How to look for records of... Criminal transportees
How can I view the records covered in this guide?
This is a brief guide to researching criminal transportees. The National Archives holds records of trials and convictions, including those of people sentenced to transportation, as well as of convict voyages, censuses and pardons. Few of these records are indexed by name, so finding a particular person can be complicated.
Originally transportation was to America or the West Indies. From 1718 to 1776 it was to America only, and from 1787 to 1867 it was to Australia and Tasmania (then called Van Diemen’s Land). Transportation was often used as an alternative punishment for criminals who would otherwise have been executed, with convicts sentenced after trials at assizes, quarter sessions and the Old Bailey.
What do I need to know before I start?
Few records survive about individual convicts who were transported to North America and the West Indies. For more information see Criminal transportees: further research.