Discover your ancestors in more than 515,000 records of criminals who passed through the justice system in England and Wales between 1770 and 1934. It's possible to chart your ancestors' progress through the justice system, from the crimes they committed and their sentencing to their punishment and release. You can also view records for victims of crime.
Each record comprises a transcript and black and white image from the original document.
The amount of information listed varies, but the transcript usually includes a combination of the following information about your ancestor:
• First name
• Last name
• Birth year
• Birth town
• Birth county
• Court county
• Sentence type
• Sentence duration
• Title information
• Session commencing month
• Session commencing day
Further details can often be seen in the image, which may be an image of the record or a black and white photograph of your ancestor. Additional details may include:
• Physical description (height, complexion, build, visage, eyes, hair)
• Character description
• Marital status
• Name of committing magistrate
• Name of judge
• Date of warrant
• Date of receipt into custody
• Previous convictions
The record set comprises almost 515, 195 records.
These records date from 1770 and 1934.
This record set includes the following records:
Admiralty: registers of convicts in prison hulks (TNA Ref: ADM 6)
These records comprise 17,644 prisoners for the period 1818-1831. They relate to convicts held in prison hulks Cumberland, Dolphin and Ganymede. Hulks were ships used as floating prisons, often when they were no longer fit for battle but were still afloat.
Central Criminal Court: after-trial calendars of prisoners (TNA Ref: CRIM 9)
These records comprise 175,835 prisoners for the period 1855-1931. The after-trial calendars provide information about prisoners from each trial calendar or session.
Home Office: calendar of prisoners (TNA Ref: HO 140)
These records include 301,359 people for the period 1868-1929. The records contain after trial calendars, which are lists of prisoners tried at assizes and quarter sessions.
Home Office: criminal petitions (TNA Ref: HO 17)
These records provide details of petitions for 16,309 people for the period 1817-1858. Convicted criminals, or their family and friends, made a petition when they wanted to revoke or reduce the sentence. Occasionally, the governors of convict prisons recommended prisoners for early release for good behavior.
Metropolitan Police: Criminal Record Office: habitual criminals' registers and miscellaneous papers (TNA Ref: MEPO 6)
These records contain details of 5,824 habitual drunkards for the period 1903-1914. These records include portraits and descriptions circulated weekly to licensed persons and secretaries of clubs. What makes these records particularly exciting is that there are usually two photographs per habitual drunkard: face on and profile.
Home Office and Prison Commission: prison records (TNA Ref: PCOM 2)
These records comprise 1,145 people covering the period 1880-1885. These records include photo albums of criminals, so in addition to details about your ancestor's conviction and prisoner number, you'll be able to view a photo of them.
Notable Crimes Some of the crimes recorded include: unlawfully concealing the birth of her infant child; stealing 2 tins milk, bovril; committing an act of gross indecency; stealing four fowls and two ducks; feloniously administering to Mary Jane Baker a certain noxious thing, to wit Savin, with intent to procure Miscarriage; standing indicted for feloniously Marrying Elizabeth Morland, his wife being alive; the abominable act of buggery; feloniously ravishing one Annie Wright; stealing growing apples. Sentencing was notably harsher in these records; for example, in 1830, spinner John Fletcher was sentenced to 14 years in the prison hulk Dolphin for “Stealing a Cheese.”