Ancestors found in the Criminal Justice System – Survey Participants Wanted

Today I received this press release from Aoife O Connor. Have you found criminal ancestors or ancestors involved on the other side of the criminal justice system in your family tree? If you have you may want to participate in this survey.

A Criminal Ancestor

Are you descended from convict ancestors transported far from home or did great, great, great uncle John end up in court for squabbling with the neighbours?  If your ancestor was a hardened criminal, a victim of a miscarriage of justice, a political prisoner, or in court for not paying their dog licence a new study is looking to hear from you.

Criminals in the family have always fascinated family historians and it seems more of us are discovering more of them all of the time.  The digitisation of the records of the criminal justice system and newspapers are bringing to light a side of our ancestors that may have previously been kept secret.

The crimes themselves range from the minor, even amusing, to the serious, and tragic.  From a few cows wandering unsupervised along a country lane resulting in an appearance at the petty sessions court and a 2 shilling fine, to a young girl stealing some lace and being transported for 7 years to Australia, a sentence which really meant a lifetime exiled from her native land.  A young boy imprisoned for vagrancy.  A rebel.  A highwayman.  A murderer.

The documents which record their crimes often have amazingly rich details not found in birth, marriage, or even census records.  From prison registers we can get physical descriptions of someone who lived long before the invention of photography, we can learn their height, weight, eye and hair colour, and any distinguishing scars or features such as tattoos.   From newspaper accounts of trials we hear their voices as they give evidence.

But how do we feel when we come across an ancestor who broke the law?  And how do they shape how we view our family’s history?  Is a criminal ancestor someone to be ashamed of, to celebrate, or part of a larger story?  What do their crimes, and the punishments they received tell us about them as people, and about the time and society they lived in?  You can help provide the answers.

As part of the Digital Panopticon project, Aoife O Connor of the University of Sheffield wants to hear from family historians across the globe who have discovered ancestors who were connected to a crime.  She is conducting short anonymous online surveys.

Aoife is based in Dublin, Ireland and is studying for her PhD part-time.  Her own family history includes, among others, one ancestor aged 18 imprisoned in 1821 for thirteen days on suspicion of stealing a frame saw (the same ancestor was fined for excise duty evasion to the tune of £12 10 shillings in 1838), and another who was fined two shillings at the Petty Sessions Court on the 24 December 1855 for driving a horse and cart with no reins.

Findmypast.ie add another 2.5 million court registers

Findmypastie

Another 2.5 million court registers added to findmypast.ie

Records dating from 1851 to 1913

For immediate release

Leading Irish family history website, findmypast.ie has made a further 2.5 million court records available to search online in its Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers 1828-1912 record set, which exposes the petty crimes Ireland’s residents committed and how they were punished.

This new batch features 52 new courts in fifteen counties around Ireland. A further seven courts have been supplemented with records from additional years. This brings the total Petty Sessions Court Registers on findmypast.ie to over 15 million and the overall Irish family history records on the site to over 70 million.

Notable additions this time include a significant expansion to the records available for Galway, Roscommon, Westmeath and Limerick. Donegal also benefits from the addition of four new courts dating from as early as 1851, which should prove a real boon to family historians with ancestors from that county.

The variety of cases heard gives a real flavour for life in Ireland at the time. Runaway servants, shebeens and trespassing livestock are just a taste of the misdemeanors that can be found amongst the millions of registers.

Cliona Weldon, General Manager of findmypast.ie, said “The records of the Petty Session courts are endlessly fascinating and that is why we continue to top up this resource with more great family history records. It is always interesting to find out what your forefathers did to find themselves in front of a magistrate!”

New courts have been added to the following counties: Galway (9), Roscommon (8), Westmeath (7), Limerick (7), Donegal (4), Waterford (4), Tipperary (2), Cork (2), Carlow (2), Kilkenny (2), Mayo (1), Meath (1), Sligo (1), Wexford (1) and Wicklow (1).

This collection is also accessible on all findmypast international sites through a World subscription.

To find out if you have ancestors who had their day in court visit www.findmypast.ie

Findmypast.ie releases Ireland’s National Roll of Honour 1914-1921

Findmypastie

FINDMYPAST.IE RELEASES IRELAND’S NATIONAL ROLL OF HONOUR 1914-1921

RECORDS REVEAL DETAILS OF IRISHMEN WHO DIED DURING WORLD WAR I AND BEYOND

 

Leading Irish family history website, findmypast.ie has published online for the first time in its entirety Ireland’s National Roll of Honour 1914-1921.

These records give details of Irishmen, who died whilst serving in the British Army during the First World War. Also included are those soldiers who died in the three years after the end of the war.

