Between 1787 and 1812, 88 ships sailed for Australia carrying convicts sentenced to transportation. Between 1801 and 1812, another 44 ships carried convicts to Australia. Even though many different lists of transported convicts have survived, few actually identify all those who embarked, sailed, died, escaped, or disembarked in Australia.
So how do researchers know who actually came to Australia? And if different lists contain different trial or personal details or even ship of arrival for a transportee, how do researchers know which is more likely to be accurate?
Carol Baxter's Guide to Convict Transportation Lists Part 1: 1787-1800 and Part 2 1801-1812 were prepared while she was editing the convict indents database "Convicts to New South Wales 1787-1812", which was published on CD-ROM for the Society of Australian Genealogists in 2002.
These guides, however, have never previously been published. Both parts of this guide contain a ship-by-ship analysis of the surviving transportation lists as well as her conclusions regarding the preparation of the lists and the likely number of transportees on each vessel.
These are important resources for those interested in the early years of convict transportation to Australia.