Punishment

This guide was last updated in 2009

The records we've already covered should tell you the sentence imposed upon your ancestor, but there is often more to be uncovered once the sentence is passed.

Prison records, which are again shared between local archives and The National Archives, may give you details of your ancestor’s period of incarceration. You might find a history of the prison in question, with accounts of the lives and experiences of the inmates.

If the sentence was transportation, you may be able to trace your ancestor’s progress from their trial to arrival and settlement abroad. For more information about transportation, have a look at The National Archives research guides...

Transportation to America and the West Indies

Transportation to Australia

Tracing convicts and prisoners

Plus, Ancestry.co.uk's collection of online resources about convicts to Australia are well worth a browse.

And, of course, it is always interesting to spend a portion of your research time examining other cases that arose at the same time as your ancestor’s, to see what crimes other people committed – and what punishments they suffered. You may discover that your ancestor was particularly fortunate, or treated particularly harshly.

Trial and conviction
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