot and just could not get to sleep after being woken up early in my slumber because Rose had fallen out of bed!!!!!

What was lovely, was the sound of an Owl hooting on our tree in the middle of the night 😃🦉

It was also lovely to skype my parents again and see that they are keeping well and not going out – well they are of course enjoying their own garden and getting cracking on jobs which may otherwise have been left until later in the year – or not got done🤣 They should have been spending Easter down here in Surrey with us but that is of course just not to be. I really hope we can get to see them over the summer and it is not Christmas before we see them which would be a whole year….living 200 miles away from us in Yorkshire it may still be difficult to see them once the lockdown measures start easing😪

And oh I am so fed up of the journalists and others asking the government when they are likely to be eased……just look at Italy and Spain who have been in lockdown almost twice as long as us and only just starting to think about it…and then Wohan where is all began – three months in and they are just easing back into a ‘normal’ life yet other regions of China are only just seeing the worst of the virus….come on guys stop asking the same old questions when you know the answers! I am sure the government are discussing and planning for easing the lockdown but are not going to say anything about them for fear some of the public might think its OK to flout the rules…even more so than some have still been doing! I’m sure the politicians are growing tired of the same old questions!

And whilst on the note of politicians, great to hear our PM is on the mend and able to walk a short distance….home before you know it but please ease yourself slowly back into the job of PM! 😘

The down side to this nice weather – HAYFEVER – with a vengeance!!!!! James is particularly suffering all of a sudden but hopefully the medicine will help slowly. I always find it takes a while for the antihistamines to really help control hayfever symptoms 😌

So I said I was outside in the garden working on my computer yesterday – one of my many tasks to work on my own family tree – going through all those new Ancestry hints, updating checking and amending information and records – I found a couple of errors but nothing major thankfully. I covered up to and including my great x3 grandparents – concentrating on my direct line for now! Its a long job – and that’s just the records on Ancestry – I also use Family Search and Find My Past websites! And then there’s the DNA results to go through – 300+ possible distant cousins! 😮🤣 But first of all to finish the remainder of my great grandparents (x4, x5 etc)! So let me get cracking……..

Happy Easter Everyone – a very different one not to be forgotten!

Our family history 2020 skools out for Coronavirus Blog Week 2

30th March

Well, here we go week 2 of schooling at home and the last week before the Easter Holiday begins….but I think the school work will continue throughout otherwise I’m not sure we’ll get back into it…and Dad is still working from home throughout so may as well. Every day at the moment feels like the school holidays really 😏

It was little frustrating this morning because James was keen to get going but the second school pack did not become available until about 930 …. ok that doesn’t sound late but when they’ve been up since 6 and raring to go ….its late!!!!

The other frustrating thing today was the weather….turned rather chilly and overcast with rain in the afternoon. Kids didn’t want to go outside so much today so entertaining them inside provide a little more difficult today. I did manage to get them our for a walk/bike ride in the afternoon before the rain came 👍 Typical Rose though, set off on her balance bike and about 200 metres later she wanted to walk!!!!! 😣

Me, well I managed to get enrolled on two transcription programs – one for the National Archives (Royal Navy 1st WW seaman service records) and one promoted by Who Do You Think You Are? magazine with Ancestry (transcribing various criminal records). Looking forward to getting started. I also enrolled on a free course about creating a social media marketing campaign with FutureLearn and the Pharos course “Deeds and Disputes” with Susan Moore to learn more about Chancery Court records and land disputes and the courts, the courts being of particular interest to me and an area I specialise in in respect of family history….starts 11 May so something to look forward to 😃

The good news of the day was our Sainsbury’s food delivery following an email invitation I received from them on Friday to do an online delivery shop ….I’ve never been so excited about a shopping delivery …and we got toilet rolls and soap this time 👍🤣🤣🤣

The bad news….Graeme is on reduced hours and salary of work – 4 days a week (flexible spread over the week given he’s working at home!) and 80% salary – so may have to tighten our belts a bit, but the good news about this social isolation and distancing is that we’re not spending any money taking the kids out etc so we may save money anyway !!!!!🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Day 12 31st March

My daily exercise was in the form of an 8k run down the Down’s Link bridle path – really glad we live so close to it, great run. I guess there was one event worth reporting…..I decided to cut my own fringe – not quite sure what my hairdresser would think but I think it’s not a bad job

…. not confident enough to tackle my sons yet though – think his dads clipper may come in use there! Thankfully Rose’s hair can just keep growing for now!🤣👍

Some school work was done…. and Rose practised her cutting skills

1st to 5th April

Well, I’ve decided to do weekly blogs from here on in…. Our days just aren’t exciting enough to do daily ones but of course if something exciting happens it will be a highlight! 😝

I must comment in the lack of April fools jokes about coronavirus… Whilst they would be in very poor taste I was expecting to see some on social media but I didn’t 😃

It makes me sick to think of those disrespectful ignorants who have been spitting and coughing and peoples faces and they deserve the maximum penalty of 6 months in prison!

Also pleased the police have been handing out fines to those flouting rules as long as they are not too heavy handed with them.. Its not a money making exercise! Although to go out just to buy Easter eggs for the kids is not and essential shop! By all means buy them with the rest of your shopping but don’t risk disease just for Easter eggs! Your kids will not thank you for infecting them and the rest of the family!

What else has happened this week?

