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

This post first appeared on


  1. Where they exist I have found the Surgeon's journals for my convicts journeys so enlightening. I didn't realise that there were more to be found via the AJCP but sadly not for my lot.

    1. These are just the ones I found, so there could be many more that I did not uncover.

  2. It’s amazing what has been saved through the years snd valuable it is.


Thanks for visiting, I welcome your comments.

Enjoyed this post? Want to see more?