Remember when any Australian with British ancestors assumed they had been sent out to Australia on a convict ship? “Sent out for stealing an apple!” we would happily claim. Well, now we know a lot more about how and why our ancestors migrated to Australia.
Of course, we do find some of our ancestors on convict ships up to the 1860s, in the listings for convicts and for the guards or military that sailed with them. We may find them as bounty migrants, paid for by settlers already in Australia, who were desperate for more workers in the mid 1800s. We may find them in the assisted migrant lists, where their travel costs were subsidised, or paid in full, using one of the many Australian government immigration schemes. In fact, we now know that there were waves of migrants from Britain to Australia, from the early convicts to the ‘£10 Poms’ in the mid 20th century.
But what we can’t always find easily are the parents and grandparents our ancestors left behind...Read more