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Elizabeth Macginnis

Elizabeth Macginnis, one of 101 convicts transported on the Friendship, June 1817

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Elizabeth Macginnis
Aliases: Mcguinness, Maginnis
Gender: -

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1775
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 14th May, 1832
Age: 57 years

Life Span

Life span

Median life span was 61 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 14 years

Crime: Receiving stolen property
Convicted at: London Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: 14 years
Ship: Friendship
Departure date: June, 1817
Arrival date: 14th January, 1818
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 101 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 351 (177)
Source description: This record is one of the entries in the British convict transportation registers 1787-1867 database compiled by State Library of Queensland from British Home Office (HO) records which are available on microfilm as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project.

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Community Contributions

Frank Sandwell on 29th August, 2015 wrote:

The Old Bailey - Trial Number 206: - (Spelling as on the official records).

Daniel Maggannis and Eliza Maggannis were indited, for feloniously receiving on the 29th October 1816, twenty yards of woollen cloth, valued 18 pound. The goods of William Prosser, which Louisa Ellen, in his employ had stolen from his premises. She was held at the Goal Delivering of Newgate; holden for the county of Middlesex, on 4th December 1816, was convicted of stealing; they well knowing them to have been stolen.

‘...I William Prosser, live in Goswell Street. I had a servant of the name of Louisa Ellen, who was convicted of stealing cloth. I accompanied Vann, the officer, to the prisoner’s house, in Middle Street, Cloth Fair, on the 3rd 11.1816; the prisoner, Eliza Magginnis was at home; she had a handkerchief on her neck the same pattern as on one of Ellen’s gowns. I asked her what she had done with my blue superfine cloth, and did she have any? She at first said she knew nothing about it. The prisoner Thomas McGinnis was there: I told her I knew she had some, and that I had proof of it. She told me to search the premises. I found nothing. I asked her about the handkerchief. She said, it was a small remnant that she had bought in Field Lane. I told her she must go with us. She lives in a small room with a bed in it and sells greens; when I got her to the watch house, I confronted Ellen, who was in custody with her, Elizabeth said, she knew nothing about Ellen. Ellen said she was the woman who gave her 21 pounds, 10 shillings for the cloth.

Eliza Macgginis said, she had given her a gown at the time. Ellen said, that the prisoner, Thomas Macginnis was not present at the time. Cross-examined by Mr. Challenor, Ellen had stolen a great deal of cloth from me.

I Thomas Vann, am a constable. I accompanied the last witness to Macginnis’s house; we took them to the watch house. Eliza Macginnis denied any knowledge of Ellen; she keep’s a green stall. Ellen, said she had sold Macginnis the cloth. She must have heard her, Macginnis first denied it and afterward said Ellen had bought the cloth to her and she had paid her 50/- and gave the money to Ellen.

Cross-examined by Mr. Challenor’ Mr. Prosser spoke of the cloth and keyserside; Macginnis spoke of two parcels. The certificate of Lousia Ellen, being convicted of stealing twenty yards of cloth to the value of 39 shillings only, in the dwelling house of Mr. Prosser, was then read.

Benjamin Haydon. I am a servant to Mr. Prosser. On the 29/10 last I saw Ellen go out with a bundle, between seven and 8 o’clock in the morning, she said it was dirty clothes; she went towards Macgennis’s house.

Eliza Macgennis’s defence. I never had the cloth; I only knew the girl by seeing her pass my house.

