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2.5 million criminal records to be published online for first time by Findmypast.co.uk

banner1 2.5 million criminal records to be published online for first time by Findmypast.co.uk

FIND ANY VILLAINS OR VICTIMS LURKING IN YOUR FAMILY HISTORY?

Else Churchill, Genealogist at the Society of Genealogists,  can be seen on Sky News on Wednesday 21 February (about 10.30ish) talking about the latest digital release of 2.5 million criminal records to be published online for first time by Findmypast.co.uk.

The biggest collection of historical criminal records from England and Wales is being published online for the first time by leading family history site findmypast.co.uk in association with The National Archives. Access to Findmypast and these records are available free at the Society of Genealogists.

Over 2.5 million records dating from 1770-1934 will be easily searchable and provide a wide variety of colour, detail and fascinating social history, chronicling the fate of criminals ranging from fraudsters, counterfeiters, thieves and murderers and their victims.

 

They contain mugshots, court documents, appeal letters, examples of early Edwardian ‘ASBOs’- where habitual drunks were banned from pubs and entertainment venues -and registers from the prison ‘hulk’ ships, which were used when mainland prisons were overcrowded. One such hulk, the ‘Dolphin’, housed 6,000 prisoners between 1829 and 1835.

 

Amelia dyer 2.5 million criminal records to be published online for first time by Findmypast.co.uk

Police photo of Amelia Dyer after arrest, 1896 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are details of Victorian serial killers including Amelia Dyer, who, between 1880 and 1896, is believed to have murdered 400 babies by strangling them with ribbon and dumping them in the Thames. The records show she was hanged at Newgate Prison in 1896 aged 58.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another particularly gruesome murderer who appears in the Crime, Prisons and Punishment records is Catherine

Kate Webster filtered 2.5 million criminal records to be published online for first time by Findmypast.co.uk

English: Kate Webster (1849? – 29 July 1879), the killer of Julia Martha Thomas (the “Richmond Murder” or the “Barnes Mystery”) Português: Kate Webster (1849-1879), a assassina do “Mistério de Barnes” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Webster, who the records show killed widow Julia Martha Thomas, 55. She pushed her down the stairs, then strangled her, chopped up her body and boiled it. Julia’s head was found in David Attenborough’s garden in 2010. 

The information in the records comes from a variety of Government departments including the Home Office, Prison Commission, Metropolitan Police, Central Criminal Court and the Admiralty. The records from 1817-1931 will be published first followed by the period 1770-1934 in the coming months.

 

Debra Chatfield, a family historian at findmypast.co.uk , said: “We have been eagerly anticipating the launch of these records that provide an amazing opportunity to trace any villains and victims in your own family.

 

“We have painstakingly published online entire registers containing mugshots of habitual drunks that feature incredible descriptions of criminals’ appearances, demeanour and identifying marks.

 

“The newspaper articles that are available on findmypast.co.uk provide unparalleled detail and show how the crimes were reported when they were committed. This supplements the new criminal records and makes searching through as enjoyable as it is easy, whether you are researching your own family history or are interested in social history.”

 

Paul Carter, Principle Modern Domestic records specialist at The National Archives added: “These records span several government series and show the evolution of the criminal justice system in the nineteenth century as the country dealt with the impact of industrialisation, urbanisation and population growth.

 

“They record the intimate details of hundreds of thousands of people, beginning with judges’ recommendations for or against pardons, to petitions through which criminals and their families could offer mitigating circumstances and grounds for mercy, and later, licences containing everything from previous convictions to the state of a prisoner’s health.

 

“As well as the Georgian highway robber, the Victorian murderer and the Edwardian thief, the courts often dealt with the rural poacher, the unemployed petty food thief or the early trade unionist or Chartist. The records are a fascinating source for family, local and social historians.”

 

ENDS

 2.5 million criminal records to be published online for first time by Findmypast.co.uk

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Look out for the Society of Genealogists on this week’s Find My Past TV show on Yesterday Channel on Tuesday 15 January at 9pm.

300px Dickens may 1852 Look out for the SoG on Find My Past TV show on Yesterday Channel on Tuesday 15 January at 9pm

Copy of a Photograph of Charles Dickens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This episode features a fascinating story concerning the double life of Charles Dickens and features Society of Genealogists’ Else Churchill as she helps reveal how people are related to someone from a significant historical event by searching the records on findmypast.co.uk. We follow their journey as they discover who their ancestor is and the part they played.

