Published in November 1996 issue of Prospect Magazine
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if like me you have Irish ancestry, I have potentially embarrassing news. Someone has kindly put on the internet, for the whole world to inspect, all the records relating to the transportation of convicts from Ireland to Australia between 1791 and 1853. Thoughtfully (not) the nosey-parker archivists have included a little search engine to enable you to specify a particular part of Ireland and link it to the family name you are interested in. On my mother’s side we are Cassidys and Murrays, respectively from Counties Leitrim and Cavan. And oh dear, oh dear! There we are. Two Cassidys and four Murrays. Of course they may not be kin of mine, but equally they might be. Mercifully the means by which my lineage could be definitively traced, the parish records, are not yet on the net-it can only be a matter of time.