Find your ancestors in Series HO18, HO19, & T38

In association with The National Archives, Findmypast is excited to release an extensive collection of records from criminal cases, gaols, hulks, prisons, and criminal calendars. England & Wales, crime, prisons & punishment, 1770-1935 is the largest single collection of British crime records online. Explore the world of courts and prisons, and discover if your ancestor committed a criminal offence and what your ancestor’s sentence was. You can also find physical descriptions and photographs of your ancestor, whether your ancestor was executed or transported, and official correspondence about your ancestor’s case, as well as petitions sent by the accused individuals and their family and friends to have sentences reduced. This extraordinarily rich collection of records covers the justice system from the days of the Bloody Code – where most property crimes carried a death sentence – to the justice system we know today. Find out more about some of the series available below. The series is listed on the transcript.

In series HO18, Home Office: criminal petitions, part 2,there are just over 19,000 further records concerning petitions in this set. Some petitions have additional documents attached, such as newspaper cuttings or other documentation. It is worth browsing through the connected images as some petitions are quite lengthy documents that will give details of family circumstances and the grounds on which they are hoping to appeal their sentence.

In series HO19, Home Office: register of criminal petitions, there are over 77,000 records for the Home Office registers of correspondence relating to criminal petitions. The copied letters will often refer to previous correspondence which may or may not have survived and will usually give the outcome of the appeal.

In series T38, Treasury: departmental accounts, convict hulks, there are over 158,250 records from the accounts held by the Treasury Department for the various convict hulks around England. There are quarterly accounts here covering the Bellerophon, Justicia, Captivity, Laurel, Leviathan, Portland, Retribution, Prudentia, Stanislaus and Savage between 1804 and 1831, as well as departmental accounts from 1558 to 1937. Quarterly accounts usually list the convicts by name and detail what provisions, bedding, and clothing had been provided for them. These records do not generally include details of the convicts’ crime or sentence.