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August 3, 2009

England & Wales, Criminal Registers, 1791-1892 online

England & Wales, Criminal Registers, 1791-1892 has just gone online on

This database contains criminal registers from England and Wales for the years 1791-1892. The criminal registers are a listing of individuals charged with crime. The registers provide information about the charged individual, their trial, and sentence (if convicted) or other outcome. Information listed may include:

* Name of criminal
* Age
* Birthplace (not often listed after 1802)
* Crime
* When and where tried
* Sentence (death, transportation, imprisonment, acquittal, etc.)
* Where and when received
* Date of execution or release
* By whom committed, to whom delivered

Here is an example from an 1865 record. 5th name down is Thomas Down charged with embezzlement. He was sentenced to one month's imprisonment at Redhill. There is a notation in the Discharge column stating that when he is freed he is to be sent to a Reformatory School for four years. Think how exciting this would be if Thomas were your ancestor! You'd be hunting for information on Redhill and checking the 1871 census to see if perhaps Thomas was in a Reform School somewhere.

Information obtained from these registers may be able to lead you to other records. For example, if you have a date and place of trial, you will know when and where to search for court records. Other criminal records to consult include:

* Calendar of Prisoners
* Prison Registers
* Court records such as depositions, indictments, and case files
* Warrants, including pardons, reprieves, and transfers of prisoners
* Transportation records

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