For the second Thursday running at 8 pm the country united in ‘Claps of Keyworkers’. Great to see so many of our neighbours out and lots of banging and clanging on pots and pans and cheers. I’m not sure if this is going to be a weekly event….and I’m not sure it should be…after a while does something like this not lose its sense of support and just become a ‘tradition’… and we know how lots of traditions end up losing their meaning???? Also, will people get ‘fed up’ of doing it and no longer turn out? Don’t get me wrong, it is a great show of support for our NHS, carers, teachers, supermarket/food store workers, chemists, delivery drivers, factory workers and all who are having to go out to work to keep the country going but when you then start seeing people trying to start campaigns for ‘claps for our children’ because of the way they are getting on the adjustments to their lives I just think it starts getting a bit silly?!

Again, don’t get me wrong it shows just how resilient our wonderful children are but having specialised in domestic abuse as a family law solicitor, I now all too well that for many children this is not a time to be clapping them because they will will be suffering. Yes schools are there for the most vulnerable, but what about the many children who fall below that radar but are vulnerable? And that is taking me away from the point and not a discussion I will get involved in now.

Needless to say I think the clapping, if it continues every week, although I will join in, will lose its effect and so important meaning.

Sunday evening and two news highlights – the Queen making a speech to the country, only the sixth time in her 68 reign that she has done so on any other day but Christmas Day. I have read many comments online both good and bad about her speech….essentially she is like marmite – you either love her or hate her – that is to say you are either a royalist or not! Oh how that harks back to the commonwealth gap years!!!! Anyway, one statement stood out for me, as I think it did for many others, and along with the reference to her childhood address to other children, it was a reference to war – this time it is a world war against a virus rather than other nations of the world….. WE’LL MEET AGAIN… a catchphrase and song synonymous with World War Two and now perhaps coronavirus.

And not longer after her speech…..another news update – our PM Boris Johnson is admitted to hospital for ‘routine’ tests following his continued battle with coronavirus. No he hasn’t taken a turn for the worse but is not recovering as expected, still having symptoms 10 days after testing positive. This is our PM, who I think has, thus far, done a sterling job leading the country through such difficult times. He has listened to his advisers, taken the steps necessary when necessary and has not tries to down play the seriousness of the situation or failed to follow his own advice to the rest of us….unlike Mr Trump, Mrs Calderwood…….I know from reading many comments online that even those who did not vote for him have supported him and praised him for his leadership in these hard times. I think he has proved himself as our PM and not the buffoon many people thought he was. God speed to your recovery Mr Johnson and hope to see you in press conferences again soon x

We’ll Meet Again 🌈❤

We’ll meet again

Don’t know where

Don’t know when

But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day

Keep smiling through

Just like you always do

‘Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away

Photo by Marta Branco on

A brief history of how our Ancestors were educated

And even did your ancestors receive an education? Certainly the further you go back in time the less likely they received an education unless they were in certain professions, although many ‘skilled’ labourers did serve apprenticeships. It was only 150 years ago when William Forster’s Elementary Education Act was passed in 1870 which was the beginning of ‘compulsory’ education for all 5 to 13 year old children although there had been a growing number of factory schools, colliery schools, chemical and railway schools established in the earlier half of the 19th Century.

Historically, it was the monasteries and churches which provided basic education and the Universities of Oxford (established in the late 11th Century) and Cambridge (established in the middle 13th Century) providing education for the professions (clergy, lawyers) available only to the wealthy and those is religious orders. The wealthy often educated their children privately at home, with hired governesses or tutors for younger children

Grammar schools (private and outside the control of the church) began to develop in the 15th Century with around 300 such Grammar schools existing at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries between 1536 and 1538, with an increasing number thereafter being established by Royal Charter and endowments of noblemen and wealthy merchants, all being private independent ‘public’ schools available only those who could afford the fees! It was often the ‘town-based middle class’ who could afford to send their sons to such schools.

So what about the ‘ordinary’ family and their children? It is well documented that the larger proportion of the population were illiterate and that children were required to work from as young an age as possible to help support their families. Of course, many children will have learnt trades from their parents – or should I say sons would learn trades from their fathers whilst daughters would learn their domestic and family ‘duties’ from their mothers – although of course those in particular who ‘worked the land’ would require the whole family to ‘work the land’ is order to survive.

17th Century

Charity schools began to develop to provide some education to children of the ‘deserving’ poor. Such schools would provide education free of charge and were usually funded by private contributions being established and run by churches and other religious organisations. Some such schools (often known as hospitals where they provided boarding facilities) provided education for boys up to the age of 16, preparing them to go on to University usually by means of a scholarship.

Dame schools provided voluntary education for young children essentially as forerunners to nursery schools. Theses were often run by women in their own homes to the children in their local community most likely, as nursery’s do today, to enable both parents to earning a living and financially support their families. The work the mothers would undertake however would be vastly different to diverse roles women undertake today!

Daughters of wealthy families could be sent to private boarding schools to be taught the classics, foreign languages, music, dancing, social and domestic skills.

18th Century

Following the introduction the General Workhouse Act of 1723, parish workhouses began to establish ‘workhouse schools’ to prepare their pupils for apprenticeships, thus the education was largely in practical subjects than the core subjects of education today (language, maths etc).

In the latter half of this century, the Freemasons established their own charitable schools for children of its members – firstly for girls in 1788 and then boys in 1798.

It was at the end of this century that Sunday Schools also began to develop, being introduced nationally in 1780, provided by churches These schools were for children and adults alike, educating them in basic reading but became the ‘building blocks’ of our education system.

19th Century

Following the success of Sunday Schools, ‘Ragged Schools’ were established in the early part of the 19th Century. Firstly by Thomas Cranfield in London in 1810, followed by John Pounds in Portsmouth in 1818 and later Thomas Barnardo in 1867. These schools provided free education to impoverished children, described as ‘ragged’ schools because the children were ‘raggedly clothed’!

