One of our priorities at the FCRC is to research the genealogy of each convict woman. We have teams of volunteers working in Tasmania, on the mainland and overseas tracing each woman’s story.
We attempt to locate a woman’s birth or baptism details and information about her family life prior to transportation. Trial documents, petitions against transportation, and newspaper articles add to the rich data we have about life under transportation. We aim to reconstruct a convict’s family life both before and after transportation and then we attempt to record her death.
You will find information about birth, death and marriages on the Permission to Marry, Birth and Death, and Relations pages of our database. Details about earlier family life, the trial, petitions against transportation and previous offences are recorded in our Pre-Transportation pages. Our research notes page may contain newspaper reports of crimes in the colony or details pertaining to the colonial family of a convict. You may also find our notes explaining why we reached a decision about a marriage or death.
Sometimes our volunteers find interesting and unusual material that we will share on this page with you.
Ann Troy's Corner (Ann/Anne McEnroe)
Elizabeth Jones per Jane 1833
Ellen Miles per Gilbert Henderson 1839
Eliza Ellis, St. Vincent 1850
Mary Clayton, Hindostan 1839
Letter to Ann Jones, Cadet 1849
Ann Troy's Corner
Anne/Ann McEnroe was a 29-year-old country servant from County Cavan who arrived in VDL in 1852 aboard the Midlothian. She committed no recorded offences during her period of transportation, but did spend some time in Cascades. Anne worked in Fitzroy Place and on Brown’s River Road.1 Six months after her arrival, Michael Troy, a widower, applied to marry her.
Michael Troy, a farm labourer from Tipperary, was 50 when he arrived in the colony in 1850 aboard the Hyderabad. 2 Like Anne, he was a Catholic, but he could read and write. Michael left his wife, Biddy, and four children in Ireland when he was transported for stealing a sheep.3 After he applied to marry Anne, the Convict Office decided that Anne must serve 12 months in the colony before approval would be granted. 4
Ann McEnroe and Michael Troy celebrated their marriage at St Joseph’s Church in Hobart in January 1854. Michael was still 50; Ann said she was still 29.5 In 1857, Michael and Ann were living at Kingston on five acres of land.6
Michael died on the Brown’s River Road, aged 70 in August 1878. Ann Troy, widow of Kingston, registered his death.7 Ann Troy was fined 5 shillings for being drunk and incapable in July 1885.8 She was fined again for being drunk and incapable in September 1895.9
Ann remained in the Kingston district and in 1892, an old man named Alexander Smith was charged with stealing from her house.10 She died in 1904 at the New Town Charitable Institute.11
Ann was not forgotten! In December 1924, the Mercury reported a car accident on ‘a point nine miles from Hobart known as Ann Troy’s corner.’12 Here the car struck a fence which bordered a ‘precipitous’ gulf.
In 1926, the Minister for Works, met with members of the Kingborough Council and members of the Kingston Progress Association. They urgently requested improvements to the ‘dangerous bends on the Hobart-Kingston road at the seven-mile and nine-mile (Ann Troy’s corner).13
Did Ann Troy live on five acres of land on Brown’s River Road, on the bends we now know as Bonnet Hill? A trip from Hobart Town to Kingston was about ten miles. Perhaps more likely Ann lived on the big bend just north of today’s Kingston Golf Club. This is about nine miles from Hobart, a mile from Kingston and it has a precipitous drop to one side. 14
If so, was she the only convict woman to have a landmark named after her?
 CON14/1/43 Page 102-103
 Hobart Town Mercury, 12 Oct 1857 p.2
 Tasmanian News, 20 Jul 1885 p.2
 Tasmanian News, 7 Sep 1895 p.2
 Launceston Examiner, 5 Jan 1892
 Tasmanian Federation Index 1904/284.
 Mercury, 2 Dec 1924.
 Mercury, 15 Nov 1926.
 Email communication with D Smee, Manager Governance & Property Services, Kingborough Council.
By Colette McAlpine
Elizabeth Jones per Jane 1833
A letter written to her mother Jane in 1839.
