Convict, prison and court records can provide rich, if sometimes disturbing evidence, of the lives led by past ancestors. This unit will draw upon the expertise of leading historians of crime, the law and convict transportation to help you navigate and piece together stories from the vast records of our criminal justice system.

The “Convict Ancestors” course is a FREE online course held by the University of Tasmanian (UTAS). This course runs from Monday 24th April 2017 through until Friday 16th June 2017, and includes a two week break.

The last date to register for this course is Friday, 21 April 2017.

Convict Ancestors will use the wealth of expertise in convict history at the University of Tasmania to walk students through Australia’s UNESCO-listed convict archive. It will include important information on how to read and interpret convict records as well as a host of tips for making sense of trial records and information gleaned from other judicial and penal series. This unit is a must for anyone interested in the nation’s convict past.

On completion of the course you will be:
– Familiar with the wide range of historic records available to locate individual convicts transported to the Australian penal colonies and to trace their life course experiences.
– Able to read, transcribe, and understand key material presented within convict records.
– Able to situate the experiences of individual convicts within a relevant wider context and convey this information to a wider audience.

And once completed, the opportunity exists to undertake further units within the Diploma of Family History.

For further information and register, visit the UTAS website:, and to keep up with the latest courses follow the Family History UTAS Facebook page.