Indexes to convict records
New! Sentenced beyond the Seas: Australia's early convict records, 1788-1801
A project to digitise and index Australia's earliest convict records. Convict Indents list the convicts transported to New South Wales. Search over 12,000 names listed in these records and view digital indents online. This project marks the 225th anniversary in 2013 of the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788.
Search early convict arrivals and view the indents online »
Between 1788 and 1842 about 80,000 convicts were transported to New South Wales. Of these, about 85% were men and 15% were women. Almost two thirds of convicts were English (along with a small number of Scottish and Welsh), with the Irish making up the remaining one third.
Convicts were usually given sentences of transportation for seven, 14 years or life. Some convicts in the 1830s received ten-year sentences. About one quarter of the convicts were sentenced to 'the term of their natural lives', and a proportion of these had reprieves from the death sentence.
- Read more on our Resources For Historians - Convict webpage
The database includes the following:
1. Certificates of Freedom, 1823-69
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. More »
2. Convict Bank Accounts, 1837-70
Convicts could retain the money they brought with them for their own use. This money could often 'purchase' a more comfortable life during their period of servitude. More »
3. Tickets of Exemption from Government Labor, 1827-32
Similar to a Ticket of Leave but the convict was not allowed to employ him or herself or to acquire property. More »
4. Tickets of Leave, Certificates of Emancipation and Pardons, 1810-19
Search tickets, certificates and pardons from the early years of the Colony. More »
5. Tickets of Leave, 1810-75
A ticket of leave allowed convicts to work for themselves on condition that they remained in a specified area, reported regularly to local authorities and if at all possible, attend divine worship every Sunday. More »
6. Ticket of Leave Passports, 1835-69
Allowed convicts holding tickets of leave to travel between certain points, visit a certain place or to attend the city markets for a specified period of time. More »
7. Convict Death Register, 1828-79
This register was used to record the deaths of convicts who died while still serving their sentence. Each entry in the register is a one-line entry only.
8. Recommendations for pardons, 1826-56
This index includes recommendations for both Absolute and Conditional Pardons. It covers 6 May 1826-30 June 1856.
We plan to add further convict indexes to this database as they are completed. So, over time there will be even more names to check.
A simple search tool
In a single search you can build up a history of your convict's 'career' in the colony and order copies of the records. Search the entire database at once, or, if you prefer, you can limit your search to a single index (listed above).
See the example below for Benjamin Green per Henry Porcher, 1835
There is a photocopy service available from this Index. You will see an 'Add to Cart' tickbox option on the search results page(s).
Applications to Marry, 1825-51
These registers record key details about the parties applying for permission to marry including: their names; their ages; the date of permission or refusal; ship of arrival; sentence (for the party who was the convict); whether free or bond and the name of the clergyman.
Indexed so far: January 1826 - April 1833 [4/4508]
Online copy service available = $1.50 per entry + Admin Fee + Postage
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Convict Exiles, 1849-50
Transportation to NSW effectively ceased in 1842 but between 1846-50 exiles were transported. Exiles had served part of their sentence in a penitentiary in Britain and were granted a conditional pardon or ticket of leave on arrival in the Colony.
Copies are not available from this index.
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Tasmanian convicts, 1804-53
Available at the
An index of all convicts transported to Tasmania and those who were convicted (through the convict system) in the colony, from the beginning of transportation in 1804 until 1853 when transportation ceased. The latest entry in the database for the locally convicted convicts is 1893. About 76,000 people are indexed.
AP: Absolute Pardon
CCF: Colonial Certificate of Freedom
CF: Certificate of Freedom
CP: Conditional Pardon
fbs: free by servitude
RW: Royal Warrant (an Absolute Pardon granted by the Sovereign)
TEGL: Ticket of Exemption from Government Labour
TL: Ticket of Leave
VDL: Van Diemen's Land