Friday, July 3, 2015

New Crime, Prisons and Punishment Records available to search this Findmypast Friday


To celebrate the release of over 1.9 million new additions to our England and Wales, Crime, Prisons and Punishment records, this week's Findmypast Friday highlights some of the fascinating record sets that are now available to search within the collection.

England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935, contains the details of felons who passed through the criminal justice system in England and Wales between 1770 and 1935. The records reveal the exact nature of the crimes they committed, where and when they were tried and the sentence they received. Records can also include physical descriptions, petitions for clemency, reports on behaviour, health and education and photographic mug shots. The details of victims and government officials working within the penal system can also found within the collection.

The new additions are taken from 18 substantial and widely varied record series held by The National Archives at Kew. We will be highlighting a selection of these sets each Findmypast Friday for the duration of our Crime & Punishment month: four weeks of records, guides and stories to help you discover your family’s criminal history. Please note that all 18 sets within the collection are now available to search. The third and final phase of the collection will be released later this year.

England & Wales, Crime, Prisons and Punishment now contains over 3 million transcripts, all accompanied by scanned images of the original documents, and is the largest collection of crime and punishment records available online.

Home Office: Newgate Prison Calendar 1782-1853

The Home Office: Newgate Prison Calendar 1782-1853 contains almost 339,400 records. The Calendars were taken from printed lists of prisoners to be tried at Newgate, in London. Newgate was one of the historic seven gates of the London Wall around the City of London and has been used as a prison for debtors and felons since at least the 12th century. As well as printed lists of inmates, from July 1822 onwards the records contain manuscript additions giving the results of their trials.

Home Office: Convict Hulks, Convict Prisons and Criminal Lunatic Asylums: Quarterly Returns of Prisoners 1824-1876

Quarterly Returns of Prisoners 1824-1876 contains almost 639,600 records. The records consist of sworn lists of convicts held on board prison hulks between 1824 and 1854 as well as records of prisoners held in convict prisons and criminal lunatic asylums. The returns list the names of individual convicts with particulars as to their ages, convictions and sentences, health and behaviour.

Home Office: Criminal Entry Books 1782-1871

The Home Office: Criminal Entry Books 1782-1871 contain almost 272,950 records consisting of bound copies of letters sent out from the Home Office. They consist of correspondence and warrants of Home Office officials, and friends and relations of convicts. Warrants include pardons, reprieves and transfers of prisoners from one prison to another, or to the army or navy. Each volume also contains an index arranged by type of warrant issued.

Home Office: Old Captions and Transfer Papers 1843-1871

Home Office: Old Captions and Transfer Papers 1843-1871 contains over 3,660. The records contain copies of court orders (‘old captions’) for the imprisonment or transportation of prisoners. These are the papers written up by the trial judge and handed to the policemen who were to take the prisoner away to jail after he was convicted. All the paperwork involved in transferring prisoners is here, with individual documents for transfer between prisons and the records for that prisoner while he was in the gaol. There is a huge amount of detail in these records and it is worth browsing through all the available images to find all the separate documents concerning an individual prisoner. The later records even include a full medical history which is extremely unusual in genealogical records. There are also some records concerning prisoners serving their sentence on prison hulks.

Home Office and Prison Commission: Male Licences 1853-1887

Home Office and Prison Commission: Male Licences 1853-1887 contains almost 36,700 records of male convicts who were granted licences to be at large by the court, in other words, who were allowed out on parole. There are notes of the licences and also notes of revocation of the licence, under the Penal Servitude Acts of 1852 and 1864 endorsed on old captions, or orders of court, and, in some cases, transfer papers. The images include rich details about individual convicts such if their marital status, number of children, the name and address of their next of kin, their profession and a full physical description as well as where they went when they were released. Many records include photographic mug shots located on the last page.

