TheGenealogist adds 500,000 crime records
Both the accused and the victims included in latest data release
TheGenealogist has given its Court & Criminal Records collection a major boost with the addition of around 500,000 records relating to encounters with the law, whether the individual in question was a victim, acquitted, convicted of a minor offence or found guilty of a major crime such as murder.
The newly added data (some of which is also available at other sites) comes from two series held at The National Archives: • Home Office Criminal Registers, England and Wales (HO 77) • Registers of Convicts in Prison Hulks Cumberland, Dolphin and Ganymede (ADM 6). The fully searchable records can be combed for criminals, or people accused of crime, by name or alias, and by the type of offence. The site has also uniquely added the feature to search for more than 132,000 victims of these crimes. Original page images of the books and registers transcribed are also available.
The records cover a broad range of transgressions. In some cases they are as small as the theft of items such as shirts, boots or potatoes. There are also bigamous marriages, forgeries and counterfeiting, burglaries and murders. Judgements likewise vary greatly from fines, a short imprisonment in Newgate or a public whipping, to a longer spell in gaol, transportation or the ultimate sanction of death.
In one unusual case, 63-year- old Joseph Powell was imprisoned and whipped in 1814 for ‘pretending to tell future events’, under a law made during George II’s reign. Sometimes the records provide considerable detail. For example, on 6 July 1826 the highway robber James Smith was convicted at Bedford. The records show he was imprisoned in Bedford Gaol before being transferred to the prison hulk Dolphin 20 days later. The gaoler’s report further notes that the prisoner had been ‘indifferent before and after his trial’ and that he had been ‘several times in custody’. Smith was eventually transported for life on 17 September on the ship Albion.