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Yorkshire’s Prison Records Revealed Online at Ancestry

April 30, 2014 0 Comments
Richard Caldwell found in the West Yorkshire Reformatory School Records

Richard Caldwell, who spent four years in a reform school for stealing a pigeon.

Ancestry have released thousands of records detailing Yorkshire’s 19th century criminals and young offenders.

The West Yorkshire Collection 1779-1914 includes four new fully searchable record sets enabling family historians to track down Yorkshire ancestors on both sides of the law…

Over 9,000 young offenders can be found in the reformatory school records for West Yorkshire. These include admission and discharge registers for Calder Farm Reformatory, East Moor Community Home School, and Shadwell Children’s Centre.

Reform schools were set up as an alternative to prison to provide young ne’er-do-wells an opportunity to get their lives back on the straight and narrow. The schools were based on strong discipline, education and training as a way out of a life of crime.

One boy listed is Richard Cardwell, aged 12 years, who in 1909 was sentenced to 4 years at East Moor Community Home School for stealing a pigeon! They certainly had a zero tolerance policy in those days…

Vital details covered in the records include name, age, birth date and birthplace. And in some cases additional information such as physical description, details of family members and remarks on behaviour can also be found along with photographs.

Records on adult offenders can also now be discovered in the West Yorkshire, England, Prison Records, 1801-1914.

Over 30,000 inmates of Wakefield Prison and St. John’s Community Home School are covered in the release.

Information on each offender includes age, name, occupation, offence, sentence and dates of admission and discharge. There may also be physical descriptions and remarks on the prisoner’s history.

But it’s not just robbers…the cops can also be found too…

West Yorkshire, England, Police Records, 1833-1914 offers details relating to the appointment and careers of around 32,000 local policemen.

And West Yorkshire, England, Militia, 1779-1826 covers almost 3000 militia men.

Ancestry have worked in partnership with the West Yorkshire Archive Service to publish these rich record sets for the first time offering a fascinating insight into Victorian law and order.

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