Transported aboard the Jane in 1833 for stealing from the person, Elizabeth Jones committed 24 colonial offences and spent considerable time in the House of Correction, often in solitary confinement. Several men applied to marry her, but it was not until April 1845 that she married Michael Kittson, a shepherd. Elizabeth gave birth to a son Thomas in 1844. The last notation on her conduct record placed her at Bothwell in late 1846.
8th October 1838
My Dear Mother.
I take the pleasure of writing to you these few lines, hoping to find you, and all the family in good health, as it leaves me at present, thank God for it. Time has not weaken my love for you, and my dear brothers and sisters, it is stronger than ever, and my prayers morning and evening are for your health and happiness. Although I have been a long lost child, I hope with the blessing of God to see you all once more if it pleases the Almighty I live so long, as I hope and trust in His Blessed Name he will spare me for with him there is nothing impossible, if I put my trust in him, for the Blessed Saviour says “ Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest” for he is able to seek and to save that which is lost, so my Dear Mother where there is life there is hope. I am very happy in mind to think you are all well. I have wrote home several times and never received an answer before, which made me think you had forgotten me altogether, and you cannot think how enjoyed I was when I received your kind letter, to find you were alive and well, for my thoughts are about you night and day. Dear Mother, if you were to get a Petition drawn out and my Prosecutor and some more gentlemen to sign it and take it to the Secretary of State’s Office, there is no doubt , but what you might get my time mitigated. If we believe ourselves in the course of 4 years, a 7 years person gets a Ticket of Leave to go in any part in the Country with a pass, and hire in any place, and get wages, £10 a years is the common wages, and some more, it depends on the situation you undertake and a 14 years person has 6 years and a Life person has 8 years to serve before they obtain any indulgence.
You know the day of my Transportation was December 1832 so that I have already served 7 years this month. Please to tell me where to direct my letter as I don’t know properly. If you go to my Prosecutor, he lives in Church Street Deptford by the Tide Mill. So my Dear Mother, I conclude with my blessing and the blessing of God attend you all, and I remain your loving child.
With thanks to Keith Searson for his transcription.
Read the full petition here...
A letter written to her parents.
Letters written by convict women were rare and rarely survived, but a letter written by Amelia Hough to her parents, Thomas and Elizabeth Swinfield of Camp Hill Cottage, Near Nuneaton, Warwickshire, does, at least in part. The text of Amelia’s letter is recorded in a petition* written by her parents in 1846 requesting a pardon on behalf of their daughter and permission for her to leave Van Diemen’s Land with Governor Wilmot, for whom she worked as a domestic servant. It reads (the identity of Miss Loftus is unknown):
My dear Father and Mother, Miss Loftis having informed His Excellency that I had received a letter from you her very kindly asked me if my friends were all well, I thanked him for his enquiries at the same time asked His Excellency if he could please to read the letter which her did, and when her came to that part where you expressed a hope of my pardon, he sent for me into the drawing room, and told me that he would most willingly do it if it laid within his power but it did not altogether, he told me that when I wrote to you again that, if you would intercede for me to the Government at home. My Lord Stanley would then send out to him (Sir E Willmot) and he would then do all that possibly lay in his power for me as Sir Willmott does not expect to stay more than 18 months in Hobart Town expecting to go to Sydney as Governor.
I shall [illegible ] to leave the family having experienced so much kindness from them but I cannot go unless I have my liberty. I have (by the time you receive this letter) been in His Excellency’s service two years and I hope I shall never forget their kindness.
We hear many stories of female convicts rebelling against being assigned as domestic servants, behaving badly, getting drunk and being absent without leave and so on; but this letter give a picture of a female convict who is happy and co-operative, appreciates the kindness she receives from her employers and sounds like a model servant.
Amelia Swinfield and William Hough, a brickmaker, were married at Newton Regis in Warwickshire in August 1839. In 1840 a son, Thomas, was born to them – but also in that year in 1840, William, aged 24, was sentenced to transportation for housebreaking. He left his wife with his father. Their young son, Thomas, died when he was only six months old. Whether Amelia committed a crime in the hope of joining her husband we shall never know, but in 1843 Amelia was living with William Simpson. She and Thomas Simpson were charged with stealing cloth from a boat, and Amelia was sentenced to fourteen years’ transportation. She arrived in Hobart in 1843.
