February 2013

Ruth’s Recommendations

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

The British GENES blog has post called “Richard III press conference now online.” If you haven’t seen the story on the news then you can catch up here. There is a Canadian link to this story.

Claire Santry of Irish Genealogy News has a post called “Ancestry to release Lord Morpeth’s Roll next month.” This document dates from 1841 and has about 275,000 names on it.

Dear Myrtle has a post called “2013 Docu-Challenge #1: English Parish Register Entry.” The challenge is to transcribe and analyze a historical document and share it with others in the comments section on Dear Myrtle’s blog. The document is the same for everyone. She provides links and instructions on the process. This also uses the Evidentia software. If you haven’t tried it then this is a way to see what it is all about.

The ActiveHistory.ca blog has a post called “More Canadian History, More Better” which looks at how the Canadian government is promoting Canadian history. It isn’t all good news.

ActiveHistory.ca has another post entitled “Podcast: “Beyond Orange and Green: Toronto’s Irish, 1870-1914” by William Jenkins.” This podcast is based on William Jenkins book “Between Raid and Rebellion: The Irish in Buffalo and Toronto, 1867-1916.

The Organize your Family History blog has a post called “Exploring Evernote for Genealogy.” In this post she looks at how you can use Evernote for research logs.

The In-Depth Genealogist has announced that the February 2013 issue of Going In-Depth is now available in their post “Going In-Depth has arrived!”

The We Came From blog has issued a challenge by creating a History Hop with a post called “Welcome to “The History Hop.” Every Friday you create a post that relates to any kind of history and share the link on the We Came From blog.

The Irish Story blog has a very interesting post called “Waterford Parted from the Sea’ – The Irish in Newfoundland.” The people of Newfoundland have come from very specific places in Ireland. Have you seen the commercials for tourism in Newfoundland and Labrador? Sometimes you have to look twice to make sure it is for Newfoundland and Labrador and not Ireland.

Randy Seaver at the Genea-Musings blog has a post called “What are the Must-Have Resources for Genealogists?” This post promotes another post called “88 Must Have Resources for the Online Genealogist” where Genea-Musings was listed as a must have resource for online genealogists. Congratulations Randy!

What were your favourite blog posts this past week?

Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Genea-Musings – Best of the Genea-Blogs

British & Irish Genealogy

Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

2.5 Million Criminal Records to be Published Online: Find Villans or Victims Lurking in Your Family History


The biggest collection of historical criminal records from England and Wales is being published online for the first time by leading family history site www.findmypast.ie in association with The UK National Archives.

Over 2.5 million records dating from 1770-1934 will be easily searchable and provide a wide variety of colour, detail and fascinating social history, chronicling the fate of criminals ranging from fraudsters, counterfeiters, thieves and murderers and their victims.

They contain mugshots, court documents, appeal letters, examples of early Edwardian ‘ASBOs’- where habitual drunks were banned from pubs and entertainment venues –and registers from the prison ‘hulk’ ships, which were used when mainland prisons were overcrowded. One such hulk, the ‘Dolphin’, housed 6,000 prisoners between 1829 and 1835.

There are details of Victorian serial killers including Amelia Dyer, who, between 1880 and 1896, is believed to have murdered 400 babies by strangling them with ribbon and dumping them in the Thames. She was hanged at Newgate Prison in 1896 aged 57.

Another particularly gruesome murderer who appears in the Crime, Prisons and Punishment records is Catherine Webster, who killed widow Julia Martha Thomas, 55. She pushed her down the stairs, then strangled her, chopped up her body and boiled it. Julia’s head was found in David Attenborough’s garden in 2010.

Cliona Weldon, General Manager at findmypast.ie, said: “These records provide anyone with roots in the UK an amazing chance to trace criminals and their victims in their family. They feature incredible descriptions of criminals’ appearances, demeanour and identifying marks, giving you a real insight to who each person was. The British newspaper articles also available on findmypast.ie show how the crimes were reported in the press of the day – which supplements the criminal records and makes searching through them as enjoyable as it is easy, as you cross-reference one against the other”

Paul Carter, Principle Modern Domestic records specialist at The UK National Archives added: “These records span several government series and show the evolution of the criminal justice system in the nineteenth century as the country dealt with the impact of industrialisation, urbanisation and population growth.

“They record the intimate details of hundreds of thousands of people, beginning with judges’ recommendations for or against pardons, to petitions through which criminals and their families could offer mitigating circumstances and grounds for mercy, and later, licences containing everything from previous convictions to the state of a prisoner’s health.

“As well as the Georgian highway robber, the Victorian murderer and the Edwardian thief, the courts often dealt with the rural poacher, the unemployed petty food thief or the early trade unionist or Chartist. The records are a fascinating source for family, local and social historians.”

The information in the records comes from a variety of UK Government departments including the Home Office, Prison Commission, Metropolitan Police, Central Criminal Court and the Admiralty. The records from 1817-1931 will be published first followed by the period 1770-1934 in the coming months.

The Crime, Prisons and Punishment records are available on findmypast.ie as part of a Britain & Ireland or a World subscription. They are also available online at findmypast.co.uk, findmypast.com and findmypast.com.au.