ELIZA MACGINNIS - GUILTY - aged 42 years. Transported for 14 years, London Jury, before Mr. Common Sergeant.
Elizabeth McGinnis (41) was tried in 1816 at the Old Bailey, with her husband Daniel (40). The case against Daniel was dismissed. Elizabeth was, however found guilty. Elizabeth always denied she had received any stolen cloth. Elizabeth was held at Newgate to await transportation.
Sadly some little time after the Trial, Elizabeth’s husband Daniel passed away. He was still a relatively young man at 40. He may have been broken hearted at the loss of his wife, realising that fourteen years transportation to the Colony of New South Wales was the same as a death sentence. It is unknown what exactly caused his untimely death. Elizabeth now had two children to care for in the prison environment, they were young Thomas who was seven and his little sister Elizabeth who was just four years of age.
The Friendship sailed from England on 3rd July 1817. When the Friendship dropped anchor in Sydney Cove, Elizabeth attended her first Muster;
Elizabeth McGinnis. Home Office Criminal series, 1817 Newgate records at the January Session, Old Bailey 1816, Elizabeth McGinnis (41) together with her husband Daniel (40). Sentence to 14 years transportation. (Daniel not guilty-now deceased).
Both the Captain and the Surgeon kept detailed records of the voyage with regards to the behaviour not only of the female convicts, but also the crew and the passengers. These records were handed to the Governor when the Friendship arrived in Sydney Cove on 14th January 1818.
With regards to Elizabeth McGinnis (McGuiness’s), behaviour it was noted:-
`…can be very insolent, but a good mother and very humane…’.
Elizabeth had also been given the care of two orphan children, when their mother Martha Thatcher died not long into the voyage. Elizabeth was assigned to the enmancipist Simeon Lord as a house servant and served her time at his four story mansion “The Swan” which was situated on the corner of Bridge Street and Macquarie Place, the Tank Stream ran at the back of his property. Young Thomas Maginnis (later in the Colony McGuiness) stayed with his mother, however when young Elizabeth reach seven years, she was placed in the Female Orphanage at Parramatta, where she remained until she was sixteen. Her mother fought for years to secure the release of her daughter, until the time when she received a directive from the Colonial Secretary Goulburn commanding her to cease writing to him and to the Patroness of the Orphanage requested the child’s release and reminding her that Elizabeth was to stay in the institution until she either reached the age of 18 or was given permission to marry. However, young Thomas at the age of 18 had established himself as a Mercantant and lied about his age claiming he was 23, so he could obtain an liquor license which was granted. Once he had established himself at his business premises at the Carrier’s Arms Inn on the corner of King and Castlereagh Streets, he was able to have his sister Elizabeth at 16 released into his care. His mother Elizabeth was acting as a house keeper for her son at the Inn.
In 1832 both Elizabeth’s children married, Thomas to Sarah Blackman at St James C of E on corner of King and Macquarie Street, and Elizabeth married Richard Pearce on 9th January at the Scots Church Cnr Market and York Streets, Sydney by the Rev.John Dunmore Lang. Thomas and Elizabeth the younger’s mother, Elizabeth the Convict died on 14th May,1832 at the premises of her son-in-law The Horse and Coach Inn in Castlereagh Streets. (Elizabeth’s death certificate has the spelling of her name McGinnis. Her burial service was held at St Phillip’s C of E at Church Hill, the service performed by the Rev.William Cowper. She was buried at the Old Devonshire Street Cemetery, she was 50 years of age.

Medical Notes:

Sydney Morning Herald 16.05.1832:-

‘…… Mrs. McGinnis, the landlady of the Coach and Horses Inn, an old and respected inhabitant of this colony passed away’.

Death Notes:

She probably died between 12th and 13th of May at her son-in-laws hotel the Horse and Carriage Inn Castlereagh Street, Brickfield Hill.

Burial Notes:

Elizabeth Maginnis the convict’s burial service was held at St Phillip’s C of E on Grosvenor Street, Sydney (where the old St Phillips once stood in Lang Park, right opposite St Patrick’s R.C.Church) by the Rev William Cowper.

Elizabeth Maginnis the convict was also buried at Devonshire Street and on her headstone were the words ‘... a good wife and a loving mother’.

The next day after the burial in the Sydney Gazette appeared ‘...Mrs Elizabeth Mcginnis and old and respected resident of the town has passed away’.

SOURCE: Researchers Janice Nadin & Janice Doughty

Convict Changes History

Frank Sandwell on 29th August, 2015 made the following changes:

alias1: Mcguinness, alias2: Maginnis, date of birth: 1775 (prev. 0000), date of death: 14th May, 1832 (prev. 0000), crime

This record was discovered and printed on ConvictRecords.com.au