Metropolitan Police: Criminal Record Office: habitual criminals' registers and miscellaneous papers

Containing the details of over 151,330 individuals, the Metropolitan Police: Criminal Record Office: habitual criminals' registers and miscellaneous papers consists of registers of habitual criminals kept by the police and circulated among the force on a regular basis. They include a detailed physical description noting all distinguishing marks and a full criminal record with notes on whether the convict had been apprehended. Some records are from the Police Gazette appendix which included photographs of some of the prisoners. Also included is a list of 5,824 habitual drunkards from the period 1903 to 1914, which would have been circulated weekly to licensed persons and secretaries of clubs. They usually contain two photographs of each drunkard: face on and profile.

Remember to check our dedicated Findmypast Fridays page every week to keep up to date with the latest new additions.

About Findmypast

Findmypast (previously DC Thomson Family History) is a British-owned world leader in online genealogy. It has an unrivalled record of online innovation in the field of family history and 18 million registered users across its family of online brands, which includes Mocavo, Genes Reunited, The British Newspaper Archive amongst others.

Its lead brand, also called Findmypast, is a searchable online archive of over two billion family history records, from parish records and censuses to migration records, military collections, historical newspapers and lots more. For members around the world, the site is a crucial resource for building family trees and doing detailed historical research.

In April 2003 Findmypast was the first to provide access to the complete birth, marriage, and death indexes for England & Wales, winning the Queen’s Award for Innovation. Since that time, the company has digitised records from across the globe, including major collections from Britain, Ireland, Australia, and the United States.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

NEHGS Salutes the Nation’s Anniversary with FREE Access to the Great Migration Databases on AmericanAncestors.org


Family Historians May Commemorate Independence Day by Searching FREE on AmericanAncestors.org for America’s Earliest Settlers, July 1 through July 8

June 29, 2015—Boston, Massachusetts—In a salute to the anniversary of our nation’s independence, New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is granting FREE access to all online searchable databases related to the Great Migration. A unique foundation of governance and religion was created by the 20,000 men, women, and children who crossed the Atlantic between 1620 and 1640, seeking opportunity and relief in New England, in the period known as the Great Migration. These are the Mayflower names, the Pilgrims, the Puritans, and the families that delight and provide rich insights for genealogists and family historians. Since 1988 NEHGS has undertaken the Great Migration Study Project, directed by Robert Charles Anderson and scheduled for completion in 2016. The results are open to the public to research FREE during the first week of July 2015 on its data-rich website AmericanAncestors.org.

A total of nine searchable databases comprise the Great Migration project on AmericanAncestors.org, consisting of thousands of records. Some content highlights include:

1: The Great Migration Begins

The first phase of the Great Migration Study Project attempts to identify and describe all those Europeans who settled in New England prior to the end of 1633. The date was chosen because of the steep increase in migration beginning in 1634 and continuing for the rest of that decade (see Robert Charles Anderson, "A Note on the Pace of the Great Migration," The New England Quarterly 59 [1986]:406-07). As a rough estimate, about 15 percent of the immigrants to New England arrived in the fourteen years from 1620 to 1633, with the remaining 85 percent coming over in half as many years, from 1634 to 1640.

2: The Great Migration Newsletter

This database comprises Volumes 1 through 20 of the Great Migration Newsletter, published between 1990 and 2011. Each 32-page issue contains one or two feature articles, a column with editor's comments, and a review of recent literature on the Great Migration. Each issue also contains a section with detailed coverage of one of the towns settled during the Great Migration, or of a specific critical record, or group of records.

3: The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volumes I—VII, A-Y
(7 separate databases)

From 1620 to 1633, only a few hundred people stepped on the shores of New England in any given year. But all of a sudden in 1634 the trend surged upward and as many as 2,500 people immigrated in 1634 and again in 1635. In May 1634, the population of Massachusetts doubled in just one month, and when comparing immigration in 1634 and 1635 to immigration in 1633 and earlier, there was a tenfold jump in annual immigration.

