Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Records of the Royal Societies - AJCP

There are ten organisations or societies with the word Royal in their name listed in the M Series of records. If you are interested in  meteorological observations, early Antarctic and other geographical expeditions, the Royal Society has a good collection of documents. The records of the Royal Botanic Gardens contain the papers of the early collectors of Australian and New Zealand plant species. The Royal Institute of Great Britain fostered scientific pursuits.

Royal Commonwealth Society

School tours

The Royal Commonwealth Society sponsored tours to South Africa, Canada and Newfoundland, India, West Indies and British Guiana, Australia, New Zealand for boys from the public schools between 1927 and 1939. The records contain not just the lists of names of those who participated, but also the ships on which they travelled and full itineraries of the visits. Public Schools Empire Tours Records
Names of participants on 1931 tour to Australia

Monumental Inscriptions

An interesting find in the Royal Commonwealth Society's records are these Monumental Inscriptions in Australia. While some may appear on local council sites and on Find a Grave or Billion Graves, when I checked through some of the entries for Narrandera there are some transcribed here that may have been lost since these lists were compiled between 1913 and 1922. These inscriptions were copied for the Society of Genealogists in London by George P Townend.

The volumes give the full inscriptions on gravestones and also church tablets and windows and a few inscriptions on public buildings. There is a name index for each section.

Vol. I: N.S.W
  • Ashfield (70p.) 
  • Enfield (142p.)
Vol. II: N.S.W
  • Newtown (15p.)
  • Vaucluse (75p.) 
  • Narrandera (54p.)
  • Toganmaine (4p.)
Vol. III: N.S.W
  • Randwick (135p.) 
  • La Perouse (1p.)
Vol. IV: Victoria 
  • West Melbourne (111p.) 
  • Burwood (22p.) 
  • Heidelberg (R.C.) (18p.) 
  • Heidelberg (44p.)
  • Warrigal (4p.)
  • Oakleigh (51p.)
A few of the many interesting collections in the Royal Commonwealth Society fonds are some early manuscript maps of South Australia, seven New Zealand paintings 1881 -1887, an album of 39 photographs taken when Commodore Erskine proclaimed British Protectorate in eastern New Guinea, November 1884 as well as many family collections that can be located with a surname search.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Queensland - AJCP

The colony of Queensland was officially proclaimed in 1859, prior to this New South Wales administered this vast tract of land. 

In this post I will look at a range of material not previously referred to. It is in no way indicative of all the records available for Queensland but is intended to highlight some of the more unusual collections in the AJCP.

Land records

The New Zealand and Australian Land Company acquired and leased properties not just in New Zealand but also in the Australian colonies  If your ancestors worked on one of these holdings, the Maps and Plans of their extensive records provide detail of the properties.

This 1905 Plan of Maxwelton and surrounding sections, Hughenden district of Queensland comes from the Hereford and Worcester Record Office. Located in  the same fonds are the staff and wages returns detailing those who worked at Maxwelton from 1895 -1908.


clipping from Maxwelton: Staff and wages return July 1905


Guide to the Photographs of G.W. Wilson and Company The originals of these are held at Aberdeen University Library, King's College, Aberdeen, Scotland.
Among the towns and cities represented in the collection were Brisbane, Bundaberg, Cairns, Townsville, Herberton, Rockhampton, Maryborough, Gympie, Toowoomba, Sydney, Katoomba, Leura, Wentworth, Newcastle, Broken Hill, Melbourne, Ballarat, Williamstown, Healesville, Sorrento, Bendigo, Bright, Adelaide, Gawler and Mount Gambier.

2 Queensland photos from this collection 

Flinders Street and General Post Office, Townsville, Queensland

 Judicial matters

This guide contains material submitted as part of cases being heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council including petitions, proceedings, correspondence, the cases for the applicants and respondents, judgements and orders.

A range of Queensland cases across the 1800s

Searching for Queensland records

Search by place e.g. "Moreton Bay" 153 results, Rockhampton  292 results (remember to choose online and freely available)

Search within a Finding Aid e.g. Records of the Colonial Office CTRL+F (find on page) finds 102 mentions of Queensland

Search a phrase "Queensland gold" Just one result that is online and freely available Goldfield Reports 1885 "Queensland flood" 2 results in 1893.

