Covered in badges

Lock up your household goods and hold onto your valuables – I am descended from convicts.

Note the plural there:  convicts.

At last count, 14 of them.  Transported to Australia for crimes ranging from stealing hankies or clothing, right through to housebreaking and arson.

So…if there is any truth to the whole ‘inherited traits’ thingy, perhaps you should steer clear.

Or at the very least, avoid eye contact when our paths cross.

Just to be safe.

OK – I kid. Not about the number of convicts, but the whole ‘follow in their footsteps’ bit. I am one of the most law-abiding people I know. Come to think of it, perhaps our family trait is ‘rebellion’?

I have rebelled against crime, and now use my powers for good.

All I need is a cape.

I don’t mean to make light of it. I do really appreciate where I have come from, and am learning more and more about the lives (and times) of our ancestors. They were a pretty interesting bunch!

It is funny how times have changed. It wasn’t too long ago that discovering a convict in your family tree resulted in lowered voices and secrets kept.  These days it’s – thankfully – a different story. They are (mostly) wheeled out proudly, with crimes, records and tales compared.

They were amongst our original pioneers after-all.

I even remember watching an episode of the Australian version of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ where one of the celebs (Jack Thompson, I think) said that being descended from a convict was a badge of honour.  Australian Royalty, if you will.

I must admit I quite liked the ‘badge of honour’ part. It also made me wonder if it would be nice to be descended from ‘actual’ royalty.

Possibly.

I would no doubt rock a tiara, look fetching in jewels, and I do quite fancy the idea of swanning about in a castle.

But the thing is – I’m actually a bit proud to have found these people. Like many at that time, they survived hardship and adversity, had bucket loads of resilience, served their time, and built their lives. They raised their families in an at-times unforgiving place; often leaving loved ones at home, never to be heard from again.

Times were tough for many, but they survived. Some a little blemished (and returning to crime), some just quietly going about their business, and some doing really well and prospering in their new ‘home’.

So…I kinda love my little family of ‘criminals’, warts and all (and there are a few). Discovering their stories has been just wonderful.

 

And let’s face it; if it really is a badge of honour, it’s fair to say that I’m covered in them…

…and that will do just fine.

 

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