Register of convicts on the Antelope, 1873-78 (Catalogue reference: HO 7/3)

This is a brief guide to help you research records of transportees. The National Archives holds records of criminal trials and convictions, including those of people sentenced to transportation, as well as of convict voyages, censuses and pardons. Many of these records are not indexed by name, so it may be difficult to find a particular person. It will be easier if you know the name of the ship or the date when it sailed. You may also find useful information in the related guides listed to the right.

  • What do I need to know before I start?

    • Try to find out:

      • when and where the convict was tried
      • the name of their ship
      • the date on which their ship sailed
  • What other resources will help me find information?

    • Websites

      Visit the Convicts to Australia website for lists of convicts, lists of convict ships with dates that they sailed and arrived and all sorts of other research tools and advice.

      Search the Convict transportation registers database (State Library of Queensland) by name of convict.

      Consult the section of The State Library of New South Wales' website called Family History: Convicts.

      Consult the website Female Convicts Research Centre for information on female convicts transported to Tasmania from 1803.

    • Books

      Peter Wilson Coldham, The complete book of emigrants in bondage, 1614-1775. An alphabetical list of people including where each person was tried.

      Peter Wilson Coldham, Bonded passengers to America. This provides a detailed overview of all the published sources of relevant records in The National Archives.

      David T Hawkings, Criminal ancestors: a guide to historical criminal records in England and Wales (2009)

      David T Hawkings, Bound for Australia (2012)

      Use our library catalogue to find a recommended book list.

      The books are all available in The National Archives' reference library. You may also be able to find them in a local library. You can buy from a wide range of history titles in our bookshop.


Did you know?

After 1615 it became increasingly common for convicts to be offered a pardon from a death sentence on condition of transportation.

Originally transportation was to America or the West Indies; from 1718 to 1776 it was to America; and from 1787 to 1867 it was to Australia and Tasmania (then called Van Diemen's Land).

Convicts were sentenced to transportation after trials at assizes, quarter sessions, or the Old Bailey.

Few records survive about individual convicts who were transported to North America and the West Indies. For more information read Criminal transportees: further research.