Founders and Survivors
Founders & Survivors is a partnership between historians, genealogists, demographers and population health researchers.
Founders and Survivors seeks to record and study the founding population of 73,000 men women and children who were transported to Tasmania. Many survived their convict experience and went on to help build a new society.
The records created of our convict founders are the most detailed descriptions of the bodies and lives of men, women and children created anywhere in the world in the 19th century. No other settler society has such a record of their founders' heights, eye colour, literacy, skills, family history, problems and temperament.
Why only Tasmanian Convicts?
We are looking only for convicts transported to Tasmania because the Tasmanian records are better than those that have survived in New South Wales. In NSW, many of the conduct records were destroyed and the penal system in Tasmania, particularly with the introduction of the probation system from 1840 to 1852, produced astonishingly detailed records of convicts' behaviour and experience.
We also have many more medical records for Tasmanian convicts and Tasmania and Victoria were more advanced than NSW in the recording of births, deaths and marriages. We hope that others will take up the challenge of the NSW and Western Australia stories in the future.
To do all this, we need you.
Many former convicts had to change their name so they could build a new life. In very many cases, convict ancestors can only discovered by working backwards through a family history. Therefore much of the history of Australia's convict founders is hidden in family histories and we are appealing to family historians and genealogists to help us, just as have similar population history projects in England, Sweden, Quebec and the Netherlands. (see Links)
We welcome volunteer researchers and invite you to become registered volunteers of Founders & Survivors: please contact us.
Please note: Founders and Survivors cannot provide genealogical assistance: please contact your local genealogical or family history society to further your research.
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