Were your ancestors in trouble with the law? Now's the time to find out, as it's Crime and Punishment month at Findmypast, and we’re excited to be able to announce the addition of 1.9 million historic criminal records, spanning 1779-1936, which are available online for the first time, only on Findmypast.

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Presented in association with The National Archives, these records join our existing crime, prisons and punishment records to comprise a collection of almost three million, the largest collection of crime records available anywhere online.

Discover your ne'er-do-well relatives who passed through the justice system in England and Australia between 1779 and 1936. Find out where they stood trial, what sentence they were given, and whether they landed on what became their home shore as a transported convict.

The records reveal several key figures and moments in Irish history with records linked to the 1798 Rebellion, O’Donovan Rossa and the Phoenix Park murders.

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You can find physical descriptions and photographs and petitions sent by them and their family and friends to have sentences reduced. Find out if they were executed or transported and even read official correspondence about their case in this extraordinarily rich collection of records that cover 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.

The records, covering 1779-1934, reveal the many ordinary and extraordinary stories of criminals, victims and policemen from the criminal history books. Some collections include colour images of mugshots, as well as detailed accounts of Victorian serial killers, notorious executioners, prime ministerial assassins and the very first ASBOs. You never know what you might find once you start exploring

The crime records you can discover on Findmypast cover a period when the British Justice System was evolving rapidly, the effects of which rippled across the Empire and right over to Australia. During the early 19th century, justice reform campaigners were pushing for complete reform of the so-called Bloody Code, as British criminal law had come to be known. Someone passing through the justice system in our earliest records would face a very different justice to those who passed through at the turn of the 20th century.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be exploring all of these brand new record sets to uncover the stories of the crimes that shocked, amused and intrigued, as well as looking at the criminal ancestors of celebrities (and members of the Findmypast team).

Stay tuned for more on history’s greatest ne’er do wells and explore all of our crime and punishment records to discover the jailbirds in your family tree!

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