This week’s episode goes back to the Victorian era to tell the true story of Charles Dickens’ life. During the 19th century, Dickens was an international celebrity with journalists camped at his house and fans desperately trying to give him locks of their hair.

Ollie Dickens, the author’s great-great-great-grandson, discovers that his infamous ancestor had a dark secret that a fatal rail crash in Kent in 1865 almost exposed.

Travelling with Dickens was Nelly Ternan, a little-known actress. Her descendant, Marcus Allen, discovers that she was Dickens’ mistress and that their secret affair could have destroyed Dickens’ reputation and the sale of his books.

Joy Hillday uncovers her ancestor Henry Benge’s role in the disaster. Benge was in charge of the team of workmen who maintained the track on the day of the crash. An official inquiry reveals the tragic consequences of the crash.

Catch this episode at 9pm on Tuesday 15 January 2013 on the Yesterday channel: Freeview channel 19, Sky 537, Virgin Media 203.

historyhttp://www.findmypast.co.uk/content/find-my-past-tv/series-two-about

 Look out for the SoG on Find My Past TV show on Yesterday Channel on Tuesday 15 January at 9pm

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Findmypast.co.uk plans to publish 10m Westminster Archive Records

 

Leading UK family history website www.findmypast.co.uk  has today announced that it has been awarded a digitisation contract by the City of Westminster Council and the Westminster Archives Centre. This significant new project will lead to the publication online for the very first time of 10 million historic records from the Archives. The records are expected to launch later this year and will become fully searchable, only at www.findmypast.co.uk .

 

 

* Project announced to increase access to 10 million baptism, marriage, burial and parish chest records dating back to 1538

* First time that images of the original parish records from Westminster will appear online

 

Spanning the years 1538 to 1945, the records cover such London landmark churches as:

* St Anne’s, Soho

* St Clement Danes

* St George’s Hanover Square

* St James’ Westminster

* St Margaret’s Westminster

* St Martin-in-the-Fields

* St Mary-le-Strand

* St Paul’s, Covent Garden

As well as baptisms, marriages and burials, the Westminster Collection includes such gems as rate books, orphan and apprentice records, vestry minutes, cemetery registers, charity documents, workhouse admission and discharge books, settlement examinations, churchwardens’ accounts, bastardy and poor law records, wills, militia and watch records.

Guy Strachan, Digitisation Manager at findmypast.co.uk, said: "The City of Westminster Archives Centre is an absolute treasure trove for family and local historians, and the addition of these amazing records to findmypast.co.uk will greatly enhance the website’s standing as the central resource for UK parish records."

Anyone wishing to be notified when the Westminster Collection becomes available can register online at www.findmypast.co.uk to receive a newsletter.

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Today, in honour of St David’s Day, leading family history website www.findmypast.co.uk has announced the launch of the first tranche of parish records from Wales – part of a major new project with the Welsh County Archivists Group and the National Library of Wales.

 

3,878,862 million records from parish registers from the Church in Wales can now be searched for the first time online from today comprising:

1,418,921 baptism records covering 1538-1911

950,254 marriage records covering 1539-1926

340,002 marriage banns covering 1701-1926

1,169,685 burial records covering 1539-2007

These records cover the counties of Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Glamorganshire.

Over the following weeks approximately 5 million more Welsh parish records from Anglesey, Brecknockshire, Caernarvonshire, Merionethshire, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, Pembrokeshire and Radnorshire will be added to the website, enabling anyone to search the complete parish records from Wales online for the very first time.

Catherine Richards, county archivist from the Welsh Archives, said: “Archive Services in Wales hold a wealth of information, and our written history reflects the rich culture and heritage of the Welsh nation. Celebrating family history has had a long tradition in Wales. Welsh Law made it essential for people to know how they were descended from an ancestor and the ancient patronymic system was an important way of conveying and reaffirming lineage. The importance of tracing Welsh roots has been revived through modern genealogy. Parish registers provide one of the primary sources for the family historian and help to bring to life Welsh ancestors from the past.”

Paul Nixon, Content Licensing Manager at www.findmypast.co.uk  added: “This is a really exciting development for anyone with Welsh family history. Even if you are currently unaware of your Welsh roots, a simple search of the 46 million UK parish records at www.findmypast.co.uk  will now potentially reveal relevant results from the new Welsh Collection, opening up a whole new chapter in your research.”

