Criminal records are family history’s guilty pleasure. They reveal your ancestors’ uncomfortable secrets and grisly tales. Plus, governments are keen to keep track of scoundrels, so they’re packed with detail.
Were your ancestors among the pirates that plagued the south coast in the 18th Century? Or did they support the Tolpuddle Martyrs in the fight for trade unions? Find out with these collections of Dorset criminal records.
Transportation Records reveal convicts who were sent overseas, while Prison Registers focus on those kept on our shores. And Calendars of Prisoners go right back to their trials, often including detailed accounts of their crimes.
Do your ancestors suddenly disappear from parish records around London? This collection may have the answer!
Middlesex, Convict Transportation Contracts, 1682–1787 reveals thousands of criminals who were sentenced to transportation, mainly to America and the Caribbean then later to Australia. It provides each convict’s name, their destination and the dates they travelled on.
Whether your ancestor was part of the Navy, or one of the criminals they were paid to transport, this collection can shed light on their life at sea. With tens of thousands of records from the diaries of ships’ medical officers, it reveals everything from scurvy to seasickness, along with contemporary healing techniques.
Most of the journals come from convict ships bound for Australia, but you’ll also come across vessels sailing within Europe and to the Caribbean. Each entry provides the patient’s name, age, rank or status, symptoms and how they were treated.
This mammoth collection is the number one resource for discovering your family’s black sheep. Whether your ancestors brawled in a bar or burnt down a village, their crimes will be detailed here.
The registers list more than half a million reprobates who were charged with any sort of crime all over the United Kingdom. They provide each offender’s name and age, the crime they were accused of, where and when they were tried, and even the verdict and sentence.
Visit your wayward forebears aboard the famous floating prisons of the 19th Century. The prison hulks sat on the Thames and in Plymouth Harbour and provided a temporary home for thousands of miscreants sentenced to transportation.
Find an ancestor among the 160,000 names here, and you’ll learn their age, offence, where and when they were convicted, plus how and when they left the hulk. After 1837, you’ll also discover the sentence they received, and details of their marital status, literacy and even their occupation.
In the 18th and 19th Centuries, more than 160,000 lawbreakers were sent to Britain’s latest penal colony — Australia. If your ancestors were among them, you’re almost certain to find them in our huge Transportation Registers collection.
The registers tell you where and when your forebears were convicted, the length of their sentence and where they were sent, plus the name of the ship and the date it left the UK. Most of the crimes aren’t too serious – you might find your relatives setting fire to trees, buying stolen goods or stealing fish from a pond!