Findmypast completes criminal records collection

By Rosemary Collins, 20 June 2017 - 9:25am

The collection holds over 5.7 million records of the criminal justice system in total


The records include appeals on behalf of convicted murderer Catherine Wilson

Findmypast has added images and transcripts of 68,000 records to its England and Wales, Crime, Prisons and Punishment records.

The collection is now the largest set of England and Wales criminal records online, with a total of over 5.7 million records.

The records, digitised in partnership with The National Archives (TNA) in Kew, cover the criminal justice system from 1770 to 1935.

The new additions come from five TNA series:

  • Home Office: convict hulks, convict prisons and criminal lunatic asylums, quarterly returns of prisoners (HO 8)
  • Central Criminal Court: after-trial calendars of prisoners (CRIM 9)
  • Home Office: calendar of prisoners (HO 140)
  • Home Office and Prison Commission: prison records (PCOM 2)
  • Home Office and Prison Commission: male licences 1853-1887 (PCOM 3)

The records are varied, including details such as the nature of the crime and the sentence received.

Many records also include physical descriptions, petitions for clemency, reports on behaviour, health and education and photographic mug shots, as well as details of victims and court and prison officials.

One of the most notorious criminals found in the records is Catherine Wilson, who was hanged at Newgate Gaol in 1862 for poisoning Maria Soames.

She was the last woman to be publicly hanged in England, in front of a crowd of 20,000 people, and was thought to have killed six other victims.

The records show that Wilson, aged 40, was tried before Justice Byles on 25-27 September 1862. They also include a record of correspondence on behalf of Sir George Grey, the Home Secretary, rejecting appeals to intervene in the case.

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