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Index to Certificates of Freedom, 1823-69

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A Certificate of Freedom was a document stating that a convict's sentence had been served and was usually given to convicts with a 7, 10 or 14 year sentence. There are c.40,000 entries to search.

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Information Convicts with a life sentence could receive a Pardon, but not a Certificate of Freedom. The Certificate of Freedom number was sometimes annotated on the indent or noted on a Ticket of Leave Butt. Colonial Certificates of Freedom relate to sentences received for offences committed after arrival in the colony.

About the Index

Extracted from three record series, each entry in the index provides convict's surname, forename, aliases (if any), ship, year of arrival, Certificate of Freedom or Colonial Certificate of Freedom number, date of Certificate, State Records item number, Reel number(s), and remarks.

When mentioned in the body of the Certificate, cross-references are given to previous and subsequent Certificate of Freedom, Conditional Pardon and Ticket of Leave numbers, aliases, and the names of spouses and occasionally other family members.

Records series used to compile the index

This index was compiled from the following record series:

NRS 12208, Registers of Certificates of Freedom
1 Dec 1823-Apr 1827, Reels 601-602
The amount of information in the volumes varies but they contain at least: date, name, ship and year of arrival, when tried and sentence.

NRS 12210, Butts of Certificates of Freedom
1827-67, Reels 604, 982-1027
These butts show: number and date of certificate; number and name of prisoner; ship; master and date of arrival; native place; calling; place and date of trial; sentence; year of birth; physical description and sometimes a note re Ticket of Leave held or other remarks.

NRS 10990, Butts of Colonial Certificates of Freedom [CCFs]
20 Feb 1860-1 Oct 1869, Reels 603, 1258
This series relates to convictions within the colony. The butts show: name, ship and year of arrival; native place; trade or calling; offence; place and date of trial; sentence; year of birth, and physical description.

Accessing the records

Microfilm copies of the Certificates of Freedom can be viewed in our reading room.

Copy ServiceThere is a photocopy service available from this Index. You will see an 'Add to Cart' tickbox option on the search results page(s).

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