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May 1, 2014

Victorian Reform School & Prison Records Online - A Contest!

Victorian Reform School & Prison Records Online
John Wormald age 11
Reform School 1892, and have recently published some fascinating reformatory school and prison records from West Yorkshire. The West Yorkshire Collection 1779-1914 details the crimes of thousands of boys admitted to Calder Farm Reformatory, East Moor Community Home School and The Shadwell Children’s Centre.
The records are available using these links:  
I spent a very enjoyable afternoon searching these records for my son's Yorkshire ancestors on his father's side.  They are full of details! For example I found the Reform School Record for the 11 year brother of his great-grandmother Kate Wormald. Little John Wormald was sent to Calder Farm Reform School in 1892 after a series of thefts. His records included his photo and details of his misdeeds and the punishment meted out by his parents (6 lashes of a birch rod each time he stole something). Young John was noted as having red hair, blue eyes and freckles.

The records indicate that John was hanging with a bad crowd and so in desperation his parents sent him to live with an uncle. John then stole a substantial sum of money from his uncle's coat pocket and ran off with one of his friends. It was then he was arrested and sent to Reform School for 5 years.

What I also found fascinating was that the Reform School records also had followups of the children after they were discharged. I noted that several of the boys went into the Army after discharge and appeared to have changed their lives. Young John Wormald went into the Army and there are notes for several years about his life after discharge. It seems that England was at that time trending towards actual reform and not punishment of young offenders.

If you would like to participate in a contest being offered by Olive Tree Genealogy, I am able to offer a 3 month subscription to as the prize. 

Entry Details

1. Search through either the West Yorkshire England Reformatory School Records 1856-1914 or the
West Yorkshire, England, Prison Records, 1801-1914 and choose an interesting case.

2. Post a brief summary of the case you found interesting as a comment on this blog post. Be sure to include the name of the individual and the date of his or her committment and whether the person was in the Reform School Records or the Prison Records. Also include your full name.

3. Share the URL for this blog post. You may share it using Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ etc, or on your own blog or newsletter.

Contest Rules:
1. No purchase necessary.
2. The  most interesting entry wins. One winner will be chosen from entries received. See details above for entry requirements
3. The contest ends at midnight EDT Monday May 5, 2014
4. You are responsible for anything in regards to the legality of entering a contest in the area in which you live.
5. The winner's name will be posted here on Olive Tree Genealogy blog on Wednesday May 7, 2014. Winner must then contact me at to claim their prize.
Please note that if you do not already have a subscription to you will be required to create a free account in order to view the records.


Anonymous said...

So, you need a FULL World membership to win a 3-month membership. Makes perfect sense!

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Anonymous - You can tack the 3 month on to your existing subscription.

And you don't need a FULL membership, you can sign up for a free account (same as a 2 week free trial)