Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Founders & Survivors - Vandemonians on the Victorian Goldfields

I just received the latest copy of the Founders & Survivors April newsletter "Chainletter". This issue of their newsletter looks at Vandemonians on the Victorian Goldfields, a Vandemonian being a convict who was transported to Van Diemen's Land and who then made his (or her) way legally or otherwise to the goldfields of Victoria.
My great grandfather Henry Tissett (Tissott) was one such convict. When he was 13 he was sentenced to death for cattle stealing, the sentence later being commuted to transportation for life in Van Diemen's Land. He eventually made his way to the Victorian goldfields and spent the rest of his life there, mining, farming, and this and that.
Founders & Survivors is a partnership between historians, genealogists, demographers and population health researchers. It 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. They are concentrating on Tasmanian (Van Diemen's Land) convicts because the Tasmanian records are better and more extensive than those from the other colonies. Tasmanian convict records can be viewed online from Archives Office of Tasmania convict records online .
Now I have to add details of my 2 direct-line convicts to their database.
(1) Great Grandfather Henry Tissett (Isabella)
(2) Great Great Grandfather Robert Wells (Moffatt)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Indexing Summary - April (FamilySearch)

Over the years I have done indexing for both FamilySearch and FreeREG. FamilySearch should be very familiar to anyone doing family history research; FreeREG is probably less well known.

For anyone doing research in the United Kingdom, Parish Registers are essential for tracking down that elusive person who was Baptised, Married, or Buried before 1837 when official registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths commenced. This is where FreeREG shines. Not only does it contain parish register data pre-1837 but also some registers well into the 20th Century. The Dorset marriage registers I transcribed recently were from 1971.

If you subscribe to Ancestry with either a World or United Kingdom subscription you will be very familiar with FreeBMD. FreeREG is a sister site containing searchable parish register transcriptions while FreeCEN allows searching the UK census data. These sites, particularly FreeREG and FreeCEN are works-in-progress, and there are large gaps in the databases. Both sites need volunteers.

In April I didn't do any indexing for FreeREG but concentrated mostly on FamilySearch. This is what I managed to get done:
  • New Zealand Passenger Lists  1871-1915 Part 2A [605]
  • UK Bristol - Parish Registers 1837-1900 Part I [168]
  • UK Essex Parish Registers Part 1 [16]
  • UK Dorset Church of England Parish Records [638]
  • US Kansas 1930 Federal Census [50]
  • US Missouri 1930 Federal Census [50]
  • US New Hampshire 1930 Federal Census [50]
  • US New Jersey 1930 Federal Census [400]
  • US New York 1930 Federal Census [2350]
I try to do at least one batch a day from a high priority database (1930 US federal Census), one from Oceania (New Zealand Passenger Lists) and one from the United Kingdom (Parish Registers in this case). If I really can't read a batch I send it back for someone else with better eyes to handle. Once in a while there is a 1930 US Census page with totally abysmal handwriting and some of the UK Parish Registers are in an old font that I'm completely unable to translate.