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Monday, January 25, 2010

Australia Day and our Convict Past

Ned Kelly



The British Government are releasing details of convicts sent to Australia more than 200 years ago to coincide with Australia Day, tomorrow the 26th January. We'll be able to search through a data base to see if we have convict blood running through our veins. The British website Ancestry.co.uk will be free until the 30th January.
Twenty one thousand convicts were set free in New South Wales and were lucky enough to be granted plots of land, many of whom went on to establish successful businesses. There were also 34,000 Certificates of Freedom handed out to convicts after their sentences were completed.
More than 2 millions Brittons and an estimated 4 million Australians are related to convicts deported to Australia in the 18th and 19th century, genealogists say. Both Kevin Rudd and John Howard are descended from convicts, as are many other prominent Australians.
For some reason, there doesn't seem to be a problem with having a convict ancestor, in fact many people will jump on the website hoping to find a long lost distant relative. We are indeed a strange mob and the thought crossed my mind that if a man is poor and desperate and he's given a decent chance in life, he might just surprise you.