From 1802, any child (male or female) who was apprenticed was required to be provided with free part-time education and in 1811 the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church was set up and financed by the Church of England. This society quickly became the country’s most influential educational body.

Following the emancipation of Roman Catholics in 1829 and the Reform Act of 1832 all religious schools were equal (I have not touched upon the many schools set up over the centuries by non-conformist/dissenting religious groups) and from 1833 Government grants were introduced of £20,000 per year to British, Foreign and National Society schools. This system changed in 1861 to a payment of 4 shillings per pupil plus 2 shillings 8 pence per subject per pupil passing a yearly exam in reading, writing and arithmetics.

There was an ever increasing number of children receiving an education although this was not compulsory and was often intermittent, in that during for example harvest time, children were still needed at home to help with the harvest rather than continuing to be sent to school.

The education system as we know it today developing from Forster’s Elementary Education Act of 1870 which gave education boards the powers to require parents to send all children aged 5 to 13 year old to school, however it did not make it compulsory nationwide. This was not until the 1880 Education Act which did make it compulsory for all children aged 5 to 10 years old, with the leaving age being raised to age 11 in 1893 and to age 12 in 1899.

20th Century

Our 20th century ancestors saw a gradual increase in the school leaving age from 12 to 14 in 1918 after the first world war. The Education Act of 1918 also included provision for compulsory part-time education for all 14-to-18-year-olds. However this provision did not come into force until 1921 due to cuts in public spending after World War I.

Compulsory education up to the age of 15 was introduced in the Education Act 1944, but did not come into force until April 1947 due to World War 2. This was further increased to the age of 16 from 1 September 1972.

21st Century

Following the Education and Skills Act 2008, which came into force in the 2013 academic year, whilst the school leaving age ‘technically’ remains at 16, essentially ‘children’ are now required to remain in some form of education until the age of 18, be that continuing their schooling by with continuing their academic qualifications (e.g. ‘A’ levels) attending a vocational qualification course (e.g. Btec) or entering into an apprenticeship.

And of course as of the 23rd March 2020, albeit temporary (indefinitely temporary😂) it almost feels like we have gone full circle, with home education but at least we still have the support of teachers and the school curriculum to guide us…. I’m sure for some parents it may feel like ‘the educated leading the blind’ with teaching having changed so much since many parents were themselves at school …. I know I (having left secondary school 30 years ago albeit I was lucky enough to go on to A levels and university) sometimes feel like teaching is a new language in itself … ‘phonics’, ‘digraphs’ ‘graphemes’ etc – of course we learnt it but it was never a ‘subject’ as such it was all just part of learning to read and write! 😜

It is not difficult to see how the class structure in this country managed to maintain itself for such a long time. Without access to education it would have been extremely difficult for the vast majority of our poorer ancestors to climb that social ladder. Another reason to be living today and not 500 years ago perhaps!?

Our family history 2020 skools out for Coronavirus Blog Week 1

20th March 2020

Here goes, my first blog to record my thoughts, feelings, life events and provide my children and their future generations with a first hand account of these life changing events. WARNING these blogs may include controversial comments, thoughts, feelings etc – I’m not going to apologise this is my personal blog so please do not take anything I say personally, but you’re welcome to comment if you wish – I won’t take it personally! 😉

What a year 2020 is turning out to be! Lots of ‘I never thought I’d………….’ see the supermarket shelves empty, be standing in a queue outside at the chemist to collect a prescription (two in at time policy), see the churches close even on a Sunday, see a world at war against a virus!

People are quite rightly anxious and scared and maybe it will help us a little better appreciate how our ancestors felt and what they went through with those even worse announcements and events of the past – WW1 and WW2. Whilst not underestimating the impact of this nasty virus and completely agree with the steps our government is taking, I do want to put some perspective on all this – we are hearing growing numbers of cases every day and yes those numbers are large but in terms of percentage of population – whether you look at it nationally or globally – the number of those affected are less than 0.05%:

UK Population – Government statistics Mid 2018 66.4 million (estimated 2020 67.8 million World population Review)

With the measures put in place, if everyone adheres to them, the UK hope to control Coronavirus to an estimated 20,000 people infected

Percentage of the population… do the maths! ……… 0.029% for those who can’t!

Without the interventions they estimates 250,000 would be affected …. 0.36% of the population.

Don’t get me wrong, it is certainly no the case that I am not concerned, although I not necessarily concerned about my immediate family (children, husband and myself) I am concerned about my parents (being in the high risk groups of over 70’s although they do not have any of the health risks). They live 200 miles away from me, I haven’t seen them since Christmas and now our plans for them to visit us over the Easter are gone! They recently celebrated their golden wedding anniversary and we were going to have a family celebration. Now I don’t know when I will see them again! I am just thankful that my brother only lives 40 miles away from them! And thankfully they are a bit tech-savvy and we can skype.

My father-in-law who will be 89 this year had a stroke at Christmas but is now thankfully home. They live in the same village as us so that’s not such a worry.

As for my children, well the schools will be out this afternoon until who knows when (I suspect September). Here is one of those ‘I never thought I’d….’ moments – home schooling my children! At least mine are only 3 and 5 and not at a critical stage of their education. My task of teaching them the basic building blocks at a young age is not as daunting as for many. My heart goes out to all those due to sit their sats, GCSE’s (including my nephew) and A level exams. Whilst this is an important stage in your life, just remember health and happiness are so much more important and once you’re at university or in work those grades get long forgotten. You will get thorough this and you will prosper. It may feel like all that hard work was for nothing now, but it will still all stand you in good stead for life’s future adventures.

