Friday, September 16, 2011

Married Men Transported to Australia

Further to the posting Hill, Transported to Australia, 1837, David has checked the Tasmanian records, but they only say that he was ineligible to have his wife brought out from England, and there is not information as to whether the unexplained baptism of Faith Ells at Hemel Hempstead in 1840 (original documents not yet checked) is relevant. In fact a further investigation revealed yet another case where variations in spelling in the indexes (and possibly the original records) can lead to confusion and FELLS, Harpenden, circa 1840 provides evidence that Faith/Ruth Ells/Fell/Fells/Fitts is irrelevant to the main line of enquiry.

Interestingly David reports that there was a low level of requests for wives to come out to Australia and it would be interesting to know what percentage of men transported were married - and what percentage of married men made such applications? It may be that most of the convicts were unmarried and the Hertfordshire lower courts tended to be more lenient in sentencing married men with families because they were aware that the wife and children might end up as a charge on poor relief. In addition a wife with children might be a beneficial influence. Does anyone know if any such statistics (possibly for England as a whole) exists?

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