The records can be accessed within the Life Events section of www.findmypast.co.uk and are free to search. The transcripts and handwritten images of the original parish registers can be viewed with PayAsYouGo credits or with a Full subscription to www.findmypast.co.uk. The full findmypast.co.uk website is free to view in the library of the Society of Genealogists

 

 

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1.2 million Irish Petty Session Records Now Searchable Online on Findmypast.ie

 

Drunk in charge of an ass and cart, tippling in a sheebeen and the disturbance of a divine service: 1.2 million Irish Petty Session Records now searchable online

 

Today, Irish family history website www.findmypast.ie launched online for the first time the Petty Sessions order books (1850-1910), one of the greatest untapped resources for those tracing their Irish roots.

· Another 15 million cases are to follow throughout 2012

· One of the great untapped resources for researching your family history

· Drunkenness the most common offence – accounting for one third of cases

 

The original Petty Sessions records, held at the National Archives of Ireland, were scanned by Family Search and have now been transcribed and made fully searchable by findmypast.ie. They cover all types of cases, from allowing trespass of cattle to being drunk in charge of an ass and cart. These were the lowest courts in the country who dealt with the vast bulk of legal cases, both civil and criminal. This first batch of entries contains details of 1.2 million cases, with most records giving comprehensive details of the case including: name of complainant, name of defendant, names of witnesses, cause of complaint, details of the judgement, details of a fine if any, and details of a sentence passed down if any. Another 15 million cases are to follow throughout 2012.

This first batch of records is particularly useful for areas of the country for which family history records are notoriously sparse such as Connaught and Donegal.

The reasons for cases being brought before the Petty Sessions Court are incredibly varied, but unsurprisingly the most common offence was drunkenness, which accounted for over a third of all cases. The top five offences tried before the courts were:

1. Drunkenness – 33%

2. Revenue/Tax offences – 21%

3. Assault – 16%

4. Local acts of nuisance – 5%

5. Destruction of property – 4%

The nature of these cases was significantly different from those in England.  Figures show that the rate of conviction for drunkenness was three times greater, four times greater for tax offences, 65% higher for assault, and twice as likely for “malicious and wilful destruction of property” than that of our nearest neighbours.1

The records are full of the minor incidents which are representative of the vast majority of cases which were brought before the Resident Magistrates. For example, we have Michael Downey of Athlone, Co. Westmeath who was charged with being “drunk while in charge of an ass and cart in a public area”, Pat Curley of Cloonakilla, Co. Westmeath who was charged with causing “malicious injury to a bicycle”, the five men and women all convicted of “tippling in a sheebeen” (drinking in an unlicensed premises) on Queen Street, Athlone and given fines of between £1 and £5 or the five men who were charged with disturbing the Reverend J.W. Davidson as he was “ministering a divine service” in Bundoran, Co.Donegal.

 

Brian Donovan, Director of findmypast.ie, comments: “These court records open up a unique window into Irish society in the 19th century. Most families interacted with the law in one way or another, being perpetrators or victims of petty crime, resolving civil disputes, to applying for a dog licence. The records are full of the trauma and tragedy of local life, as family members squabbled, shop keepers recovered debt, and the police imposed order. These records help fulfil our mission to provide more than just names and dates, to get to the stories of our ancestors’ lives.”

ENDS

Notes

1. British Parliamentary Papers (1864)

 

For further media information, please contact:

Ross Weldon

findmypast.ie

Unit 1, Trinity Enterprise and Technology Campus,

Pearse Street,

Dublin 2

Ireland

ross.weldon@findmypast.ie

+353 1 671 0338

 

ABOUT findmypast.ie

Findmypast.ie is the world’s most comprehensive Irish family history website, providing easy-to-search, online access to some of the most significant Irish records that have ever been made available. This new site is a joint venture between two experts in the field: findmypast.co.uk, one of the leading family history websites and part of the brightsolid family, while Eneclann is an award-winning Trinity College Campus Company specialising in genealogical and historical research and the publication of historical records.

Based in Dublin, findmypast.ie has a dedicated team committed to providing the best experience possible when researching Irish family history.

www.findmypast.ie

 

 

 

 

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