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Updated by Aoife O Connor on Mar 13, 2020
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Criminal Family Histories

Family histories that feature the life of a criminal ancestor. Descriptions are from Amazon. This is just a list, not a recommended reading list.

Seeking Our Eagle

'Seeking Our Eagle' is the perfect, non-fiction companion piece for Karen Charlton's historical novel, 'Catching the Eagle.' It is in itself a remarkable story. Written with honesty and humour, this factual book shows how the Charltons shook their family tree until a Regency convict fell out.'

Prison Hulk to Redemption: Part One of a Family History 1788-1900 (Wilson Family History)

The author’s ancestors in Australia all came from the British Isles. Two came on the First Fleet in 1788 and none came later than the 1830s. In the direct lines, the author has found nine convicts. He traces the life of each direct-line ancestor against the social and historical background of colonial Australia, giving a very different picture from that usually found in school history books.

Our Story

A history of the Robertson and Hackett families; descendants of Anthony Rope and Elizabeth Pulley [who were transported on the First Fleet].

Searching For The Secret River: The Story Behind the Bestselling Novel

Kate Grenville's The Secret River was one of the most loved novels of 2006. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize and awarded the Commonwealth Writer's Prize, the story of William Thornhill and his journey from London to the other side of the world has moved and exhilarated hundreds of thousands of readers.

Searching for the Secret River tells the story of how Grenville came to write this wonderful book. It is in itself an amazing story, beginning with Grenville's great-great-great grandfather. Grenville starts to investigate her ancestor, hoping to understand his life. She pursues him from Sydney to London and back, and slowly she begins to realise she must write about him. Searching for the Secret River maps this creative journey into fiction, and illuminates the importance of family in all our lives

Villains and Valour: a history of the Holmyard family of Tasmania

Van Diemen’s Land was colonised by the British in 1803 as a penal colony. and became part of the British colony of New South Wales. The majority of male convicts served their sentences as assigned labour to free settlers or in gangs assigned to public works. Most female convicts were sent directly to the Female Factory although many remained only for a day or so as they were sent to work for free or convict settlers. Children of convict women either stayed with their mothers or moved to an orphanage. This book is a record of the history of the Holmyard family from the Deloraine and Elizabeth Town areas of Tasmania. It encompasses the stories of four convicts and family lines that touch on the edges of many others. These stories are about family myths and legends, of relatives with no genetic links and others who have dropped off the tree altogether, all bound through shared experience and association. While some fell by the wayside of drink and criminal associations, others went on to become respected members of their communities in their own lifetime, raising large families who in turn continue to contribute to the fabric of the island. They were villains by reputation, but valorous by deed, with many paying the ultimate price on foreign battle fields.

Finding Thomas Dames: An Investigation By Lynne Morley

Finding Thomas Dames is the moving true life story of Lynne Morley's ancestor, who, as a child, turned to a life of petty crime in order to survive the grim streets of Georgian Nottingham, one of the most poverty stricken cities of that era. A city where life was cheap, disease was rife and the grim figure of death was an ever present companion. Apprehended by the law on many, many occasions, and labelled an "Incorrigible Rogue", Thomas felt the full force of the law on frequent occasions before the irritated judiciary sentenced him to be transported to the new penal colonies in Western Australia. The incredible story reveals how this happens not once - but twice! Sent south on the convict ship, Lincelles, Thomas endures a three month journey of brutality and privation. This scarcely believable story is unearthed by Lynne and painstakingly recreated here. As the author says, Thomas' life was so tragic, it is stranger than fiction.

Many of our submitters have written biographical stories of the lives of their female convict ancestors. An enormous amount of time and effort goes into these labours of love and they are tributes to the lives of the women they describe. [These free narratives are available to download]

All of our family history books are fully referenced and set at the cost of ONE NSW BDM certificate. All books are instant pdf downloads accessible after payment through Paypal. Other books are smaller and prices vary accordingly.