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

The @howard_journal is 100 this year!

Articles from an international line-up of academics and practitioners will appear in a centenary issue, to be published next month.

Book your place and join us online on 14 October to hear from our panel of experts: https://howardleague.org/events/100-years-of-the-howard-journal-lessons-for-contemporary-penal-policy/

Very excited by our panel starting shortly on 'Family Limitation' for @Preg_Research: Fionnuala Walsh (@ucddublin) on unwanted pregnancies in early 20th C Ireland; @DelayCara on Irish criminal abortion 1900-50, and myself on infanticide in England & Wales during the Great War 🤩

The book chapter “The patient's view as history from below: evidence from the Victorian poor, 1834-71”, by Paul Carter and Steve King, is the latest published output from our @ahrcpress- funded @TheirWrite project. https://bit.ly/3C9axPK

As new drama #thenorthwater arrives on BBC Two, set against the brutal backdrop of a 19th-century whaling vessel, @kejamieson_ explains more about the whaling industry and the risks that hunting these ocean behemoths posed to sailors’ lives… https://bit.ly/2XhDCth

Just a little over two weeks now until my next book, Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Through Land Records, is published by @Penswordbooks - you can pre-order a copy at https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Tracing-Your-Irish-Ancestors-Through-Land-Records-Paperback/p/19283
I hope it helps! 😃
#genealogy #familyhistory #Ireland #NorthernIreland

Finally, our cover story" Jordanna Bailkin from @UW, on History in Practice; "reflects on the experience of writing a book about the history of #refugee camps in Britain during the global refugee crisis." https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14490854.2021.1956341

Amazing to get a chance to contribute to the @BritSocCrim newsletter in a cross-continental collab with the great @tcguiney discussing the @ANZHistCrim & #HCNet discussion series on historical criminology we helped lead in July!

Check it out here: https://www.britsoccrim.org/publications/bscnewsletters/

We are already looking forward to contributing to this very special event in such an important year for @TheHowardLeague

📣 We're excited to announce our first Zoom #event on 14th Sep!

This month's guest speaker is Steve Pearce. Steve has had a long #policing career in #Devon & #Cornwall and is our new Chair of Trustees.

Members: Free
Non-members: £5.50

For more info see https://bit.ly/38LflOQ