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The Female Convicts in Van Diemen's Land Database, an initiative of the Female Convicts Research Centre, began in 2004 as a volunteer community project connecting descendants with their female convict ancestors. Initially the database was available only at the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site. Over the years the database has grown into a far more ambitious undertaking. Now available through the internet to registered researchers of the FCRC, it continues to serve an important role for the community, and has become a unique resource for family historians. It has also become a significant resource for academic researchers who have used the data transcribed by FCRC volunteers, and through the Founders and Survivors project have enriched the database by contributing important data sets from their own research as well.
In transcribing the convict records for each woman in the database, the guiding principle is NOT to recreate the record itself, but to transcribe the information from the record in a correct and understandable form.
The database has evolved into a living archive, a project growing and changing over time as new sources of information become available.
Introduction to the Database
This database is owned and maintained by the Female Convicts Research Centre Inc. (FCRC) and hosted by the University of Tasmania. It contains information on:
1). all female convicts who lived in Van Diemen’s Land/Tasmania who were recorded in VDL/Tasmanian CON records, including:
2). women who arrived free and were tried in the colony, VDL and later Tasmania (from 1856), and were sentenced to imprisonment within the convict system. These women had CON records and often served time with convict women.
3). women listed in the database who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land as free women, having completed their sentence elsewhere in Australia, and originally included in the database, however as there are no VDL/Tasmanian CON records for them, they will eventually be removed to an external list.
Not included in the database:
For consistency, we use the convict’s name as it appears on the Conduct Record.
Know the documents we use
We have transcribed the main convict documents:
· CON19 – Description List
· CON15 – Indent
· CON40 – Conduct Record for the assignment period (1803–1844)
· CON41 – Conduct Record for the probation period (1844 onwards)
· CON42 - Conduct Register of Female Convicts Reconvicted in the Colony 1854-1892.
· CON105 - Description Lists of Prisoners 1876-1879
Records can be accessed at https://www.libraries.tas.gov.au/family-history/Pages/Convict-life.aspx Detailed notes on the records and what they contain are also available.
We have transcribed and matched records from other convict data sets, including CON42 (women convicted at local courts from 1854-92. Some were convicts who re-offended, some were free women who arrived free or were born in the colony. The free women are included in our database because they sometimes served time with convict women. Some were children of convicts, and we have tried to match them to their parents).
Dates and Locations
We write dates in full e.g. 1 January 1856. In our database:
· The day is entered as a number – e.g. 31
· The month is entered as a full word – e.g. July
· The year is entered as a full year – e.g. 1841
For ease of searching, we call the island Van Diemen's Land until 1855, and Tasmania from 1856. We refer to 'Australia', even though this is the pre-federation period, for ease of searching for information about people in the database.
If part of a record is missing or illegible this will appear <[…]>
Whilst every endeavour is made to accurately record information, formatting may be different due to database considerations.
Information about a convict, with more detailed research on her life after transportation, appears on the Research Notes page. The Research Notes page is to enable researchers to share ideas. The information included on this page may or may not pertain to a particular convict. It is stored on this page to enable us to undertake more detailed research at a later date.
This page often contains more detailed information about a women’s life before she was transported, e.g. her trial, previous offences, petition and family life.
The database is NOT YET complete. Volunteers continue to transcribe convict records held by the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office and include data from other sources such as birth, death and marriage records.
It cannot be guaranteed that the data in the database is completely accurate—it is yet to be quality assured.This will occur after all the convict records are transcribed.
Only registered transcribers, database manager and database administrator are permitted to make changes to the data held in the database.
If you find any errors in the database, please contact us at
You can find out how to use the database by clicking on the “HELP! How to use the database.” button at the top right of each page in the database.
Please note, if you are logged in as a Guest Researcher, you DO NOT have access to some of the database, including Descendants.
Please acknowledge our work, should you choose to use our research. Our work may be subject to copyright therefore please check our Copyright Policy on the FCRC website.
For academic referencing (suggestion only): [http address], FCRC Female Convicts in Van Diemen’s Land database, entry for xxxx ID no xxx, accessed [date].
By entering the Database you agree to the Terms and Conditions of using this database and website.
The Female Convicts in Van Diemen’s Land (FCinVDL) database has been developed by the Female Convicts Research Centre Inc. (FCRC) as a research tool. The information contained herein has been transcribed from original sources by volunteers of the FCRC, along with contributions from Founders and Survivors.
The FCRC and its associated organisations have also used information submitted in good faith by individuals with the understanding that such information is accurate, relevant and made available with permission for inclusion on this database.
While all reasonable efforts have been made to verify and ensure the information on this site is as accurate as possible, FCRC cannot always guarantee the integrity, appropriateness, quality, accuracy, timeliness and completeness of the information. FCRC cannot make any warranties that there are no errors in the database. Where appropriate, FCRC will endeavour to correct errors that are drawn to its attention. If you find an error, please contact us.
The Female Convicts Research Centre Inc. gives no guarantee that information is accurate, complete, relevant, or fit for any purpose. The use of the database is at the user's sole risk.
The Female Convicts Research Centre Inc. does not warrant that functions available on this database and associated websites are free of infection by computer viruses or other contamination, nor that access to the database or any part thereof will not suffer from interruption from time to time, without notice.
The FCinVDL database is hosted by the University of Tasmania. Please review their website for their policies.
Information on this database and associated websites is subject to change without notice.
© Female Convicts Research Centre Inc.
Since some of the information in the database is submitted by individuals, we cannot always guarantee the integrity of the data, though attempts are made to verify the data. If you find an error in the database, please email us at