Convicts, Names of Interest, The Lives of the Tree

All For a Loaf of Bread

Kalgoorlie Express, Western AustraliaOn the first of March 1852, my third great grandfather George Brand was sentenced by the Court of Justiciary, Edinburgh, Scotland to 14 years transportation for theft.

George lived in Larbert, Scotland with his wife Isabella and their four children. Life in rural Scotland would not have been easy, however, the opening of the Glasgow to Perth railway line in 1849 by The Scottish Railway Company would have been met with great anticipation.  The line went through Larbert and provide much needed, stable employment for the region.



I would imagine that George and Isabella were delighted when he was employed as a porter which provided a regular income in a reputable position.  However, George decided to steal from the very company that employed him.  I can only imagine how angry Isabella would have been to discover that George used this great opportunity for his family in such an untoward way.

Loaf of Bread, Australian Convicts, George Brand, Larbert, Stirlingshire


The family story told to me by my Grandmother, when she finally admitted she had known we had a convict in the family, was that he stole a loaf of bread.  The court records contain 574 pages listing a total of seven charges for theft from Glasgow to Edinburgh.  He stole many things but not a loaf of bread.  In his declarations to the crimes, there are listings of cloth, tartan, blankets, dresses, shawls, handkerchiefs, mohair, cheese, and rum among pages of items that he stole.  He would then sell these items to friends who owned pubs and grocery stores.   A far cry from a loaf of bread.





You can read George’s full story in my series George Brand, A convict success story.

Do you have a convict ancestor?  If you do, please tell me about them in the comments below.   If you don’t start searching today on Findmypast by clicking the image below.

12 thoughts on “All For a Loaf of Bread

  1. Wow this our great short stories, but also true. Sometimes people have to do what they can to get by. I believe he would have moved up if he would of stayed out of trouble.

    1. Hi Fred

      I wonder what possessed him to do this – he was lucky, he had a good job on the railways. However, whatever his motivation transportation to Australia was the making of him. The legacy that George, Isabella, and their children left in Australia is amazing. If you would like to read a much more in-depth study of George Brand you can do it in my 5-part series, here.


  2. I love this story. You have such a way with words and your writing. You make each character leap right off the page. It is also so fascinating how much information you are gathering on your family members. I know, from personal experience, just how difficult obtaining information is on our family members. Keep up the great work. I look forward to seeing more and more of your stories.


    1. Hi Yvette

      I’m glad you enjoyed this quick snippet into the life of George and Isabella. If you want to read a more in-depth account of George Brand you can read it in my 5-part series.


  3. HI Megan,

    Great read I like the history and background you provided and the way you put it all together. How things have changed from the 1800’s.

  4. What a wonderful story. I love your writing and how you took me back to the 1800’s. I wonder what possessed him to do this? You just never know the mind of another. Thank you for sharing your history with us, with such eloquent words.

    1. Hi Shelli

      I’ve wondered what made him do it. If he had stolen a loaf of bread to feed his family, I would have understood. However, he stole from his employer when he was in a good job. Why risk that stability? However, if he hadn’t then my family wouldn’t be who we are today.


  5. Very interesting charting your own family history. I commend you for publishing some history that is a bit more personal. I was definitely engrossed and would definitely read more. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Jacob

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I love talking and writing about my family history. If I don’t tell the story of my ancestors, I worry that they will never be heard so that’s why I write. I’m glad you enjoyed reading about one of the colourful characters in my ancestry.


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