Go to The Gazette
The London Gazette is the official organ of public record in Britain and the archives go back to 1665. If your ancestors were involved in legal proceedings, became bankrupt or owned a company, you will probably find something in the database.
For more on this resource, see An Amazing Free British Genealogy Resource: The Gazette.
National Archives: Crime and Punishment
Go to TNA
The National Archives in London has a useful crime and punishment research guide explaining the records that they hold and are held by other archives. Very few of these records are available to view online. However, you can search the catalog and if you find a specific record that you want, you can pay for a copy to be made.
Relevant records held by TNA are court records, Metropolitan Police records and Home Office prison staffing records.
Findmypast England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935
Go to Findmypast
This record set contains over five million records of criminals who passed through the English and Welsh justice system between 1770 and 1935.
Go to The Genealogist
The Genealogist has convict transportation registers of prisoners who were sent to Australia between 1787 and 1870. The site also has a register of people charged with indictable offences between 1805 and 1892.
Convict Transportation Registers Database
Go to the Convict database
Around 160,000 convicts from Britain and Ireland were transported to Australia between 1787 and 1867. This database from the State Library of Queensland contains details of 123,000 convicts. It was compiled from British Home Office records.
Go to Ancestry
Ancestry also has a criminal register, this time between 1791 and 1892 and covering England and Wales.
Go to the London Lives website
This free resource focuses on the poor and working classes in the metropolis. It consists of more than 240,000 manuscripts and printed pages from eight archives in London as well as another fifteen data sets from other projects. These primary sources from 18th century London are fully searchable and include criminal court and coroner records.
National Records of Scotland: Crime and Criminals
Go to NRS
This useful guide explains the records available in Scotland and how to access them.
National Library of Wales Crime and Punishment Database
Go to NLW
The Crime and Punishment database has information about crimes, criminals and punishments from the gaol files of the Court of Great Sessions in Wales from 1730 until 1830.
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