As for me personally……..

21st March

Well, I have to say I don’t think I’m going to have difficulty homeschooling for the first few weeks, James started pestering to do the work they have been sent home with as soon as he got home yesterday! And I have given up counting the number of times he has asked this morning……its the weekend!!!! But to pacify him and prepare home for Monday he has helped me set a timetable …lets see how well we stick to it!

Family History will of course be covered…and I think the games and crafts will include some ‘helping mummy spring clean the house’ and a bit of gardening! ha ha

We’ve been to our local shops to spend the kids book tokens before they close. Made me quite cross! We were doing our best to comply with the social distancing advice but looking round many people are clearly still ignoring advice. Walking past the local butchers shop the queue was just the same as usual, no one was standing the recommended 2 metres apart which would be quite feasible! And there were groups of friends (young and older adults!) just stood as normal having a chat. What is wrong with people not listening to the advice! We all know the advice – no one surely is going to be offended if you stand away from them!?! Thankfully in the post office (I wanted to post a parcel) the queue was short and we were able to maintain the distance, we just moved if someone got too close! ha ha

Seriously people, this next week we will face shop closures, queuing to take you turn to be allowed into the supermarkets and the possibility of martial law if the advice is not taken – we have already seen the start of this with the closure of pubs, clubs, leisure centres etc. We will be faced with Italian lock down.

I was please to hear from the CEO of Sainsburys this morning that they are going to increase their opening times specifically for the over 70’s, vulnerable and to include those in the keyworker sectors in particular those NHS workers who have struggled to get food after they have finished a long shift saving lives and caring for those afflicted by this horrid virus! They need to be kept nourished to continue their amazing work. Conversely they will reduced they normal weekly opening hours to help with the stocking up of shelves and protect their staff. I think this is certainly a move in the right direction!

We may face many of these restrictions on our lives for up to a year, varying to a lessor and greater extent, to control ‘spikes’ in the virus and manage and sustain the NHS. Lets just all work together so that the worse restrictions stay in place for the shortest time as possible.

For us, save for food if I can’t shop online, this was our last trip to the shops. Thankfully we have a large garden for the kids and some lovely walks on our doorstep to get out into the fresh air and get some exercise. But we will be keeping our distance from everyone else, I might even get a stick 2 metres long to take out with us! ha ha

We’re off into the garden this afternoon to have some fun and spring clean the kids outdoor toys …. this may get rather messy! ha ha

Firefighting practice!
Washing their outdoor toys

Looking forward to some warmer weather 🙂

Happy Mother’s day

22nd March

Or should I say Mothering Sunday.

Maybe not my best photo but it was 7am!!!!

What a lovely sunny morning in Surrey perfect for a morning run. Maybe people are starting to take note of the social distancing, the few people I passed all made an effort (as did I) to keep the prescribed (and more where possible) away from each other.

Had a lovely relaxed morning then, coffee followed by a long Skype call with my mum and dad and Sunday roast cooked by my lovely husband. Just a normal mothering Sunday here! Went for a little walk this afternoon to exercise the kids and say happy mothers day to my mother in law – from their drive! Please be assured we did not be go in or get close to them (father in law was asleep!) We are keeping them safe!

So, the home schooling (well, doing the work set by the teachers!) starts tomorrow morning and my son still seems as keen as ever to get on with it. Got to love him, he really does enjoy school and learning, how lucky are we. Two weeks and then we will still have an Easter break from learning…..if he’ll let me he he

I’m so impressed with his reading and writing, he’ll be helping me write our family history and as part of his schooling I may even get him to write in this blog 😉

Here’s to a relaxing rest of Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday as it should correctly be known from the its origins of when people would visit their “mother” church on Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent, three Sundays’ before Easter. It gradually became a day when domestic servants were given the day off to visit their mother church, usually with their own mothers and other family members. It was often the only time that entire families could gather together, often been prevented from doing so on other days due to conflicting working hours

It is not hard to see how, as the dominance of religion and the church declined in recent centuries, and in particular the latter half of the 20th Century, this religious tradition evolved into the mothers day we know today.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, stay safe, keep you mothers (and fathers) safe and have a lovely day.

I can’t go without saying I’m glad to hear the news today that Sainsburys are allocating priority online slots for deliveries to the most vulnerable groups. Conversely it is very saddening to hear the National Trust have taken the decision to close their parks essentially due to people taking advantage of their kind offer to open their parks for free to all without taking on board the advice for social distancing! I hope those who spoiled this generous offer from the National Trust are suitably disgraced with themselves! The beeches and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty will be the next to close if people continue to behave in such an irresponsible way. As for complete lockdown….Whilst I would urge the government to now put the country into lockdown, at the rate it is going I don’t think it will be necessary as shops are taking the decisions themselves to close and it won’t belong for the loved ones of those who have failed take the advice of social distancing will start to show symptoms and people then may start to take all the advice seriously. Clearly seeing what is happening in other countries is not sufficient.

I now know of two families who have been directly affected by this illness – one losing a close family friend to the illness, one whose entire family (two adults and two children) has had the illness and have expressed how nasty it is – thankfully they are all recovering well.

23rd March

So here are a few photos of our first day of schooling at home! I’m not sure I will survive this! Very hard work trying to split myself in two to keep both children entertained at the same time, eldest needing help with his school work and youngest wanting me to do something else with her most of the time – I tried to get her to do easier versions of what James was doing, sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.

