Saturday, 10 February 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 5 - Census

I have used the English and Scottish census data available from 1841 until 1911 to locate information about some of family members who didn't come to Australia until the mid to late nineteenth century, or remained in England. However, as my twelve convicts arrived in Australia prior to 1806, it is the convict musters that I have used to trace the movements of family members during early colonial settlement.

Being initially a convict settlement, the British government kept records of the convicts transported to the colonies. Ancestry has a collection of records entitled, New South Wales and Tasmania, Australia Convict Musters 1806 - 1849. The musters in the collection were conducted in 1806, 1811, 1822, 1823 - 1825, 1837 for NSW  and 1808-1849 for Tasmania. The information in the muster records varies but can provide information about the convict or former convict, their family, present occupation and where they are living at the time of the muster. The musters are only one of a series of records available for researching convicts in Ancestry.
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The above image tells us that Simeon Lord arrived on the ship, Boddington, in 1793 and that in 1825 he was a merchant in Sydney. His wife is listed as Mrs Lord though she had also been a convict. The names of eight children are also listed. Two of the daughters by this time were married and their husband's names are recorded.
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The 1806 muster concentrated on the land owned by convicts or former convicts and how the land was being farmed, including livestock owned. A section on the second page indicated numbers of family and workers associated with the person.
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As the colonies grew, regular data about the development of the colonies, especially, industries was collected but information about individuals was not recorded. Regular statistical information has been kept and made available via the Australian Bureau of Statistics since Federation. Recent census forms have provided those filling in the forms to indicate that they approve their individual information being made available in the future - one hundred years from the census date. Fortunately, in the meantime, family history researchers have access to directories and electoral rolls to assisit in filling in the gaps when researching family stories.

Early Australian census records - SLV guide

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