In Australia today it is a matter of pride that one of your ancestors came over as a convict in the 19th century. Most of those transported were not hardened criminals but ordinary people on the poverty line trying to feed their families, for example by sheep rustling. Some were transported for the oddest of reasons. At Clixby in 1847, Joseph Frow, who was a tenant, chopped down 58 apple, 6 cherry, 3 pear and 6 plum trees and was given seven years transportation at the Lincoln Assizes. Not all who were given this sentence actually arrive in Australia but served their term on a hulk awaiting a ship to take them off to the colonies.
Sadly (some genealogists would say) Ian Seward, of Bracebridge Heath had an ancestor that went to Australia who was not a convict. Ian e-mailed me asking how to get information on his grandfather who emigrated from Lincoln in 1895 after the death of his wife. While it is not easy to find information on emigrants there are several avenues to explore from the UK. As Ian is on the Internet the easiest place to start is at www.rootsweb.com where many lists will be found that covers all interests throughout the world with many links to matters Australian. These range from Australian History through Military History to Genealogy in the various states of Australia. On the net is also the Lincoln list which has a number of subscribers from Australia who are searching for their Lincolnshire roots. Subscribing to a list gives you access to people all over the world on a similar search to yourself, and in the main they are very friendly and helpful.
At the Public Records Office , Kew Gardens, there are many documents concerning emigration including the census of convicts from 1788 to 1859, passport registers (bearing in mind that it was not necessary to have a passport in the 19th century) and passenger lists from 1890 to 1960.
Places to look a little closer to home are the school log books. The Head may have made an entry when the children were removed from school to emigrate and there could also be an item in the local newspapers such as this one from Clixby
Lincolnshire October 21st 1887
CAISTOR - Mr Edward Smith, son of Mr G W Smith, of Clixby Manor, near Caistor, set sail for Buenos Ayres, to take charge of a very large herd of shorthorns formed there by Mr Campbell, Mr Smith's family have been favourably known for several generations as breeders of shorthorns, principally of the highest dairy qualities,
A few entries for Australia can be found on the IGI but the numbers are small compared to the those for Britain. There are new compilations coming out from the LDS under the title Vital Records Index and there is I believe one for Australia which might hold more information and can be ordered in the UK.
And finally, your search could be carried forward by joining the Lincolnshire Family History Society who maintain a list of members interests and may put you in contact with someone who may have already traced the family in question. There are also many Australian members listed who might be willing to help in the search. When you join you have the opportunity of putting your names of interest into the magazine which is then sent to all members. In the magazine you can also find items such as At Sandhurst, Australia on 3/2/1868 Mr Richard Millhouse, harness maker, formerly of Spalding, which was in the September 1999 edition and is full of items of interest including an in-depth article on the Internet as a genealogical resource.
Bits and Bobs Nothing changes
Lincoln St Benedict - Burial Register - John Patrick, age 12, lost his life by fireworks being accidentally lighted in his pocket on 5th November. Buried 19 November 1823
From FHS Magazine March 1996