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Greetings from Australia!

I am researching my 3x great-grandfather who was transported as a convict to Australia in 1817.

Peter Gilligan was convicted in July 1817 for stealing potatoes, and was sentanced to 7 years transportation to New South Wales, Australia. He was married to Mary Birmingham about 1815, and had a daughter Ellen born about 1816 in Kildare.

The story passed down through his descendants is that he was convicted of stealing his own potatoes. I presume by this, that he must have been a tenant farmer evicted from his plot, and went back to 'get' some of his crop. Perhaps after Mary had Ellen, she was unable to work, and their income was less. As he was a Catholic, I presume he was renting, as Catholics were not permitted to own land at that time were they?

My questions are:

- Were there evictions during 1817 in Kildare?

- Were Catholics permitted to own land in Kildare in 1817?

- What were living conditions like in Kildare around 1817 for married farm labourers? 

- Have any records survived regarding court convictions in Kildare in 1817?

- Are there any books or websites (besides Wikipedia) that I can access to gain more knowledge on these topics? 

The good news is that in 1827 the New South Wales Government paid the passage for Mary and Ellen to come to Australia and be reunited with Peter. They owned land and cattle, and were given convict labourers to assist them on their 80 acre farm here. Peter and Ellen went on to have more children. I am descended from Ellen.

Hope you can assist.





Maureen Joyce

Monday 31st May 2021, 01:23AM

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