Amelia’s pardon did not arrive. It was very soon to apply for it; Amelia was only a few years into her fourteen-year sentence, and pardons were not given so early. She was a well-behaved convict throughout, not only at government house; she committed no offences and gained her ticket of leave in 1850, and her conditional pardon in 1852.
Meanwhile, Amelia had met her husband William Hough. A son, Francis, was born to them in 1851 whilst they were living in Hobart. William Hough was at that stage a brickmaker, though his occupation would soon change to publican.
In 1854, William Hough became the licensee of the White Hart in Elizabeth Street, Hobart. He died at the hotel in November 1857 and Amelia assumed the licence. In 1860, she married Swedish-born Robert Henderson, captain of the Hargraves, a brigantine that sailed between Hobart Town and Sydney. Henderson died at his home in Cross Street, Battery Point, aged 45, in 1868.
Amelia Millicent Henderson remained in Battery Point. She died at 78 Montpelier Street in September 1896.
Researched and written by Alison Alexander, Colette McAlpine and Keith Searson
Photographs of Amelia Swinfield/Hough and Captain Henderson contributed by Robert Chesterman
* Amelia Hough's petition can be accessed here.
Married name Ellen Watkins
Photo taken from Victorian Prison Records 1884 (covers her records until 1894)
VPRS 516/P002 volume 9 /page 124
Names used on record, Ellen Watkins, Ellen Grimes, Ellen Miles, Jane Watkins, Ellen Stewart
AN ANCIENT OFFENDER.
Bridget Brady, a woman of 82 years, who wore a patch over one eye, but kept the other unflinchingly fixed on Sergeant Eason, was brought up at the City Court on Saturday on a charge of vagrancy. She is a vigorous and voluble old lady, and she took a remarkably keen interest. Sergeant Eason told the Bench that Brady was very well known to the police; he himself had seen her continually lying down in the Carlton Gardens. She had no menus of support.
Brady (triumphantly): If 1 was lying down I did not want support. (Laughter.) But I was only sitting down. Sure, can't I sit down in the gardens if I like? And my name's not Bridget Brady at all, at all. My name is Ellen Watkins, and I'm a decent woman
Sergeant Eason: Oh, we know all about you, Bridget; you've been convicted of all sorts of offences— nine times larceny, six times soliciting—
'Tis many a year since I was soliciting, I'm thinking. (Laughter.)
Sergeant Eason: Yes; the record goes back over 30 years.
Brady (contemptuously): Thirty grandmothers. (Laughter.) Why it must be full 6O years ago, man. (Laughter.)
Accused was sentenced to six months' imprisonment.
The Age 15 December 1902
A BBC documentary, The Secret History of My Family S1E1 the Gadbury Sisters
One of the Gadbury sisters arrived in VDL on the Majestic in 1839 as Sarah Cope (ID7910 in our database). Her aliases included Sarah Cape, Caroline Gadbury, Bradbury, Gadley and Gantry. She married Charles Chapman in 1854 and he died in 1855. The couple had had three daughters, two of whom died in infancy.
In 1860, Sarah married George Ogilvie, a blacksmith and a widower with one surviving son, James. George’s first wife, and the mother of his two sons, was also a convict named Caroline Justin. (ID9720) She arrived on the Navarino in 1841. She died in 1855.
Sarah Cope died as Caroline Cissy Ogilvie, at the home of her daughter, Sarah Ann, in New Town, in 1895. George Ogilvie died in 1894.
Letter to Ann Jones, Cadet 1849
“Condemned Cell. Newgate, Jan. 9, 10 min. to 11 p.m. “My dear Wife, I send you these last lines in the hope that they will find you as well as I am at present, excepting the awful condition in which I am unhappily placed. Had I taken your advice, my dear girl, I should never have been here. It is no fault of yours I have left you with two children in the wide world. I hope you will go home to your friends in Yorkshire. If you get married again I hope you will marry a religious man, and not such blackguard as I have been. God bless you and my children.
“Your unhappy but affectionate husband, THOMAS SALE.”
Contributed by Peter Selley, one of our UK volunteers.