Search on within the AJCP.

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Monday, 19 April 2021

Photographs - AJCP

Plan a photograph search

P for plans of railway workshops, power of attorney documents, posters, personal postcards and photographs just some of the records that can be found in the AJCP collections.

It is unlikely that your ancestor's photograph album appears here but think of their friends, neighbours and associates and those far flung surnames on your family tree.

Sarah Venneck's 1933 60 page photo album has names under many of the photos. Some photos are in England but if you had a relative who travelled to Australia on the P&O S.S. Majola you may find them in this album.
Sample page from the album

Photographs can be found in family collections and archives. This one is from an earlier era dated 1890 -1899 from the family papers of a Commander J Hamilton of Rozelle. It shows Winnie and Emma Ranken on the veranda at Saltrams. Imagine playing tennis in those dresses!

This 1932 photo from the Cambridge University Library collection can be found by a Gosse surname search.

Some other interesting albums

See inside the Bryant and May match making factory, it includes photos with notes on production. Production line photographs were popular, perhaps the Corset Factory photos may be of interest. 

The Thomas Laing photograph album has one hundred and sixty six photographs, identified, of Australia, New Zealand and family and friends in Australia and Britain, c.1929-1933. It is in the Strathclyde Regional Archives as is this photograph of three children of Robert Henry taken by Mathewson, Brisbane.

Search from the AJCP portal
  • photograph  11 246 results some of these results are not photographs but the search has simply found the word where permission to photograph has been sought
  • "album of photographs" 35 results
  • "photograph album" 89 results
Enjoy exploring some photos.
James family in the Papers of the Hayward family
Sons of Capt. John Eedy:
John Eedy; William Eedy (c. 1866); Peter Eedy (April 1872); Arthur M. Eedy; George Eedy

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Saturday, 17 April 2021

Opportunities out there - AJCP

Oh! to emigrate there

Out there, over there, on the edge of civilisation however the colonies were viewed in the 19th century, the need for emigrants produced opportunities for those willing to travel and take their families to the other side of the world. 

Posters on talks about Australia, New Zealand and Canada, advertising promotions for ships and sailing dates, letters from emigrants to those "back home" all played their part in the promotion of emigration opportunities. Records such as these are scattered throughout the AJCP collections.

This poster advertises lectures about Australia. It is from the Oxfordshire County Record Office.

In 1838 Colonel Wyndham was keen to move his Irish tenants off his estate so he offered free passage to Canada. Those who were above 15 but under 30 could go to Australia if preferred, but assistance would only be provided once families were ready to embark.
from the Collections of the Petworth House archives

This 1839 printed poster advertising emigration to New South Wales to married men belonging to Battle Union comes from the East Sussex Record office. Free of Expence - presumably expense but why not interpret this as those with no pence!

This one held by the Ipswich branch of the Suffolk Record Office offers a free passage for single women to depart in April of 1836.
An 1873 poster for the steamship Great Britain
If you view the whole poster there are details about the cost of the voyage in each class of cabin.
The SALOON is provided with every requisite, including Berths, Beds, Bedding, Plate, Table Linen, Crockery, Glass, etc. It is supplied with the best articles of Food, and an abundant Dietary Scale, Live Stock, Poultry, etc. It contains a Ladies' Boudoir, Baths, etc, etc.
No Passenger booking for a berth in a Cabin is to be accommodated in a Cabin by himself, so long as he can placed in a Cabin of the same class or price with another Passenger not booked for a whole Cabin. Should any Passenger shift from the accommodation for which he was originally booked to a berth for which a higher charge is payable, or from a berth in a Cabin to a whole Cabin, he is to be charged the extra fare throughout.

Finally a ticket issued in 1857 for a return journey to Liverpool. Was this an emigrant returning home, or was he just going back to visit?
Passage ticket issued by the Black Ball Line (Melbourne) to Charles Wilson for a passage from Melbourne to Liverpool

Friday, 16 April 2021

Near Neighbour New Zealand - AJCP

New Zealand's Blue Books

For this post I return to the Records of the Colonial Office. Some of my favourite finds have been in the Blue Books of Statistics. These are made up of forms that were filled in by the Colonial Secretary in each colony. Copies were then returned to London. They contain a comprehensive overview of the status of the colony in any one year. They detail all the government appointments in that year as well as statistical information about population, schools, churches, revenue and expenditure, imports, roads, postage and much more.