But at least the sun was shining and they kept going outside to play. The house was not wrecked but my brain is fried! Didn’t help that every one with kids was trying to access the online resources this morning meaning many just weren’t working!

The timetable essentially went out of the window in terms of timings but we did get in some phonics, crafts, numbers, writing and reading – so somehow we did cover all the essential learning elements! wow!

Just asked my son how he has enjoyed his first day of home schooling – GOOD! ha ha He might not say that tomorrow – when he asked what craft they could do tomorrow I told him the art and craft of spring cleaning his room!!! ha ha ha

ME – I need a drink! On the plus side, Sainsburys came with my delivery and only a few items missing – bet you can guess which ones – yes loo roll, soap, baked beans (one of the kids staple foods!), tinned tomatoes ….. and the very nice bottle of wine I ordered for my birthday treat on Friday! Lets hope I get out to find a replacement at some point!!!!! Oh and the picture frame finally arrived for me to put together my mum and dads golden wedding anniversary present (a family tree surrounded by photos from their wedding) which I will now need to send them as we won’t be seeing them any time soon 😦 I’ll post a photo when its complete 🙂

I am also very glad I got my IHGS course completed and that the exam is likely to be postponed – if today is anything to go by I won’t get much revision or other work done!

Hopefully it can only get easier as we all get more used to it. We have no choice, lockdown is coming and I’m guessing tomorrow seeing as the PM’s daily press conference was cancelled because they were having a cobra meeting……..and the shops are all making their own sensible decisions to close but continue online shopping, hmm online shopping was taking over before – now it really will take off and will our high streets ever recover? Or will we start to shops turned into living accommodation??? Potential huge long term changes to some areas of our lives. Food for thought!

25th March

Well i’m writing day 5 blog this morning (day 6) as I just did not get time yesterday! What a busy day, tiring but good. The kids were really well behaved (mostly!) and the day went without any shouting, telling off or arguments! What an achievement! 🤣

There is no wonder I was tired by the end of it…the day started with me enjoying a 5k run out in the gorgeous sunshine (my one daily exercise) followed by joining the kids doing the Joe Wicks morning kids PE session. Then, I must have spent an hour or more in total (sporadically throughout the day) bouncing with the kids on the trampoline….my poor knees!

As for schooling, well James managed some maths (basic addition👍), writing, reading and phonics. We skipped the craft today but came up with a longer term craft we can do over the coming days and weeks – the kids collected lots of sticks a few weeks ago and they are still in the garage in a bag so, we have asked all our family members to send selfies to us and we will create a twiglet family tree. Not quite sure when this will start but we shall see 🤣

We also managed a good clear out and tidy up of James’ room – he can now use his desk again so I can hide him away to do school work if Rose starts to pester him. I’m just wondering how long it will stay like that! Roses’ room is next on the list….

I must say I think we are very lucky that the weather has vastly improved for the schools closing, they are spending much of their day out in the garden which is great. I say make the most of it whilst the weather lasts 🤞 schooling and learning can be increased on those rainy says that will no doubt come at some point. Perhaps mother nature is looking down on us all and having sent this nasty virus to test us, she is giving us a little help to survive this lockdown period.

For me, I even managed to get some research done for a friend who has been waiting ages for me….it is a freebie and she knew it wouldn’t take priority but now I would like to get it done for her and then I can get on with some of my own family research. I have a few of my own family history projects to crack on with – getting to grips with a DNA test and analysing the results; and writing more of our family history biographies.

25 March

Another good day, pretty uneventful day today in the Pettyfer household, although I didn’t think it was going to be this morning waking up with what I thought was going to be a migraine but thankfully, some string pain killers and a lay down for an hour in a dark bedroom seemed to knock the worst of it on its head.

Another sunny day so the kids were happy spending most of the day outside in the garden👍😁 after an online ballet class this morning.

Our craft session today was baking – my birthday cake for Friday and some scones hmmmm with jam and cream. Tomorrow’s craft will be decorating my cake! That could be messy 🤣

All this home schooling/learning has got me thinking about how our ancestors were educated …. or not. Watch this space, I feel another blog coming on! ……

26 March

Another uneventful day in our household. The kids have again spent most of the day outside but James did do some school work after lunch. He’s doing really well with basic maths 👍😊

Not really much more to report today but I can’t believe some of the news reports today, in particular some young people’s lack of respect and consideration for the older generation if anyone has read about the case in Ipswich of an elderly couple being spat on and attacked you will hopefully know what I am talking about. I am really pleased to hear the police and prosecution services are taking such incidents and those again key workers seriously and the culprits will be facing a prison sentence, it is absolutely beyond belief that in these times people think such behaviour could in any way be tolerated, not that such behaviour should be tolerated in any circumstances, but I am sure the police are taking it far more seriously given the risk of Covid-19….it could actually be the death of someone and that’s murder!!!!

But I won’t rant on!

For a bit of light relief I’ll share this brilliant and hilarious family tree related video….

27 March

Happy birthday to me!

Yep it’s that day of the year again when I celebrate being born. Rather a surreal day today in the circumstances and I have decided to be like the Queen this year and have an official birthday later in the year when a proper celebration can be had with friends and family – a celebration of birthdays (I’m sure there’ll be other friends and family with birthdays in this surreal time before the restrictions lift) and survival 😜 The alternative is to not age this year and celebrate this birthday next year – well our ancestors got away with not knowing their correct date/year of birth why not me! 😂😂😂

However Corona virus did not spoil my birthday. The kids made me lovely cards – I even got a handmade once from my hubby ❤ lots of cuddles and time out of everything else to just spend with them – I even let James off his school work for the day (don’t tell his teachers 😂)

I had a lovely long skype chat with my parents and we had a lovely long walk as a family despite the fact Graeme should have been working! 😂😜❤

Just a chilled out day, playing, enjoying the fresh air, watching Frozen II (my choice 😉) and a nice glass or two of white wine.

