England & Wales Criminal Records 1791 – 1892 online


Ancestry latest offering online is the England & Wales Criminal Records 1791 – 1892. A valuable collection for those of us with criminal ancestors and that would probably include all of us. This data set is a great help in identifying family who were transported to Australia and settled there once their term of imprisonment was completed.

Criminal Registers

The Press release from Ancestry states…………………..

The England & Wales Criminal Registers, 1791-1892– taken from 279 original paper volumes held at The National Archivesin Kew – document trials and sentences for crimes ranging from petty theft and fraud to the use of bad language and scrumping (stealing apples from orchards).

Each register includes details of the crime, the full name and date of birth of the accused, the location of the trial and the judgment passed. During this period, almost two in three tried for their crimes received sentences of imprisonment and almost one in 10 were either transported overseas or sentenced to death.

In total, the England & Wales Criminal Registers, 1791-1892 documents:

     900,000 sentences of imprisonment – 65% of those who went to trial during this time ended up serving a prison sentence

     97,000 transportations – many criminals who received death sentences had their sentence commuted to transportation as judges became increasingly ‘lenient’

     10,300 executions – including a boy aged just 14.

The collection also documents the brutal period of English history infamously known as the ‘Bloody Code’ – so called due to the large number of crimes made punishable by death as the authorities sought to deter potential offenders.  Famous names in the collection include Jack the Ripper suspect Dr Neill Cream, the inept highwayman George Lyon and Queen Victoria’s ‘would be’ assassin Roderick McLean.



  1. Hi.
    I am looking for information on Isaac Coote who was convicted on 15 March 1832 and subsequently transported to Australia. I am hoping to find his family details,dob etc, and a transcript of his trial, if it still exists.
    I hope you can help

  2. Hi Ross

    If you look at the “Categories List” on the right hand side of my website and then click on Crime & Punishment you will find many websites that might help you with your ancestor Isaac Coote. I see from a quick look on the Ancestry website (if you wish to try a 14 day free trial of Ancestry – click on the link on the left hand side of my website) that Isaac Coote was tried in the 1832 Lent Assizes at Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. He was found guilty of House Breaking and was sentenced to death which was then converted to transported for life. Interestingly there was a Joseph Coote at the same assizes who was found guilty of sheep stealing, sentenced to death which was commuted to transported for life.
    If you would like me to undertake further research for you at an affordable hourly rate please email me at [email protected].
    Best wishes

  3. Ray Roney Mildura Victoria says:

    Ann Roney aged 9 B . abt. 1831 Kent
    12 Oct 1840 imprisoned … for….?…………Family members?…………

  4. Hi Ray
    The Criminal registers show
    Ann Roney, 9 years old, Dover, Kent Borough Sessions 12 October 1840, charged with Larceny, sentenced to 3 months.
    Can only find 2 Roney’s in Kent in the 1841 census, but neither were Ann.
    Hope some other readers of Madabout can help.

  5. I have been researching my ancestry on and off for quite a few years now.
    I have gathered up as much information from living relatives and have just recently discovered that my paternal grandmother went to prison. She was born in 1909 and the story goes that she assaulted a man, possibly in the Farnham, Surrey, UK are. The story goes that she was quite young, possibly 18+.
    I understand access for criminal records are available up 1892, is there another way of finding out details of later convictions?
    I look forward to your reply.

  6. I have a Robert Bird, Summer trial 1821, acquitted in Somerset, then imprisoned 1829,1832,19 Oct 1852,18 March 1856 and again acqutitted 31 Dec 1867. How can I find out his crimes and sentences? Thank you. Rae

  7. Keith Bryce says:

    Hi, I am looking at a Henry Grainge aged 16 in 1837 tried and imprisoned Middlesex, London.

  8. Best of luck with the blog, I enjoyed finding your post today.

  9. Best of luck with the blog, I enjoyed finding your post today.

  10. dale warren says:

    hi, have recently seen your entry re Henry Grainge and another that i,ve seen recently about matilda Grainge.
    i dont know anything about the Henry, but Matilda is my ancestor, her son Joseph is my link a child of Robert Clarke, Joseph,s son Harry was my gt grandfather.
    Matilda was married to a Henry Grainge between 1820 – 1827, as they appear in the Blythburgh workhouse register i think in 1827 (this is all information remembered when i was researching around 1989) Henry appears to have run away and left Matilda in work house, their son Henry and another i think James also in workhouse and i think jJames died and the son Henry also went with his father???. Matilda stayed in Suffolk at least untill 1851? then i can find no trace of her.
    birth,s of her later children maiden name given as Tabbs OR Ablett. dont know how you are connected would be very interested to know if a family connection. Dale.

