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Thomas Simpson

Thomas Simpson, one of 200 convicts transported on the Fortune, November 1812

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Thomas Simpson
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1789
Occupation: Labourer
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 53 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Sheep-stealing
Convicted at: York County Assizes
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Fortune
Departure date: November, 1812
Arrival date: 11th June, 1813
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 199 other convicts


Primary source: Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia, Settler and Convict Lists, 1787-1834 [database on-line].
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

Iris Dunne on 3rd February, 2019 wrote:

Convicted 7 March 1812 in York, Yorkshire, England

Drowned on the voyage 1812-1813

George Simpson on same ship, convicted same day, probable relative

PM on 9th December, 2019 wrote:

The jenwilletts.com website must have something amiss with stating Thomas drowned on the voyage to Australia. This is because there are 2 records in the NSW State Archives recording that Thomas Simpson, convict on the Fortune 1813, was given a conditional pardon on 17 Aug 1825. Unless the man who drowned was someone else, or the pardon was posthumous.

https://records-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=INDEX335150&context=L&vid=61SRA&lang=en_US&search_scope=Everything&adaptor=Local Search Engine&tab=default_tab&query=any,contains,thomas simpson 1825&offset=0

https://records-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=INDEX335138&context=L&vid=61SRA&lang=en_US&search_scope=Everything&adaptor=Local Search Engine&tab=default_tab&query=any,contains,thomas simpson 1825&offset=0

Iris Dunne on 10th December, 2019 wrote:

Bound Indentures No.1730: Conviction 7 Mar. 1812 in York, Est. birth year abt.1789, Trade Lab. & Miller, aged 23, CP 104

Conditional Pardon No.104 dated 17 Aug. 1825, Trade Laborer, Year of Birth 1789, Ticket of Leave No.131/1730 now delivered up and Cancelled

* NSW Settler & Convict Lists 1787-1834, Male 1817 (HO10/8) show 2 Thomas Simpsons, both tried March 1812 in York, on same ship Fortune however Aust. Convict Transportation Register (HO11/2) only shows 1. (There was a George Simpson tried in York on 7 March 1812)

Maureen Withey on 11th February, 2020 wrote:

Thomas Simpson, and George Simpson, charged with stealing five ewes and three lambs, the property Joshua Jackson, of Brierley.  Manchester Mercury, 10 March 1812.

Thomas Simpson and George Simpson, for sheep-stealing, were severally found guilty, and received sentence of death. Nottingham Journal, 21 March 1812.

Colonial Secretary Index:
SIMPSON, Thomas. Per “Fortune”, 1813

1816 Jan 8 - Re permission to marry at Windsor (Reel 6004; 4/3494 p.310)

1820 Aug 16 - Constable. Re assignment to the office of the Colonial Secretary; appears as Sempson (Reel 6007; 4/3502 p.204)

1821 Sep 8 - On list of all persons victualled from H.M. Magazines; with his wife (Reel 6016; 4/5781 p.62)

1822 - Signatory to petition from the ordinary constables of Sydney complaining of the diminution of their rations (Reel 6055; 4/1760 p.43c)

1822 Dec 27-1825 Aug 30 - On pay lists of constables employed at Sydney (Reel 6029, 4/7016A pp.15-216, 4/7016B pp.7-208; Reel 6030, 4/7016D pp.23-387; Reel 6061, 4/1779 pp.154c, 163c & 4/1780 pp.190c, 207c, 222c)

1823 Mar - On list of constables in Sydney from Sep 1820 to Mar 1823 (Reel 6056; 4/1764 p.64)

1823 Mar 21 - Constable Office. On list of persons receiving an assigned convict (Fiche 3290; 4/4570D p.10)

1824 - On list of constables doing duty in Sydney & its environs requiring slop clothing (Reel 6017; 4/5782 p.95)

1824 May 22, Jun 4,11 - On lists of constables doing duty for the town of Sydney & its vicinity who are entitled to a weekly ration (Reel 6061; 4/1779 pp.97c, 119c, 140c)

1824 Dec 31 - On list of district & other constables doing duty in Sydney & its vicinity; sick in hospital (Reel 6063; 4/1784 p.314c)

1825 May 20 - Subordinate constable. Petition for mitigation of sentence (Fiche 3252; 4/1875 p.207)

1825 Jul-Aug - On lists of prisoners applying for emancipation (Fiche 3292; 4/6974.1 pp.6-24)

Maureen Withey on 31st July, 2020 wrote:

NSW 1828 Census Index.
George Simpson, age 33, A.P. per Fortune, 1813, life, protestant, Settler Airds district, holds total 124 acres, 110 cleared and 49 cultivated. Has 8 horses and 6 cattle.
Ann Simpson, age 23, Born in Colony.
Thomas, age 6, born in Colony, James age 4, B.C.
Anna, age 2, B.C.
Thomas Simpson, age 37, C.P. per Fortune 1813, Life.

