Convicts, Names of Interest, The Lives of the Tree

George Brand: A Convict Success Story – Part 2

George Brand and His Crimes

In 1851 George again found himself before the courts for theft.  A total of seven charges were put to him of numerous thefts from goods trains and trucks.1  At the time of these charges his occupation was listed as a potato dealer so it would seem that he used his prior knowledge from working for the Scottish Railway Company as a porter to continue his offending after his first conviction.1 His offending was carried over a distance from Glasgow through to Edinburgh along the railways.1 Some of these charges he plead guilty to and some he denied.  See the below summary of the charges:2

Click here to see George Brand – Summary of Charges

The map below shows the Stirlingshire area and how the railway line intersects these areas.  Compare this map to the Summary of Charges and his three declarations you can see how the areas that George committed his crimes – Alloa Junction at Powis Woods; Bonnybridge; Greenhill Junction, Falkirk; Stirling.

The Caledonian Railway of 1847 met the Scottish Central Railway at Greenhill


As can be seen, by the Summary of Charges his offences were quite prolific and as such the records of the court case, held in the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh, run to 574 pages which consists mostly of evidence collected by John Gair, Procurator Fiscal of Falkirk.1,2  The indictments are against George Brand, William Murphy, Alexander Burt, George Donnelly, Samuel Rea and Joseph Donnelly, whom he was often listed with as a co-conspirator. 1  There were numerous items stolen from a multitude of businesses.  George provided three declarations for this second time of offending and on his first and second declarations denied all charges, however on his third he made admissions to a number of the charges and accepted his guilt.1  An example of this can be seen below pages of part of the documents where he firstly claims to have bought the cheese but later admits to stealing the cheese.






















Ultimately George was sentenced on 1 March 1852 to 14 years transportation for theft in the Court of Justiciary, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland, ironically to his birthplace’s namesake on the other side of the world – Perth, Western Australia.3,4,5 Prior to his transportation, George was moved around a number of different prisons.


George Brand: A Convict Success Story – Part 1

George Brand: A Convict Success Story – Part 3

George Brand: A Convict Success Story – Part 4

George Brand: A Convict Success Story – Part 5


Do you have a convict ancestor?  Click on the below image to start searching for your convict ancestors at Findmypast today.



Image Credit: The Caledonian Railway of 1847 met the Scottish Central Railway at Greenhill. This remained the boundary between the Northern and Southern Divisions of the Company up until the Grouping in 1923. Accessed 18 June 2016.

1. National Records of Scotland. Source Information: Country Code: GB, Repository code: 234, Reference: JC26/1852/398. Accessed 15 May 2016.
2. ‘Summary of the charges’, undertaken by Diane Baptise, Researcher in Archives, Portobello, Edinburgh, Scotland.
3. Erickson, Rica. The Brand on his Coat: Biographies of some Western Australian Convicts. Nedlands: University of Western Australia Press, 1983.
4. ‘Convict Database’. Accessed 16 May 2016.
5. Australian Convict Transportation Registers – Other Fleets & Ships, 1791-1868 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007. Source Citation Class: HO 11; Piece: 18. Source Information Original data: Home Office: Convict Transportation Registers; (The National Archives Microfilm Publication HO11); The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England. Accessed 16 May 2016.

6 thoughts on “George Brand: A Convict Success Story – Part 2

  1. This is so cool! So George Brand is someone that you are related too? How did you get all of this information?

    It is so interesting to read stories from the past. It is amazing that he collected so many charges in such a short time. Even his occupation sounds a little bit shady (potato dealer?)

    I look forward to hearing more about your family’s story and learning how to find mine!

    1. Hello I am so glad you enjoyed reading about George.  He was my great, great, great grandfather and I am proud to have him as my ancestor.  Have you read the rest of the instalments to find out what happened to him in the end?  It is a very interesting read.  For someone who was in such big trouble with the law back in Scotland he managed to turn his life around.  I have been undertaking genealogical research for over 20 years and last year decided to undertake a Diploma of Family History.  I learned so much about finding documents for convicts and found all this information about him.  This George Brand: A Convict Success Story was an assignment I wrote.  Please take a further look around my site for more great stories about my family and information on starting your own history.  



  2. What an interesting story! it goes to show that with hard work, patience, and a never give up attitude, one can accomplish much. Poor George then dies at what we would think as a young age. However, for that time, being in one’s fifties, would be todays seventies? I can see why you are proud of this ancestor and have placed his story prominantly in your Blog. Well done 🙂

    1. Thank you Madeleine.  I’m glad you enjoyed it.  It’s amazing the resilience our ancestors had and you’re right he would have been an old man in his fifties.  No electricity, no cars, no mechanical equipment – just hard work and dedication to build their lives.  We have it so easy in comparison.  Please come back again and enjoy more stories about my family.



    1. Hi Lane
      The punishments in previous centuries were much more brutal than they are today! However, in George’s case I believe it was the best thing for him and his family. They made a real go of the challenges that were thrown at them.

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