In this 1848 New Zealand Blue Book, the headings across the top of the pages which list personnel are:

Office | Name | Date of appointment | By whom appointed and under what instrument | Annual salary | 
On the second page of the spread we find details of whether the appointee was entitled to housing and any other appointments they held. The last column has the date of their first appointment under the Colonial Government.

All this is rich information for the family historian so if you know in which colony your ancestor worked, it is possible that he may have been employed by some arm of the colonial authority.
NZ Blue Book of Statistics 1848

From the page above we see that John Guilding who was appointed as the Landing Waiter in the Customs Department on 1st May 1848 was paid 200 pounds per year. The Boarding Officer, D Rough received 100 pounds a year whereas the Collectors of Customs Henry D'Arch and William Young were both in receipt of 300 pounds per year.

In the same year, 1848, the governor of New Zealand, Sir George Grey was receiving 2 500 pounds per year.

The contents page for each of these Blue Books details the types of information recorded about the colony for that year. The Civil Establishment records where employment details are found, sometimes start at about page 69. That is unlikely to be image 69 in the microfilm, you may need to go further.

Blue Books of Statistics are available for New Zealand from 1840 -1854. They can be found in the Colonial Office Records  or by combining the search terms in the Trove search bar.
These are just some of the records specific to New Zealand across the range of  AJCP collections

Other colonies

Blue Books of Statistics are also available for Fiji and the Australian colonies.
By combining search terms and adding a year e.g. Blue Book AND 1847 AND AJCP one is led to more specific results.
Once a record is obtained, choose Browse then zoom in on the Contents page for that year to find the number of the starting page for the Civil Establishment records rather than having to scroll through all the images.

Rates of pay are interesting to compare to the cost of goods advertised in the newspapers in the same years to get an idea of the cost of living for your ancestors. 

Blue Books of Statistics provide an excellent overview of each colony across a range of years. These are available in the Colonial Office collection.
  • Western Australia 1834 – 1869
  • South Australia 1840 – 1865
  • Tasmania 1822 – 1858
  • New Zealand 1840 – 1855
  • Victoria 1851 – 1856
  • NSW 1822 – 1857
  • Fiji 1874
  • Tonga 1883

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Mining the records of the Missions - AJCP

Making Missions Matter

Many Christian organisations established missionary branches to promote their beliefs in England's far flung colonies. The records of some of these societies are very well documented and so provide valuable information about their personnel and the places to which they were sent. The records of a wide range of such organisations are available through the M series. 

One of the most comprehensive of these collections is that of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel

Applications for positions in the missions required the intended missionary fill in a detailed form providing background details about his/her date and place of birth, family details and faith commitments. These detailed forms also included work history, salary and aspirations. What a bonus for the family historian to find an ancestor's signature.

Series. Testimonial Envelopes, 1860 - 1930 There are hundreds of names here.
The first 4 of 16 questions to be answered by applicants

The Series. Missionary Rolls, 1846 - 1910  also supply similar information but in this case they detail the appointments actually made.
Here is George Henry Farr's 1854 acceptance to proceed to Adelaide as headmaster of St Peter's Collegiate School on the understanding that he was to receive 300 pounds per annum.
Sarah Coomes, off to Borneo in 1856 was to be given 100 pounds for passage and outfit and to receive 40 pounds per annum 

Just a reminder: searches within the Trove interface will find any of these records

The alternative is to search a surname from within the Finding Aid of the society.

Additional Missionary Organisations

Church Missionary Society - This collection dates from 1799 up to 1914. Letters, Minute books, Journals and miscellaneous collections with a large quantity of material about the society's New Zealand missions.
Church of Scotland 1848 - 1936 
"This collection includes letterbooks and minutes from the Church of Scotland Foreign Mission Committee; Bombay Corresponding board; Women's Association for Foreign Missions; Colonial Committee; United Presbyterian Church Foreign Mission Committee; treasurers; mission board; Free Church of Scotland Foreign Mission and Colonial Committees and United Free Church of Scotland Colonial, Continental and Jewish committee."
London Missionary Society  - There are many early accounts of voyages to and the establishment of missions across the Pacific. Missionaries wrote reports in the form of letters and later more formalised reports were completed from a wide range of outposts in the islands. 

