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The Shakespeare Family History Site

Shakespeare Convicts

A number of Shakespeares were sentenced to transportation for their crimes. The earliest were two brothers from Coventry who were sent to America in 1769 for an as yet undetermined crime.

Further records are available for the following:

Name Born Date Notes
Elizabeth Shakespeare   1788 Trial 1

Trial 2

Punishment 1

Punishment 2

Further details on the history of the convict Elizabeth Shakespear, before and after her trial and transportation

Robert Shakespeare 1799, Warwick 1818  
Ferdinando Shakespeare   1839  
Benjamin Shakespeare 1825 1865 Brother of John
John Shakespeare 1835 1866 Brother of Benjamin

The source which led to the discovery of the last four convicts on the above lists came from 'Tickets of Leave' Butts listed by the Society of Australian Genealogists:

A Ticket of Leave is a permission to the individual to employ himself for his own benefit, and to acquire property, on condition of residing within the district therein specified; of presenting himself and producing his Ticket before the Magistrates at the periods prescribed by the regulations; and of attending Divine Worship weekly if performed within a reasonable distance. But he is not allowed to remove to another district without the express sanction of Government entered on the face of his Ticket; the Ticket itself is liable to be resumed at any time at the pleasure of the Governor; and, in that case, the individual reverts to the situation of a prisoner of the Crown in every respect.

Thanks are due to Malcolm Ward, who has carried out research on the Australian Shakespeare Convicts, and also to Mike Shakespeare, who made the original discovery of these individuals.