Licences of Parole for Female Convicts 1853-1887

Licences of Parole for Female Convicts, 1853-1887. Gosh it’s hard to keep us with everything that is put onto the internet these days and it is easy to miss something. Today I was browsing the Ancestry Card Catalogue and found that sometime in 2010 Ancestry had put online a dataset of Licences of Parole for Female Convicts, 1853-1887.

This dataset contains the documents generated by the issuing of parole to female convicts. By being given parole the convicts were allowed to be ‘at large’, but if the authorities decided there was good reason the parole could be rescinded and the convict recalled to prison. The dataset contains some of these documents.

The records can be searched by

  • Year of the licence
  • Name
  • Estimated birth year
  • Court and year of conviction

The information that can be found varies, but can include next of kin, religion, literacy, physical description, a medical history, marital status, number of children, age, occupation, crime, sentence, dates and places of confinement, reports on behaviour while in prison, letters or notes from the convict, and (from 1871 forward) a photograph.

I did a search for Pottinger and found just one entry, the set of records for Elizabeth was 8 pages long and the information given was

Date of licence Name Age
Status Children Crime
Where and when convicted Sentence Which prison held
Literacy Occupation Next of kin
Health Previous criminal record if any Conduct
Description Conditions of parole

Elizabeth was sentenced to 3 years for fraud and was released on parole 13 days before the end of her sentence. One can only assume that they needed her bed !!

Even if you don’t have any female convicts on your family tree do go and look at some of these documents, they are just wonderful.




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