As with many Finding aids the names of the missionaries writing these reports can be found with a simple search from the AJCP portal page, so "William E Goward" is found in 42 instances in the South Seas missions.

This collection is related to the Marist mission in Fiji.
Hundreds of missionaries names in the letters written. 
St Joseph's Foreign Missionary Society Covers Records of the Maori Mission, 1882 - 1972

Try a surname search from the AJCP portal page to locate those missionaries whose names have been recorded in Finding Aids. The guides often provide historical background information about these societies and their extent of operations. By browsing the guides (finding aids) one can get an overview of the context and extent of the records.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Love those Libraries - AJCP

A Lengthy List of Libraries

Libraries have always been fundamental in the realm of preserving the information published by our forbears across centuries. Rather than delve into the resources shared by each of these libraries through the AJCP, I have elected to provide snippets of records from random collections. This serves to emphasise the great variety of resources made available through the AJCP but is in no way indicative of the rich resources provided by each of these libraries. 

The links for each library lead to the Finding Aid which provides an overview of that library's collection within the AJCP.

a marriage certificate from the Bodleian

An 1875  letter - Difficulty of getting books on birth control in Australia… 'consequences of excessive marital indulgence are most appalling', opposition of clergy

An 1817 outline map of the settlements in N.S.W. from the Cambridge University Library

In 1926 the London and National Society for Women's Service established the Women's Service Library which gradually built up a collection of books, periodicals, ephemera, manuscripts, photographs, posters and cartoons relating to most aspects of women's place in society. In 1953 the Society changed its name to the Fawcett Society in honour of Millicent Fawcett. By 1977 it could no longer support the Library and it was transferred to the City of London Polytechnic.

A 1938 pamphlet from the Society for Oversea Settlement of British Women from the Fawcett Library

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Library manuscripts of Australian explorers
Copy of an inscription on Thomas Blossom's tombstone

Many libraries contain collections of personal and business letters.

This one in the Liverpool City Libraries is from Sir James E Smith to W. Roscoe where he provides news of  A. Macleay, leaving to take up post of Colonial Secretary in NSW 'to colonize the country with eleven unmarried daughters and many sons'.

If you had persons convicted in 1792 -1794  there's a list of 23 of them but while Anthony Purchase and Riichard Warnbeck were tried for rioting the comments list them as being orderly lads, fit for any service and not thieves.

William Salt Library Staffordshire

The National Libraries

Some items from the National Library of Wales 
  • The Black Books of the Court of Great Sessions in Wales, 1785 - August 1830 
  • Genealogical details of  'The family of Kemeys, Kemmis, Cameys or Camoys' Revised by Lewis G.N. Kemmis, Typescript, 1940
  • Copy of The will of Catherine Welbore Ellis of Marrickville, 1898
Look up the Libraries, lots of links leading to likely treasures.

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Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Kent Archives Office - AJCP

The K selection in the M Series

Many of the County Archives or Record Offices hold collections of prisoners records and here the Kent Archives Office is no exception. 

The Maidstone Gaol records include a Calendar of Prisoners for Trial  at the Maidstone Assizes dated from 1837 - 1853 At the front of each session there is an an alphabetical list of prisoners.

From the records of each session one can view the Name and trade/occupation of prisoner, age, whether they could read and write, who committed the prisoner, the crime of which he/she was accused and the sentence imposed

From this sample in 1841, James Collins was acquitted of receiving the two gowns, value 11s. His wife Mary had stolen these and she was committed to hard labour in the House of Corrections for 2 calendar months.
Patrick Connor however was transported for seven years for stealing two boots, value 20s., the property of Charles Bradford Baird at Chatham.

So your ancestor may not have been a prisoner but may be mentioned as a victim of crime.
But what did happen to those transported? 

Kent Archives also has a Convict book 1805 - 1833 which is a register of convicts, including many sentenced to transportation, giving names, where convicts were sent, and dates of removal.

These are just the first two of many records in the Kent Archives. 

The bulk of the collection is found in family files which include personal papers, diaries, family letters, business correspondence and many genealogical gems such as this 1847 Birth Certificate for  Thomas Winton of Lyndoch, South Australia.

