Woman of my Convictions

I found out last year that I have convict blood coursing through these law-abiding veins.

Birmingham Quarter Session Records book

Alice Ann WHITE was born in Victoria, Australia in 1860. Her parents names on the birth certificate left no clues that both her parents were actually freed convicts. The only reference to their previous life was that both of their birthplaces were recorded as Birmingham. Now, Birmingham’s a big place – George Allen WHITE and Elizabeth ALLEN are not unusual names, so I was unable to confidently identify my George and Elizabeth from the many others in the IGI.

After a bit of digging about and requests for information online, a helpful person contacted me to say they had located George and Elizabeth’s marriage in 1845 but it was actually in Tasmania! That’s pretty much where my research into this family stayed for some time.
To cut a very, long story short, I discovered that both had been transported to Australia for various thefts – George was convicted in Bedford 1834 and Elizabeth in Birmingham 1842.
I went to the Birmingham Central Library archives last week to do a bit more research into this.


I looked in the Quarter Session Records and found the record of Elizabeth’s sentence of transportation. I was surprised to see it also mentioned that she had been previously convicted of felony.
‘Oh, well’, I thought, ‘yet another mystery I may never know the answer to’.
However, when I photographed the index page, I noticed Elizabeth Allen listed again.
The entry stated that Elizabeth had been sentenced to three months hard labour for stealing a brooch and some earrings from Ann Rock.


She obviously didn’t learn her lesson – it was less than three months after her release when she stole a shawl from Michael Kelly and was transported to the colonies for 10 years.
‘Twas a hard life in them days…

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