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.


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