Getting Started

Researching your prison ancestors: an introductory guide

Have you found a prisoner in your family history or are interested in learning more about past punishments in your local community? Our new introductory guide can help you to source relevant records and trace those incarcerated in prisons between 1800 and 1914.

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Port Arthur penitentiary, Tasmania

Source guide for tracing your transported convict ancestor(s)

Find out how to trace your transported criminal ancestors with our detailed source guide.

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old photo of a police force

Tracing your police ancestors

Find out more about the sources available for tracing your police ancestors.

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Royal Courts of Justice in London

Where to find criminal justice system records

The main historic records of the criminal justice system can be found in the National Archives and local record offices. Learn more about these records.

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The convict licensing system

Following the implementation of the 1853 Penal Servitude Act, a new licensing system for convicts was introduced in Britain, where well-behaved prisoners could be released early. Many of our criminal ancestors would have been part of this new system.

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Court gavel

Assizes

The Assizes was a regional court circuit held twice-yearly, often dealing with more serious offences such as murder, rape and highway robbery.

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cover of the Hull and East Riding source guide

Source Guide for Hull and East Riding

Download our Hull and East Riding source guide to researching your criminal past.

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inside a reformatory school

Industrial and Reformatory School Registers

Industrial and Reformatory Schools registers contain a great deal of information about the criminal and destitute children who were sent to these institutions from the mid-nineteenth century until 1933.

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Hull Quarter Sessions gates

Quarter Sessions

Find out more about the Quarter sessions, which were local courts usually held four times a year in the seat of the county or county borough.

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Holloway prison

HMP Holloway: History and Sources

A history of Holloway prison, which was originally built as the New City of London Prison in 1852 and later re-designated to became the first female-only local prison in England.

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Latest Updates on Twitter

As my book ‘Trials of the Self: Murder, Mayhem and the Remaking of the Mind, 1750-1830’ is now out, a short thread on what’s in it! /1 https://manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/9781526153142/

2-36 Jamaica St, 1930
Gardner and Son's warehouse (no. 36, now Martin and Frost) is one of the most remarkable cast-iron warehouses of its date anywhere in Britain; built 1855-6 by John Baird I and using a structural system patented by R McConnel, ironfounder. Archive Ref:

‘The Openings’ Robin Hoods Bay. In Victorian times it was often called ‘Baytown, to distinguish it from the bay. In 1536 King Henry VIII’s topographer, John Leland, described the village as a ‘a fischer townelet of 20 bootes.' It was considered more important than Whitby

On 26th April 1867, the Hull whaler Diana returned to port after 353 days away, mostly spent trapped in ice in Frobisher Bay in the Arctic. 13 men died of scurvy and dysentery.  Captain  John Gravill is buried in Hull General Cemetery. 15,000 people attended his funeral.

Some fascinating figures in the doorway of this Holloway Penny Bazaar, 1914.

And an interesting reflection in the left hand window @sainsburyarch !

🇬🇩 I've been lucky enough to work in several archives in the Caribbean. They all have amazing staff doing great work on tiny budget, but this is worrying news from Grenada. Side note: Caribbean history is also British history (via @nowgrenada) https://www.nowgrenada.com/2021/04/video-dire-state-of-grenadas-national-archive-needs-urgent-attention/

Is this ghost like figure #SomethingScary or a trick of the light captured in this photograph of the billiard room at Carton House c. 1891? #Archive30

2

#MapMonday Station Road, #Belvedere on 1907 @OrdnanceSurvey #map and 1906 #photo showing the railway station in the background @LBofBexley @BelvedereForum @Se_Railway

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If you aren't using this website for your #WWI research then you are missing out. It's my No 1 go-to every single time I find a client's WWI ancestor. #Genealogy https://twitter.com/1418research/status/1386718002612215814