Find out if your ancestor served out their sentence as a convict in an Australian penal colony between 1827 and 1867. Discover their name, crime and sentence, as well as who they worked for on their release and the name of the ship they arrived on.
Each record contains a transcript and a black and white image of the original document. The amount of information can vary but you could find out the following about your ancestor:
Year of birth
Place of birth
Year of conviction
Place of conviction
The image frequently contains even more information so it’s always a good idea to look at that as well. You can find out:
Certificates of Freedom were awarded to convicts on completion of a fixed term of sentence. They meant that the convict was now free and could choose to continue in Australia as a settler or return home to the country of their birth. Certificates were available for prisoners on a fixed term sentence, usually 4, 7 or 14 years. They were not available for those serving life. Instead they could be awarded a conditional or absolute pardon.
The certificates vary in the amount of detail they give. Earlier certificates show the bare details of name, sentence and ship while later certificates give much greater detail including occupation or calling, native place and distinguishing physical marks. They may also note whether or not the convict previously held a ticket of leave, which would allow him limited freedom before the end of his sentence.
© 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.