Thomas is listed with the family of his brother George Simpson.

Maureen Withey on 31st July, 2020 wrote:

Public Notice.
THE undermentioned Persons have obtained Certificates, Conditional Pardons, or Tickets of Leave,
during the last Week:—
Fortune (2) ............. Thomas Simpson;
Sydney Gazette, 25 Aug 1825.

Liz Haddon on 10th June, 2021 wrote:

There were two people named Thomas Simpson on the Fortune - both sentenced to Life at York in 1812.  One of these men drowned - the other, the older brother of George Simpson on the same voyage landed in New South Wales.

Robin Sharkey on 5th September, 2021 wrote:


Regarding earlier comments about there being two men named Thomas Simpson on the ship “Fortune”:
There were NOT two men.
There was only one Thomas Simpson, the brother of George Simpson who were both tried at York in the sessions commencing 7 march 1812. Thomas and George wer both alive and well up to the 1828 Census.

Robin Sharkey on 5th September, 2021 wrote:

The British Archives Home Office reference “HO10/8, Male 1817” is used above as evidence of the existence of two Thomas Simpsons. [see information entered on 10th December 2019]. However,  HO10/18 cannot be used this way.

HO10/18 is an alphabetical list of particulars of all convicts as at 1817 which was recorded by clerks in the Colonial Secretary’s office by copying from original muster lists. These ‘particulars’ lists were prepared almost every year up to 1828. They have frequent inaccuracies due to transcription errors, whether from straight mistakes or sometimes laziness. They cannot be used in the same way as a primary record that would prove the existence or death of a particular convict.

The 1817 version is simply incorrect in repeating the transportation details for Thomas Simpson. It has, sloppily, created two of them for ship “Fortune”, both with Life, both tried in March 1812 at York, and recording a non-existent ‘occupation’ for one. 

Proof there is only one Thomas Simpson can be taken from the ship’s muster records.  The British Archives HO 11/2/373 is the muster for “Fortune” convict ship. At online image no 47, the convicts tried at York are listed — there is only one Thomas Simpson. [https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C3083364 click on “preview an image of this record” and go to image 47]

Back-up can also be found in newspaper reports of the criminal trials held at York in the Lent Sessions starting 7 March 1812. These refer to only ONE Thomas Simpson, and he was charged with the same crime as George Simpson (his brother). Here is a report, for example, of all those sentenced to death at York, with only one Thomas Simpson:

Stamford Mercury Friday 27 March 1812, p.3:
“Yorkshire Lent assizes. On Tuesday the judge, Sir Simon le Blanc, passed sentence on the following guilty prisoners:
“George Stones, John Williamson, John Armstrong, and James Leach, for horse-stealing.
“Thomas Simpson and George Simpson, for sheep-stealing.
“Wm Chester for attempting to murder George Oliver and his wife, and
“Robert Winter for stealing money.
“Before Sir Simon le Blanc left York, he was pleased to reprieve all the above prisoners, except William Chester, who is left for execution.”

Convict Changes History

Iris Dunne on 3rd February, 2019 made the following changes:

date of death: 1813 (prev. 0000), gender: m

Iris Dunne on 10th December, 2019 made the following changes:

source: State Archives NSW, Indentures (Series NRS 12188; Item 4/4004; Microfiche: 634)& Pardons (Reel No.774, Roll No.1250). Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 90 (prev. Australian Joint Copyin

Liz Haddon on 10th June, 2021 made the following changes:

source: Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia, Settler and Convict Lists, 1787-1834 [database on-line]. (prev. State Archives NSW, Indentures (Series NRS 12188; Item 4/4004; Microfiche: 634)& Pardons (Reel No.774, Roll No.1250). Australian Joint Copyin

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