I'm loving the Diploma offered by the University of Tasmania. Another subject completed, and lots of information learned along the way. This article below was a submission for the final assessment in the Convict Ancestors subject. There were also two breakout articles, which I have left off the story. I might add them later as separate posts.
My 5x great-grandmother, Esther Salamon, was a formidable convict woman, who showed great strength and fortitude throughout her long life. After 482 days in London’s Newgate prison, a voyage of 5 months and 19 days, through at least four marriages and de facto partnerships, she established and ran successful businesses as a dealer, boarding house mistress, and bathing house proprietor in the colony of Sydney, as well as providing for her 16 children .
The Old Bailey Sessions House 1790, John Ellis, Corporation of London Libraries and Guildhall Art Library
Copy of Old Bailey transcription of Esther Spencer’s trial 19 July 1794 http://www.londonlives.org/browse.jsp?id=t17940716-64-defend646&div=t17940716-64#highlight
This example is A Continuation of the names of the several Prisoners Confined in Newgate on the 28th Septr 1794. Here she is described as “19. 5/4 dark hair dark Eyes dark Complexion London Jewess Marr'd”. These descriptors are almost verbatim from the Home Office: Criminal Registers, Middlesex and Home Office: Criminal Registers, England and Wales  which was compiled at the end of July 1794 and can be found on www.Ancestry.com. One can assume that the list in this image was drawn up from the Home Office’s July Sessions for Middlesex document. If any of these details were incorrect in the original document, they are likely to remain incorrect on all subsequent documents, as Esther was illiterate. It is unknown whether she would have been a party to the writing of the entries other than verbally responding to questions about her age and marital status, etc. This can make searching for other records more difficult, as we may be looking for a red herring. For example, if Esther wasn’t indeed aged 19 at this time we are unlikely to find a baptism record for her around 1775.
From these records it seems that Esther appears to have been classed as “Free By Servitude” by August 1806, as indicated in the NSW General Muster. This ties in with information from the State Records of New South Wales website on Pardons: “Convicts with life sentences generally received pardons. In the formative years of the colony the Governor possessed the discretion to grant free pardons and conditional pardons as rewards for good behaviour, for special skills or for undertaking special responsibilities. Governor Macquarie introduced new regulations setting minimum periods to be served for both pardons and tickets of leave.”  No record of a Ticket of Leave or Conditional Pardon have ever been found for Esther, so it is assumed that her pardon was one of these indulgences by Governor Macquarie.
 “"Convict Records — State Records NSW". 2016. www.records.nsw.gov.au . Accessed June 11 2016. http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/state-archives/research-topics/convicts/convicts#pardons-conditional-and-absolute.