When you’re researching Australian family, there’s always the spectre of transportation, much like Massachusetts in the late 17th century. Back in 2007 it was reported that up to 22% of living Australians were descended from convicts (over 4 million people). There is also a one in 30 chance for us Brits.
I remember studying the topic of transportation when I was at primary school (er, about 30 years ago), but I thought that I could do with a bit of a refresher course – and its amazing to find what records are out there for individuals, alongside the social and political history that goes along with it.
And spoiler alert: I feel some degree of sympathy for our William …
One of my long-standing genealogical projects is to create a one-name study of the surname Holborow (variously Holbrow, Holborrow, Holb(o)rough and many transcription errors such as Holbron …). My first step in this has been to document every Holborow event documented in Australia. Why Australia? I couldn’t tell you. Because it’s less than the UK and more than the US? Possibly.
I soon found, thanks to Ancestry and the various state archives (special shout out to Libraries Tasmania, but we’ll get there), National Archives of Australia and the brilliant Trove website with its digitisation of newspapers, that there were only a handful of primary progenitors of historic Holborows in Australia. There are a few outliers, a few arrivals who didn’t leave much of a trace, but plenty of stories to tell: we’ve got mayors, we’ve got murder, we’ve got mystery (and, yes, we’ve got a convict…).
But first, we’ve got Wales …