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Ethics and Privacy

All our research is conducted according to the ethics protocols of our universities, the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council. If you give us information, it can only be used for the database and not passed on to any third party, even another family member or government authority. The data is stored in confidential data storage along with the many databases held by the University of Melbourne and the Menzies Research Institute at the University of Tasmania.

The data is stored in two databases: one with names and contact details that can be accessed only by certified researchers under strict access conditions for the purposes of linking names and entering the core data.

The second database has every individual converted to a number and that is the data that can be used by researchers for population, medical and social analysis.

We cannot enter a convict’s name into the database until we have confirmed that they are the ‘right convict’. Once that is established, we will then contact you with a plain language statement and an approval form.

The Australian Research Council requires that publicly funded databases become national resources open to researchers outside the project team. Only what we call de-identified data, where numbers replace names, will be made available.

Privacy legislation in the Commonwealth and the States controls what researchers and family historians can do with information that comes from Birth, Death and Marriage records (BDM) and from government records.

As a public institution we are constrained by privacy legislation from publishing genealogies on the web; nor can we answer public genealogical inquiries. However, will endeavour to return to our donors any additional historical information we may find about their convicts and family history as far as 1920.

We are confining our research to the records that the various Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages have made publicly available, which in Victoria means births longer than a century before the present, marriages up to 1920 and Deaths up to 1985. These are searchable online (see Links) or through the CD ROMs published by Macbeth Genealogy Services.

War Service Records and other personal records are confined to those made publicly available by the National Archives of Australia, the Victorian Public Record Office, the Archives Office of Tasmania, the State Records of South Australia, the State Records Authority of New South Wales and the other state archives and libraries. See Links for the full list.

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