So well received genealogy related birthday gifts…..

So all in all, a lovely day 💕🎂

Although I will always remember that it was the day the PM got corona virus and the nastiness of some people really did show through…..I wonder how many people will regret some of their comments on social media in the future and how many people will fill out prisons because of their selfishness and stupidy!

The weekend (28/29th March)

Well, apart from the fact we couldn’t go out anywhere the weekend has been quite normal for us really.

Jobs round the house… Done with the kids helping out 👍

A family bike ride, the first one with James riding his own bike rather than on the back of me…. He managed 2 miles, half off road… Not bad for 5 year old 👍

And I started my family history biography book… A nice big project to keep me going and good practice for future client report writing👍

Pretty quiet relaxing weekend shame about the weather turning colder and windy! Where did the wind come from this weekend?🌪️🌬️☁️And yes even the odd spot of rain ☔and snow!!! ❄️☹️ Let’s hope its better weather during the week.

Researching your ancestors transported to Australia

The transportation of criminals was originally introduced in 1615 at a time when England sought an alternative to hanging. From 1615 to 1775 criminal were transported to colonies in North America, such as Virginia. Such transportation ceased with the start of the American civil war. However, without a sufficient central prison system the transportation system was re-introduced in 1787, this time to the new land of New South Wales (NSW), Australia which Captain James Cook had discovered only 17 years earlier.

Transportation to Australia continued until 1868 during which time in excess of 160,000 men, women and children were transported and the areas colonised included NWS, Tasmania from 1803-1853 and Western Australia from 1850-1868. In finding out whether your Australian ancestor was a convict it is important to know which states and at what times convicts were sent.

Convicts were usually transported to serve a sentence of either 7 years or 14 years. Once their term had been served the individual would be given a ‘Certificate of Freedom’ was free to return to their home country although few did.  A sentence of transportation for life in the case of the most serious offences meant that the individual would never return home, even if they were released early.

Many convicts sentenced to transportation would seek a pardon. “If a convict had been particularly helpful to the authorities (for example, helping them recapture escapees) then a Conditional Pardon could be issued. Very rarely, in exceptional circumstances transported convicts could receive a Royal Pardon, which was an absolute and unconditional pardon”[1].

Research Plan

Anyone researching their Australian roots, particularly where it is known those roots are not of native Australia (i.e. Aborigines) will first need to trace the origins their ancestors back to the earliest known in an ancestor in Australia. This should initially be carried out using Birth, Marriage and Death records and census records.

Birth, Marriage and Death records (B/M/D)

Compulsory civil registration began in Australia at different times in different states[2]:

Tasmania                                1838    1 Dec  

South Australia                       1842    1 Jul   

Western Australia                   1841    9 Sep  

Victoria                                   1853    1 July 

Queensland                             1856    1 March         

New South Wales                   1856    1 March         

Northern Territory                  1870    24 Aug

Australian Capital Territory   1930    1 Jan

However, records of B/M/D were kept prior to these dates, much as in England, in church records of baptism, marriage and burials. As in England, indexes to B/M/D have been prepared and include records before compulsory civil registration was introduced which were created from the church records by the registrars. These records are available online on both the English and Australian versions of the Ancestry website[3] and on the Find My Past website[4], spanning the years:

New South Wales       1788-1910

Northern Territory      1870-1910

Queensland                 1829-1910, 1915-1919

South Australia           1842-1922

Tasmania                    1803-1910

Victoria                       1836-1910

Western Australia       1841-1905

Birth indexes are searchable by name, year of birth, place of birth and names of parents; marriage indexes by name, year of marriage, place of marriage and name of spouse; death indexes by year of death, place of death, estimated year of birth, father’s name and mother’s surname.

Copies of certificates would need to be obtained from the appropriate registry office:

The information to be found on the certificate will depend on when and in which state the event took place but largely they followed the style of certificate the same certificates in England.

Census records

Census records in Australia began earlier in Australia than in England. By 1828 many convicts had served their sentences and had settled as free men. They could no longer be compelled to attend the annual musters and therefore the first census was conducted in New South Wales. These are available in two copies – one held in Australia, one held at The National Archives (TNA) in England.

Censuses were then held in 1833, 1836, 1841, 1846, 1851, 1856, 1861 after which they were held every ten years to 1901[5]. The returns New South Wales (NSW), Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia for 1851 through to 1891 appear to have been destroyed in the Garden Palace Fire of 1882. Census returns for the Northern Territory survive for 1881 through to 1921. The records which do survive are again, much like those in England, they are the Collectors books and not the actual household schedules.

The following surviving records can be searched online[6] by name, year of birth and place/territory:

  • 1828 New South Wales, Australia Census (Australian Copy)
  • 1828 New South Wales, Australia Census (TNA Copy)
  • 1841 New South Wales, Australia, Census (including what are now the states of Victoria and Queensland)
  • 1891 New South Wales, Australia Census 
  • 1901 New South Wales, Australia Census 

The census returns include details of where a person was born and therefore the earliest ancestor to arrive in Australia having being born in England (or Ireland) should be able to be located unless of course the earliest ancestor to arrive, arrived during the period 1851 to the end of transportation in 1868. If that is the case, there are census substitutes available[7]:

  • Population Musters of convicts and military (see below);
  • Electoral rolls which began in NSW in 1842;
  • Trade Directories which began in the early 1800’s;
  • Depasturing licenses of grants of land from the Crown to settlers;
  • Rate and valuation books from the later 1850’s;
  • Lists of convicts (see below).

