Saturday, 12 January 2019

#52Ancestors - Week 32 - Youngest

It is interesting to look at the age of my convict ancestors when they committed the crimes resulting in their transportation to Australia.

Mary Bateman - 15
Mary Hyde - 16
Charles Daley - 17
George Guest - 18
Kezia Brown - 18
Uriah Moses - 18
Simeon Lord - 19
Richard Holland - 23
Jane Williams - 25
Susannah Alderson - 27
John Pendergast - 29
William Roberts - 30

Seven of my convicts were what we would now refer to as teenagers when they were arrested, the youngest being Mary Bateman aged 15.

I have written a number of posts in this blog about Mary Bateman and her husband George Guest including using Mary's Story as the major assignment in the Convict Ancestors unit for the Diploma of Family History (Univ. Tas). The year that I did the unit the assignment was presented in a web database allowing you to create the main story with links to side stories. I later added these sections to my blog. I also wrote a more detailed account of Mary's Voyage to Australia  and Arrival at Cascade Bay for other assignments. There are also posts in the blog about Newgate Prison and The Old Bailey where Mary was imprisoned and tried.
Ship, Lady Juliana, which brought Mary to NSW
Looking at Mary's story raises questions about life in London in the 1780s. Why was a fifteen year old girl working as a prostitute? In reality she may have been younger when she began working in this field. Some information is available about Employment Opportunities for Women in the 1780s. Taxation laws at the time discouraged employers from employing girls above the age of 15. This may have left Mary with no other employment options than working the streets. We will never know.

Of course Mary was not arrested and tried for being a prostitute but for stealing the watch of a client.

The many posts in the blog written about Mary's husband, George Guest, also provide insight into Mary's life in Australia, especially on Norfolk Island. Mary eventually died in the Liverpool Lunatic Asylum in 1829 aged 56. After leaving Norfolk Island in 1805 the family settled in Tasmania but frequent trips were made between Hobart Town and Sydney. Mary appears to have lived in Sydney for many years while her family lived and worked near Hobart.

My youngest convict faced many dramas in her life. I only hope that that there were also calm times, maybe on Norfolk Island, for her.


  1. A sad story of the reality of a poor young girl in those times. I hope May had some fun, happiness and calmness too.

  2. Mary has become one of my favourites, Isabel (are you allowed to have favourites in family history research?) I have been lucky in being able to locate so much information about her life.