Thanks to Twitter yesterday I came across what I believe will be an invaluable website to anyone tracing their convict ancestors who were transported to Tasmania.
Founders and Survivors aims, and I quote here from the website, "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 website would like family historians to input known details of their convict ancestors, families and descendants on to the database and is also after volunteers for the, as far as I'm concerned, very enviable job of going through the original records to find out what happened to the convicts once they'd left the system.
Having a convict ancestor myself, my three times great grandfather Joseph Cullip, albeit one who managed to return to England after serving his time, I was keen to see whether he was listed on their database. He is! Which I was overjoyed to see. And I'll be sure to add some more details to the record that exists for him. I searched for him by simply inputting his surname, and was amazed to come across two more people who shared derivatives of the Cullip surname, one of whom is a very likely candidate for being an ancestor of mine. He comes from the right part of Bedfordshire so I'll be conducting some further investigation into him and I have my fingers crossed that we're related.
This very interesting newspaper article from The Age gives further information on the project.
I'd highly recommend everyone with a convict ancestor who ended up in Tasmania to check this website out. I suspect it's going to prove incredibly important for all family historians.