These volumes covering surnames beginning with A through Y, complete a series documenting the watershed years of 1634 and 1635. They trace families and individuals immigrating to New England during those two years – a time of rapid migration and settlement.

Each alphabetical entry for a family or individual includes:

• Place of origin, if known

• Date and ship on which they arrived in New England, if known

• Earliest known record of the individual or family

• First residence and subsequent residences, when known

• Return trips to their country of origin, whether temporary or permanent

• Bibliographical information such as birth, death, marriage(s), children, and other important family relationships, church memberships, and civil and military offices held

The full introduction to these seven volumes is available for download as a pdf file. The introduction includes a description of the methodology used to create the sketches as well as thorough descriptions of the sources used.

The database provides an index to the sketches of 219 Great Migration individuals, and the 7,192 name, 2,040 place, and 249 ship name references contained within those sketches. The images of the original book pages are available from the search results pages.

These Great Migration databases from NEHGS will be open with FREE access to the public beginning Wednesday, July 1, through Wednesday, July 8. Registration at AmericanAncestors.org is required as a FREE Guest Member to gain access to these valuable resources. Guest User accounts allow web visitors to use a limited suite of AmericanAncestors.org databases and access web content such as making purchases from the online store. Unlimited access to all 450+ million records and other benefits is through membership at NEHGS.

Family historians may start their search for ancestors who came to the country as part of the Great Migration at this site: AmericanAncestors.org/specials/fourth-of-july.

FEEFHS Conference offers Full German Research Track

For the first year FEEFHS is offering a full track focused on German genealogical research throughout the conference program. Starting with the basics of German family history research — language and handwriting, records, maps, and tools — and progressing to more advanced topics and specialty records such as guilds and family record books, individuals will be able to attend classes specific to German family history research throughout the 3-day conference. These classes will be taught by locally and nationally recognized instructors, Milan Pohontsch, Baerbel Johnson, and two instructors new to FEEFHS, FHL consultants Fritz Juengling and Kelsee Jackson.

The conference will be held August 12-15, 2015 at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah, with pre-conference workshops beginning on August 11th. The program also offers instruction related to Hungarian Empire, Polish, German, Russian, Germans from Russia, and Jewish genealogical research, with expanded offerings in several areas for more advanced researchers. The research essentials track offers general topics for those just getting started with East European family history research. Interested parties may obtain complete information at feefhsworkshop.org.

The Foundation for Eastern European Family History Studies (FEEFHS) was founded in 1992 to provide access to genealogical resources and educational programs relating to Eastern European family history research. Additional information may be found at feefhs.org.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Fascinating New Convict Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday


This week’s Findmypast Friday marks the release of over 240,000 fascinating Australian convict records, new additions to our collection of historic Irish newspapers, Irish Workhouse records from County Clare and Sligo as well as English parish records from the parish of Southfleet in North West Kent.

Australian Convict Records

Containing nearly 27,000 records, the Australia Convict Conditional and Absolute Pardons 1791-1867 list the details of convicts pardoned by the governor of New South Wales and date back to the earliest days of the colony. Pardons were generally handed out to convicts serving life sentences but in the earliest years of the colony the Governor had the power to grant both free and conditional pardons as rewards for good behaviour, for special skills or for carrying out special duties or tasks. Each record contains a transcript and an image of original documents. As well as listing the names of pardoned convicts, the records also include the name of the ship they arrived on, the term of the sentence they served, any additional notes, and details of their release.

New South Wales Registers of Convicts’ Applications to Marry 1825-1851 contains over 26,000 records. Convicts in Australian penal colonies were actually encouraged to marry as Governors believed that marriage and family life were good for both morality and stability. Convicts who did obtain the Governor’s permission to marry could apply for tickets of leave or pardons as well as assistance in establishing a household. In the early years of the colonies, many convicts married even if they had wives or husbands back home. Each record contains a transcript as well as an image of the original document. Registers list the convict’s name, the name of their spouse, their profession and the length of their sentence as well as the sip they arrived on and when they were given their freedom.

