Thursday, 14 January 2016

Discovering the less than honest side of family history ............ new online records

Now I have always maintained that searching out your family history should come with a Government Health warning.

All too often the rather fascinating exploration of your past comes up against the not so nice side of 19th and early 20th century history.

For most of us it will be the discovery that one or more of our family had recourse to the Workhouse, ended their lives tragically or found themselves up before the Magistrate.

In my case it was all of them and in that I won’t be alone.

My great grandmother gave birth to her last child in the Derby Workhouse and when she couldn’t cope bringing up four children under the age of ten the Poor Law Guardians stepped in and placed all of them in care, later finding them juvenile employment and in the case of our great uncle Roger dispatching him to Canada as a British Home Child.

Her brother committed suicide and she had one memorable drunken brush with the law on Canal Street in the early 1890s.

All of which is a lead into another new set of records which have just gone online with Ancestry.

These are the UK, Police Gazettes, 1812-1902, 1921-1927 which the contains printed publications used for communication between members of the police force in the United Kingdom between 1812 and 1927. There are gaps but there is information on wanted criminals, crimes committed as well as criminals apprehended criminals and missing persons.

They supplement Ancestry’s  Criminal Registers, for England and Wales which are a listing of individuals charged with crime including information about those charged their trial, and the sentence if they were convicted from 1791-1892.

And these registers have proved invaluable in researching not just family but anyone whose name bounces off the pages of newspaper accounts and stories.

At which point I should also point to Find my past which not only has data from England & Wales on Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935, as well as Prison registers and material from South Australia and Tasmania but some fascinating the Manchester Prison Registers 1847-1881.

So as Miss Marple might have said, here indeed is a bustle of stuff to unravel.

Picture; courtesy of

Picture; courtesy of

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