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Transportation Registers

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When a transportation sentence was handed down at a court sitting held at the local assizes or quarter sessions, the clerk of the crown in each county was required to furnish details to the government authorities in Dublin Castle, so that arrangements could be made to convey the convict to the port for embarkation on the next available vessel. When the details were received they were entered into registers by clerks in the Convict Department.

These details recorded include the convict's name, age, date of conviction, term of transportation, crime, name of trial judge and name of sessions or assizes where tried. The registers also have a remarks column usually indicating the name of the ship on which the convict sailed and the date of sailing, whether the convict was discharged or pardoned, or if the convict died before embarkation.

From about 1848, probably due to the increase in numbers receiving such sentences, there is a deterioration in the standard of compilation of the entries in the registers and of the level of detail given, particularly with respect to recording the eventual fate of the convict.

They therefore cannot, in this later period, apart from verifying that an individual received a transportation sentence, be cited as proof of transportation. The registers originally spanned the entire period the system was in operation, but those covering the years 1790 to 1835 were destroyed in the fire at the Public Record Office in the Four Courts in 1922.

There is approximately one volume for each year, with details of males entered to the front of the volume and females at the back. Entries are arranged under counties and principal cities. The volumes can be consulted on microfilm in the Reading Room.

To call up a volume on microfilm in this series for consultation in the Reading Room, the reader must prefix the reference number of the volume with the letters GPO TR. When citing volumes from this series in theses or publications, the author must prefix the reference number with the letters NAI, GPO TR.

The volumes, reference numbers and microfilm roll numbers are as follows:

  • GPO TR 1 1836

  • GPO TR 2 1837-1838

  • GPO TR 3 1839-1840

  • GPO TR 4 1841-1842

  • GPO TR 5 1843-1845

  • GPO TR 6 1845-1847

  • GPO TR 7 1847-1848

  • GPO TR 8 1848-1849

  • GPO TR 9 1849

  • GPO TR 10 1850

  • GPO TR 11 1851

  • GPO TR 12 1852

  • GPO TR 13 1853-1854

  • GPO TR 14 1855-1856

  • GPO TR 15 1857

  • Irish Archives

    The following pages are an online version of the article, Sources in the National Archives for research into the transportation of Irish convicts to Australia (1791-1853) by Rena Lohan. The complete printed version with illustrative examples of the document types mentioned, appears in Irish Archives, the Journal of the Irish Society for Archives, Spring 1996.

    A large amount of related material may also be found in Sources in the National Archives for researching the Great Famine