Containing over 188,000 records, Australia Convict ships 1786-1849 dates back the ships of First Fleet and include the details of some of the earliest convict settlers in New South Wales. The records are made up of five separate sets of musters and indents held by the State Records Authority of New South Wales. Indents records were used in the early settlements to keep track of the convict population while musters lists of who was on board a ship were taken at the port of embarkation. Each record contains a transcript and a black and white image of original documents. Indents can include a variety of information about individual convicts such as their native place, details of their offence and sentence, a physical description and details of their family members. Musters usually only give a name, date and place of trial and sentence. Musters were also taken after disembarkation.

Over 7,000 records have been added to our collection of Victoria Prison Registers 1855-1948. The new additions are taken from the Central Register of Female Prisoners, held by the Public Record Office Victoria. The register kept a record of prisoners that passed through Pentridge prison in Coburg, Victoria. Pentridge was built in 1850 and was the central prison in the Melbourne region from about 1860. Each record includes a transcripts and scanned image of the original registers and many include mug shot photographs of individual’s prisoners. They list fascinating details about not only the prisoners’ offences, sentences and incarceration, but also biographical information such as their name, date of birth, country of origin and occupation. Remarks on the register may also include the name of the ship on which the prisoner arrived if they were not born in Australia.

Irish Workhouse Records

Containing of over 9,000 records, the Sligo workhouse registers 1848-1859 consist of handwritten registers taken at the Sligo Union workhouse, one of three workhouses in the County Sligo. The records pre-date civil registration and will be a valuable resource to those with Sligo ancestors given the lack of 19th century census material available in Ireland. Each record includes a transcript and an image of the original document. The registers list the names of new arrivals and details including their age, occupation, religion, any illnesses or infirmities, family members, local parish, their condition on arrival (usually describing clothes or cleanliness) and when they were discharged or died.

Containing over 63,000 records, the Clare Poor Law Unions Board of Guardians Minute Books cover the Kilrush and Ennistymon unions, two of eight poor law unions located in County Clare. The Board of Guardians oversaw the running of the poor law unions as well as the hiring of teachers, staff and contractors. Guardians were elected by those who paid the taxes that funded poor law relief. The books recorded weekly reports on the number of inmates, new arrivals, births, deaths and discharges. They also recorded expenditures including food supplies and salaries as well as the number of inmates receiving medical treatments. Each record contains a transcript and an image of the original handwritten minutes.

Irish newspapers

Over 308,000 new articles have been added to our collection of historic Irish newspapers. Substantial additions have been made to Saunder’s News-Letter, a title that dates all the way back to 18th century Ireland and now contains nearly 950,000 fully searchable articles.

North West Kent Parish Records Baptisms

Over 4,000 new records have been added to our collection of North West Kent parish records, nearly 2,000 baptisms, over 500 marriages and 1,500 burials transcribed by the North West Kent family history society are now available to search. The new additions cover the parish of Southfleet and each record consists of a transcript of the original source material.

Remember to check our dedicated Findmypast Fridays page every week to keep up to date with the latest new additions.

About Findmypast

Findmypast (previously DC Thomson Family History) is a British-owned world leader in online genealogy. It has an unrivalled record of online innovation in the field of family history and 18 million registered users across its family of online brands, which includes Mocavo, Genes Reunited, The British Newspaper Archive amongst others.

Its lead brand, also called Findmypast, is a searchable online archive of over two billion family history records, from parish records and censuses to migration records, military collections, historical newspapers and lots more. For members around the world, the site is a crucial resource for building family trees and doing detailed historical research.

In April 2003 Findmypast was the first to provide access to the complete birth, marriage, and death indexes for England & Wales, winning the Queen’s Award for Innovation. Since that time, the company has digitised records from across the globe, including major collections from Britain, Ireland, Australia, and the United States.