Many of these records are available online at previously named websites and They can also be found in most major archives and libraries in Australia.

Population Musters of convicts and military

Prior to, and beyond, the 1828 census population counts or Musters took place in NSW in[8] 1800 (settlers); 1806 (first complete muster that has survived); 1811 (convicts, including those given tickets of leave, pardons etc); 1814; 1816 to 1821 (convicts); 1822; 1823 (military not included) to 1825 (military not included); and 1837.

And in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) 1811 and 1808 to 1849. 

They contained more information than would be found on an ordinary census, with some early musters list children, wives, and servants:

  • Name;
  • Address;
  • Status (convict, free, military);
  • Sex
  • Ship of arrival
  • Trial date and place
  • Sentence and any other remarks.

So, where an ancestor can be found in the population musters the information found can be used to trace that ancestor back to their origins in England. Where it is identified that the ancestor was a convict the information found in respect of the ship they arrived on, their trial date and place, will help direct the researcher to records held at The National Archives (TNA) and more locally in England.

Lists/Returns of Convicts

If an ancestor cannot be found in the Population musters, they may be found in the Lists or Returns of Convicts. The Convicts Index 1791 to 1873 (“A single searchable database containing certificates of freedom; bank accounts; deaths; exemptions from Government Labor; pardons; tickets of leave; and, tickets of leave passports. There are 140,000+ entries to search”) is available to search for free at New South Wales Government State Archives and Records website[9] provides:

  • Name
  • Alias
  • Ship
  • Year
  • Record type   
  • Date   
  • Remarks         
  • Citation

The same website also contains a Convict Indents (Digitised) Index for 1788 to 1801 which is a fully digitised index containing a list of the convicts transported to NSW. “Early indents provide name, date and place of trial and sentence; later indents usually contain more information such as a physical description, native place, age and crime”[10]

The index to convict indents and ships for New South Wales and Van Diemen’s land from 1788 to 1842 are also available on microfiche at TNA.

The New South Wales Government State Archives and Records website[11] is a good place to start researching convict records in Australia once the first ancestor to arrive in Australia is known, particularly for those researchers living in Australia.

However, there are a vast amount of records available in England for those researchers based in England.

For Queensland convicts the British Convict Transportation Register 1787-1867 can be searched at the State Library of Queensland website

If an ancestor was in the first or second fleet to be transported, there are published lists of the names of those convicts:

  • “The First Fleeters” by P G Fidlon and R J Ryan;
  • “The Second Fleet Convicts” by R J Ryan

The Convict Transportation Register 1787-1870

Series HO11 held at TNA is a list “of convicts transported in various ships, giving the dates of their convictions. Transcripts of these registers can be accessed via the State Library of Queensland website[12].

The Convict Transportation Register can downloaded for free from the TNA website  and the following can be searched online at

  • Australian Convict Transportation Registers – Other Fleets & Ships, 1791-1868
  • Australian Convict Transportation Registers – First Fleet, 1787-1788
  • Australian Convict Transportation Registers – Third Fleet, 1791    
  • Australian Convict Transportation Registers – Second Fleet, 1789-1790

And include the convicts name, date and place of conviction, term of sentence, name of ship on which they sailed to Australia, date of departure date and the name of the colony to which they were sent.

This will help confirm the information which may already have been found in the population muster or lists/returns of convicts. However, it may also be useful where the first known ancestor to Australia cannot be found in the census, musters or list/return of convicts because such records may be incomplete. Where a person is named, for example on a birth certificate as a parent, then the Convict Transport Register can be searched for them. If not in these records, then it is probable that the ancestor was not a convict but arrived as either a free settler or military/naval personnel. 

Settlers and Convicts, New South Wales and Tasmania: Records 1787-1859 

Found in series HO 10held at TNA this is another list “of the male and female convicts and former convicts in the colonies giving particulars as to their sentences, employment, settlement in the country, the land and cattle acquired by them and other information; lists of pardons granted; lists of convicts embarked for and arriving in New South Wales; general musters and census of 1828 relating to settlers and convicts”[13].

These records can be downloaded for free from TNA website. These records not only help with tracing the origins of an ancestor in England but may provide further details of their lives after serving their sentence and their then settlement in the country.

Other records available at TNA which can be used to identify whether a named ancestor was a convict (not digitised)

  • TS 18/460 – 515: Contracts for the transportation of convicts, naming convicts, with date and place of trial and sentence;
  • HO31/1: Orders of the Privy Council 1782 to 1794 contain lists of convicts for transportation[14];
  • PC 1/2715: Lists of Convicts embarked on the ship Eden to New South Wales, with correspondence, 1840;
  • PC 1/2716: Lists of Convicts embarked on the ship Tortoise to Van Diemen’s Land, with correspondence, 1841;
  • PC 1/2717: Lists of Convicts embarked on the ship Elphinstone to Van Diemen’s Land, with correspondence, 1842;
  • PC 1/2718: Lists of Convicts embarked on the ship Anson to Van Diemen’s Land, with correspondence, 1843;
  • T 1 Treasury Board papers and T 53 Treasury Money Books also contain ships’ lists of convicts who were transported.