  11. Superb posting! I fully agree along with you.

  12. Hi Linda – just seeking (from Australia) the trial of Thomas (H)adaway, convicted I think on the 18 July 1836 (Buckinghamshire) and subsequently sent to Australia, arriving 1837.

    Thank you

  13. Allyson Todorovic says:

    Hi Shary

    I am only just starting to try and collate some sort of family tree. My mother’s maiden name was Burles, her dad was Raymond John Burles and his dad was John Burles and his dad is your great great grandfather John Burles. He is therefore my great great grandfather as well.

    I have only been able to go back as far as John and assumed he had also been a convict and had come from England. What line of the family do you come from?


    • Hi Allyson its been awhile since I have been on this site and I am so happy to find someone has answered mymessage I would like to find out who your mum was because there is only 2 females I am so excited to know can you send me an email and i can help you with some information so keen to hear from you by the way i am from the line of john Burles Raymond John burles was my grandfather.

      Regards Shary

  14. Ron Evans says:

    Looking for information on Joseph Hollis age 21 birth abt 1823 trial Apr 11 1844 Northamptonshire, England, sentence Imprisonment.

  15. RUSS EAVES says:


    Looking for information please…

    Name: John Punter
    Age: 30
    Estimated Birth Year: abt 1805
    Date of Trial: 30 Jun 1835
    Trial Year: 1835
    Location of Trial: Wiltshire, England
    Sentence: Imprisonment

    Many Thanks

  16. Name: Samuel L. Knowles
    Birth: 15 Jan 1797 Nottinghamshire, England
    Death: 15 Feb 1887 Pontotoc, MS
    Date of Trial: Oct 1829
    Trial Year: 1829
    Location of Trial: Nottinghamshire, England
    Sentence: Transportation

    Can any give me some information on what his crime was and what his sentence was. Thank you very much if you are able to help.

  17. russell wight says:

    William Barker is listed in the England and Wales Criminal Register 1791-1892 on 24 FEB 1838 at Lancashire England.
    Are you able to advise me of his birth date and birth place etc.
    Also what was the crime committed and sentence imposed.
    Russell Wight

  18. Genevieve says:

    Hello Linda,

    I have found the record for my 5X great grandfather’s trial (in Kent, England) and imprisonment (sentenced to 6 months). I’m trying to figure out what he was charged with, but I can’t decipher what the record says under “crimes.” It looks like a fancy “D” with a dot to the right of it. Do you know what this means?

    Here is the record I’m looking at (from ancestry.com): http://interactive.ancestry.com/1590/31251_A006013-00274/1082065?backurl=http%3a%2f%2ftrees.ancestry.com%2ftree%2f29424203%2fperson%2f13909043028%2fhintlist%2fpending%3fpg%3d32799%26msg%3dntm%26msgParams%3d%257c1%257c1%257c%26mpid%3d13909043028%26shid%3d14451309206%26nec%3d1%26mdbid%3d1590%26mrpid%3d1082065&ssrc=&backlabel=ReturnToTree

    • Hi Genevieve,
      The fancy “D” is a shortened version of ditto meaning the same as the above. All the people on this page have been charged with Larceny which is theft.

  19. I am trying to decipher a court decision for Kent criminal registers 1843 for Benjamin Featherby and Wiliiam Baker for assault on officier. It says removed to……??????
    Can do a cut and paste to you if I have your email. I saw it via ancestry.
    Can you help?
    Many thanks

    • Hi Brenda,
      Sorry for the delay in replying to you, a family illness and a move from one side of the world to the other has rather taken up my time and attention. I am now based in Kent so would be pleased to help you.
      I have looked at the entry and it states “Removed by Certiorari to 2.B. (and the possible a J)

      Wikipedia has an explanation for Certiorari Which is quite complicated, but sounds as if the case was handed to a higher court. I note that Benjamin was charged with assaulting a Customs Officer which would have been a serious matter.

      A search in the newspaper archives on FindMyPast shows that Benjamin was tried by the Lord Chief Justice and a special jury on 13 March 1844 in the Spring Assizes. There is a lengthy article about the trial and Benjamin was found guilty of common assault. It will be well worth you looking up the article which appeared in the Morning Post of 14 March 1844. If you wish to subscribe to Find My Past click on the advert to the right of the front page of MadAboutGenealogy or if you prefer you can inquire if your local library has a subscription.

      Happy genealogy hunting,

Speak Your Mind