If your Coxon family lived in Brisbane here's one of 8 photographs courtesy of the Kent Archives via the AJCP.

Visit the M series to investigate which Counties have archival records available now through the AJCP.

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Monday, 12 April 2021

Journals and Jottings - AJCP

Individual Journals

Within many of the AJCP collections there  are journals written by individuals on the voyages and experiences in the new country. Try the words diary, notebook or journal with a surname to see if one of your ancestors has his/her words recorded for posterity.

Journals written by ships' captains and surgeon superintendents

The Finding Aid to the India Office Library outlines the how and why the East India Company came to supply ships for the transportation of convicts. An excerpt:
After about 1795, a growing number of East Indiamen were charted to bring convicts, free settlers, provisions and other goods to New South Wales (and occasionally Tasmania). After visiting Port Jackson, the ships invariably sailed to China or India where they loaded tea, textiles and other goods before returning to Britain.

The ships' journals, logs and related records available here date from 22 July 1759 - 6 June 1827 and include:

  • Coromandel, 
  • Royal Admiral,
  • Warren Hastings, 
  • Ganges, 
  • Sovereign, 
  • Bellona, 
  • Prince of Wales, 
  • Young William, 
  • Resolution, 
  • Warwick, 
  • Ceres, 
  • Minerva, 
  • Hercules, 
  • Canada, 
  • Nile, 
  • Minorca, 
  • Friendship, 
  • Duff, 
  • Barwell, 
  • Atlas I, 
  • Atlas II, 
  • Marquis of Wellington, 
  • Henry Porcher, 
  • Guilford, 
  • England, 
  • Alexander, 
  • Providence, 
  • William Pitt, 
  • Ocean, 
  • General Graham, 
  • Mary, 
  • Rolla, 
  • Perseus 
  • Indefatigable.

These journals and logs not only record the day to day weather conditions but also detail the personnel aboard. In this case the date of deaths of several crew members are recorded next to their names. 
Resolution: Journal, Captain Thomas Poynting

If you had a maritime ancestor or an emigrant you have been unable to find, perhaps they are listed on one of those ships.

Surgeon Superintendent journals

Veering away from the India Office Library but relevant to journal entries are the Admiralty Transport Department's Surgeon superintendents' journals of convict ships, 1858 - 1867

These deal more with the day to day interactions and infractions aboard. The rules and regulations together with daily routines of prisoners are detailed.
Aboard the Corona in 1866
Written by W. Crawford R.N. (Surgeon Superintendent)

They are likely to include the ports at which the convicts were embarked, names of convicts who  either died or escaped during voyage as well as the numbers on each ship, and the supplies used each day.

Some Surgeon Superintendents provided extensive details while others limited themselves to the minimum of reporting needed. These journals are in the Ministry of Transport records.

  • Lord Raglan, 6 February 1858 - 8 June 1858 
  • Lincelles, 7 September 1860 - 30 January 1861
  • Norwood, 4 February 1862 - 14 June 1862 
  • Merchantman, 10 October 1862 - 24 February 1863 
  • Clyde, 23 February 1863 - 2 June 1863 
  • Clara, 11 January 1864 - 16 April 1864 
  • Merchantman, 11 June 1864 - 30 September 1864 
  • Racehorse, 26 April 1865 - 23 August 1865 
  • Vimeira, 16 September 1865 - 6 January 1866 
  • Corona, 4 September 1866 - 26 December 1866 
  • Norwood, 11 March 1867 - 29 July 1867

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Saturday, 10 April 2021

Irish Records - AJCP

It is the individuals of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland who interest us as genealogists. Here are just some of the major Irish collections in the AJCP where details of convicts and free settlers alike can be found.

The National Archives of Ireland

Each register is divided into male and female convicts, and each section is subdivided by county. The registers give details of each convict, including age, crime and sentence. While the Ireland-Australia Transportation database can be searched on the National Archives of Ireland site and several Convict indexes are available through NSW State Archives, if one has the year and county the person can be found in these registers.

A second series covers Prisoners' Petitions and Cases, 1788 - 1836, there are also some Fenian photographs from 1866.

