Find your ancestors in Home Office series 8, 13, 77 & 130

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. The collection holds 22 series of records from The National Archives. Below you can find out more about the files. You will find the series listed on the transcript.

HO8: Home Office: convict hulks, convict prisons and criminal lunatic asylums, quarterly returns of prisoners

This series contains almost 1,290,578 records from sworn lists of convicts on board prison hulks between 1801 and 1854. Records of prisoners in convict prisons and criminal lunatic asylums will follow in due course.

HO13: Home Office: correspondence and warrants

There are almost 272,950 records of people mentioned in the correspondence and warrants between 1782 and 1871. The records will usually reveal information related to your ancestor’s conviction, the trial and sentencing.

HO77: Home Office: Newgate Prison calendar 1782-1853

There are almost 339,400 records here from the printed lists of the prisoners to be tried at Newgate, in London. As well as the printed list, from July 1822 onwards there are manuscript additions giving the results of the trials.

HO130: Home Office: miscellaneous criminal books 1798-1831

This small set of 888 records contains a calendar of the prisoner at Winchester listed for trial at a Special Commission of Assize after the agricultural riots of 1830. The so-called Swing Riots swept England between 1830 and 1831. Agricultural workers burnt barns and haystacks and destroyed farm machinery in protest at increased mechanisation and low wages. Within the records is the most notorious rioter James Thomas Cooper, who was known as Captain or Lord Hunt. He had organised riots in Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset and was executed in Winchester on 15 January 1831.