The database of transcripts has been created from all known available resources for Irish casualties published before 1922, including publications like Soldiers Died in the Great War and Ireland’s Memorial Records, as well as organisations like The Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Newspaper articles, periodicals and other books were also used to collate the information. Furthermore, the material has been cross-referenced with the 1901 and 1911 Irish censuses to provide a more precise list of Irish war victims for the period than has ever been previously available to family historians.

Cliona Weldon, General Manager at findmypast.ie said “These records are a great addition to our collections, especially for anyone researching their military ancestors. The vivid details in the transcripts really bring home what the war heroes in our family trees went through in the field of battle”.

Supplementary information contained in the transcripts, including newspaper obituaries and letters home from the soldiers, bring these military records to life. One such harrowing letter home from the Front Line reads:

“Dear Sally-I am sorry to inform you of the death of poor Jackie. He was killed on the evening of the 27th February, and Goggin wounded. He was speaking to me about an hour before that. I am not in the better of it since. We were after coming out of the trenches, and back in billets when Jackie was killed. There was a big heavy shell came through the house and killed six and wounded twelve. Poor Jackie was made bits of-his legs and hands and head were blown away. His body was in an awful state. The shell also killed a Frenchman and his family”

With over 15,000 detailed entries searchable on findmypast.ie now and more to come, the National Roll of Honour 1914-1921 is a rich resource for those with Irish ancestors, who served in the British Army during the Great War and the years that followed.

This record set is also currently available on findmypast.com and findmypast.com.au as part of a World subscription and will be added to findmypast.co.uk soon.

Over 2.5 million court registers added to findmypast.ie

For immediate release

Over 2.5 million court registers added to findmypast.ie

Records dating back as far as 1842

Leading Irish family history website findmypast.ie has made an additional 2.5 million court records available to search online in its Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers 1828-1912 record set, which exposes the petty crimes Ireland’s residents committed and how they were punished.

The additions feature forty-four new courts in nineteen counties around Ireland. A further fifty-five courts have been supplemented with records from additional years. This brings the total Petty Sessions Court Registers on findmypast.ie to over 12 million records.

Notable new courts that have been added are the Limerick City Children’s Court and two courts with pre-famine records – Moynalty, Co. Meath and Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. As well as that, for the first time, seven new courts from Co. Longford have been added, bringing online over a quarter of a million new records for the county. Also well represented with totally new courts are Laois (five) and Cork (four).

Being drunk in a public place, being drunk in charge of a cart, failure to pay rent and allowing livestock to wander on the road are among some of the most common misdemeanors that our ancestors found themselves in court for. Although most defendants got away with a fine, the variety of cases heard gives a real flavour for life in Ireland at the time.

Cliona Weldon, General Manager of findmypast.ie, said “We are really excited about this add-on to our Petty Sessions court records. As usual, the stories you can find in them really paint a picture of what life was like in towns and villages in Ireland at the time. From harrowing stories in the Limerick City Children’s Court to amusing ones in Longford’s seven new courts, there is something for everyone in there”.

New courts have been added to the following counties: Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Laois, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford and Westmeath.

To find out if you have ancestors who had their day in court visit www.findmypast.ie

Press Release: National Genealogical Society Presents Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism to Julie Miller, CG

ARLINGTON, VA, 10 May 2013: The National Genealogical Society presented the Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award to Julie Potter Miller, cg, at its annual banquet on Friday evening, 10 May, at the NGS 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Established in 2011, the Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism recognizes long-term volunteer service to NGS and the genealogical community at large. Julie has served on the NGS Board of Directors since October 2006 and has been vice president since October 2010. She served as conference chair for the NGS 2010 Family History Conference in Salt Lake City and for the NGS 2012 Family History Conference in Cincinnati. This year she continued to serve on the conference committee overseeing the conference blog and social media publicity and provided knowledgeable guidance whenever asked.

“Julie is consistently out in front, leading the charge,” said NGS President Jordan Jones. “She is knowledgeable, fair, and thinks about the long term, consistently pushing the board to explore new and innovative ways to use technology to better serve NGS members.” Stefani Evans, 2013 NGS conference chair added, “Julie has freely shared her experience and project management skills while serving on the conference committee again this year. In every interaction, she has been kind, thoughtful, and patient.”

In addition to her service to NGS, Julie has served as president of the Colorado Genealogical Society, Colorado Chapter of APG, and the Bloomfield Genealogical Society. She served on the board of directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors and volunteers at the National Archives Rocky Mountain Regional Branch.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, Virginia, based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists. Please visit the NGS Pressroom for further information.

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