Prison Hulk Records – records held at TNA

  • HO 9/1 – 15: Convict Prison Hulks: Registers

Registers of convicts in the prison hulks, 1802 to 1849, arranged by hulk name

1811 to 1843 images and indexes can be downloaded for free the TNA website

  • ADM 6/418, 420, 422: Registers of convicts in prison hulks, with gaolers’ reports 1814 to 1835, each indexed at ADM 6/419, 421, 423 respectively.
  • PCOM 2/105: Portsmouth Prison, Hampshire: registers of prisoners, nos. 1-1477 from Sept 30, 1847 to Apr 18, 1853

Images and indexes are available at in series in their series England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935;

  • PCOM 2/131 to 137: Registers of convicts on specific prison hulks from 1837 to 1860

Images and indexes are available at in their series England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935;

  • HO 8/74: Quarterly returns of convicts in prison hulks for 1842 Dec

Available at TNA only.

These records will provide details of name, age, offence committed, when and where tried, date of transfer to a ship for transportation. This essentially forms a paper trail of the convict’s movements between conviction and transportation.  Many prisoners were initially held on prison hulks awaiting transportation. Not all were in fact transported. The records may not provide any additional information which may have been gained from other record discussed above however they could be used in alternative to those set out above or as confirmation of information already obtained.

Petitions for clemency and pardons

Series HO 17 and HO 18 held at TNA hold original petitions made by or on behalf of convicts asking for a revocation or reduction of their sentences. “Attached to some petitions are related papers and some returns, made by the governors of convict prisons, of convicts recommended for early release for good behaviour”[15].

HO 17 holds petitions made between 1819 and 1839;

HO 18 holds petitions made between 1839 and 1853.

There is an index to the petitions which can be found in HO 19 arranged alphabetically giving the reference of the original petition, the place of imprisonment and the outcome of the petition. 

Many have been indexed and digitised and made available at in their series England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935. HO 17, 18 and 19 can be found as subseries and can be searched by name, year and place.

Petitions are most likely to include personal information regarding the convict, such as their age, family circumstances, where he lived prior to his conviction, previous good character, his occupation and any extenuating circumstances.

Newspapers reports

Once the court and/or area is known, before searching the court records it may be worth searching newspaper reports to see what further information may be gleaned about the case and the convict. Newspaper reports often include personal information about those they are reporting on, including age, occupation, where they were from, where the offence was committed and sometimes details of their family. The largest collection can be found at the British Library but there are several websites where newspapers can be searched:

The British Newspaper Archive[16];

Find My Past[17]

London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes[18]

Local newspapers will also be available in the local archives for the area where the trial took place.

Court Records

Once you know the court your ancestor convicts’ trial was heard then the court records can be searched for more information. To be sentenced to transportation, a convict had committed a serious offence which would have been heard in either their local Assize Court or the Old Bailey/Central Criminal Court. 

Assize courts

Assize court records, where they exist, are largely held at TNA although some may be found at local archives (for example searching the Surrey History Centre online catalogue there are various papers from the assize courts which appear to have been provided to the archives from personal collections or as part of the Quarter Session records), however many records were destroyed. Records may be found in various series held at TNA, none of which are digitised and can only be viewed at TNA:

  • ASSI 1 – 54: Records of the Justices of Assize from 1554 to 1971 arranged by circuits;
  • KB 6/1 – 6: Depositions 1836-1886;
  • KB 10/1 – 92: Indictments (London and Middlesex) 1675-1845[19];
  • KB 11/1 – 107: Indictment (Rest of England) 1676-1845[20];
  • KB 12/1 – 228: Indictments files for all counties 1846-1926[21];
  • KB 19/1 – 3: Pleadings

It should be noted that the Palatine courts of Chester, Durham and Lancaster (Lancashire) merged into the assizes system in 1876. Prior to this their respective court records will need to be searched at TNA is series CHES, DURH and PL

Old Bailey and Central Criminal Court

The Old Bailey was essentially the Assize court for the City of London until 1834 when the Central Criminal Court was established. The Central Criminal Court had jurisdiction over the City of London, Middlesex, parts of Essex, Kent, Surrey, crimes committed at sea and abroad.

Old Bailey/Central Criminal Court session papers are held Guildhall Library and at TNA in series PCOM 1 for 1801 to 1904 and CRIM 10 for 1834-1912.

Old Bailey trials for the period 1674 to 1935, can also be searched at They may also be searched online at under their series Middlesex, London, Old Bailey Court Records 1674-1913.

Civil registration, census returns, parish records and parish registers.

Once you have found, from any of the resources above, where the convict ancestor lived at the time they were convicted, then further research can be continued in the well-known genealogical record, to find their origins (parentage etc) depending on the period of time:

  • post 1837 – civil registration records
  • 1841 and beyond – decennial census returns
  • pre-1837 – parish registers and records.

The records discussed above represent a sample of records available to help trace the origins of a convict transported to Australia. There are numerous other records available both in Australia and England, online and off. The National Library of Australia has a very helpful research guide[22] as does TNA[23] and both should be consulted where such a research task is to be undertaken.

[1] “A guide to tracing your transported convict ancestors by Dr David J Cox


[3] and



[6] Online at the websites previously stated


Many of these records are available online at previously named websites and




[11] Ibid



[14] “Criminal Ancestors” by David Hawkings, page 235





[19] Can be searched using index IND 1/6669-6677 for 1673-1843

[20] Can be searched using index IND 1/6680-6684 for 1638-1704 and 1765-1843

[21] Can be searched using registers IND 1/6685, IND 1/6686, IND 1/6687/1 and IND 1/6687/2