Another series has Free Settlers' Papers, 1828 - 1852
Male convicts who served a minimum of four years of their sentence were entitled to request a free passage for a dependent wife and family to join them in the colony. The series include some lists of convicts who requested this privilege, giving details of date of transportation, name of ship, and name and address of wife. There are also some letters written by convicts to their wives.

These comprehensive records about convicts are now fully digitised.

The National Library of Ireland

Browse the huge variety in this collection via the Finding Aid - Guide 
Multiple finds within these collections. 

Rules and regulations for steerage passengers in 1838,
How did they travel? A plan of accommodation aboard the Roxburgh is followed by

The photos below are included in the Papers of General Sir Thomas Larcom, - Letters, memoranda and pamphlets relating to young Irelanders and Fenianism 1861 -1867. Browse the collection then choose set 301- 320  to view the images.
Papers of General Sir Thomas Larcom, 1859 - 1871

Names on photos include:
Duffy, Stephens, Lynam, O'Mahony, O'Keefe, Byrne, Scholfeld, Haltigan, McManus, Moore, O'Leary, O'Regan, O'Connor, Curry, Molony, Bracken, McGillivery, Cook or McCook, Weadick, Power, Doherty, Brophy, Mulcahy, Hayes, Casey, O'Connor, Mulcahy and O'Donovan.

The Royal Irish Academy 

Records here contain papers relating to colonial administration in Western Australia 1828-49. One set of interest are those relating to the Roman Catholic mission in Western Australia; the education of Catholic children; and official attitudes towards the Sisters of Mercy.

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

This collection contains many, many letters of emigrants to their families. Search a family name to determine whether your ancestors wrote home about their voyage or living conditions.
Found amongst this collection
Photograph of Thomas Whitson, Isabella Whitson (nee Grant), their children and parents
Thomas Whitson (1847-1922) married Isabella Grant at Dunedin in 1876. She had emigrated to New Zealand with her parents in 1870.

All Hallows College Dublin

The largest set of records here refer to:
Correspondence dealing with overseas missions, concluding with batches of letters arranged chronologically in groups of twelve with a summary note at the beginning of each group. These summary notes give the name of each correspondent, the date of the letter and its subject. The bulk of the correspondence consists of letters from bishops and priests addressed to the College presidents, and records of the ideas as well as the activities of Irish priests in Australia and New Zealand.
These are just some of the significant Irish collections available through the AJCP. 

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Friday, 9 April 2021

Hulks and the Home Office - AJCP

Prison Hulks

Floating decommissioned ships were used extensively in the late 18th century to relieve the pressure on British prisons. These were not the ships used to transport the prisoners across the seas but were indeed unseaworthy floating prisons. They were often used to house prisoners prior to transportation to the penal colonies.

The AJCP has extensive records about these hulks housed in a great variety of Departmental files as well as in County records. It may well be that your ancestor was imprisoned on one of these hulks whether or not he/she was eventually transported. 

Home Office records include convict prisons and registers of prisoners in hulks on Chatham, Woolwich, Devonport, Portsmouth,  as well as transportation lists, number of convicts by year and colonies to which they were sent. 

There is a great deal of general correspondence such as these letters of request from prisoners aboard the hulks. The appalling conditions aboard  made transportation appear to be a desirable alternative.

Edward Moseley states:
I am a young man of twenty two years of age, by trade a bricklayer...............
he goes on to relate his conviction to transportation for stealing a Game cock and rather than asking for pardon petitions
to be taken out of this floating hell, and sent in the next ship to Botany Bay. I am lame from a fall but stout and robust, and every day go thro' laborious work. I have three times had the Gaol fever which is another reason for my importunity. 

Convict Prisons

The huge collection relating to the hulks is inside the Prison Department and Inspectorate Fonds of Home Office files.
Series HO 8. Convict Prisons, 1824 - 1869
Quarterly list of prisoners in British prisons and hulks giving name and details of age, offence, and convictions, surgeons' reports, and behaviour. 
a snip from the extensive list of files

Prison Commission

From the Prison Commission, lists of prisoners aboard hulks are available across the years 1837 - 1855.

A search in the Treasury Records finding aid for the word hulk reveals there are accounts of expenses of keeping convicts on board the prison hulks.

If you had an ancestor committed to a hulk you may well find these are just some of the many records to browse for your ancestors.

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