Posted by on 16 September 2013 in General, Record Collections


Abandon all hope, ye who enter today. There be pirates about, as it be International Talk Like a Pirate Day, yarrhhhh!

Could the scurvy dogs who appear as part of our Dorset record collection be your relatives?

Piracy was rife off England’s south coast right up into the 18th Century.   Dorset’s coves, caves and sandy beaches were the perfect hiding place for buccaneers and brigands and their ill-gotten loot. That means you stand a good chance of spotting these seadogs in our three criminal collections.

Whether your family’s black sheep committed their crimes on land or sea, our Calendars of Prisoners, 1854-1904 take you back to their trials – and often include detailed accounts of their offences. Then our Transportation Records, 1730-1842 and Prison Registers, 1782–1901 let you uncover how they coped with their punishment.

But our records aren’t all about burglars and bandits. There’s plenty of opportunity to learn about ordinary law-abiding folk as well – and gain a rare insight into their everyday lives.

Our Jury Lists, 1719–1922 reveal the very people who upheld the law, and our Militia Records, 1757–1860 remember those who defended the community. Meanwhile, our Land Tax Returns, 1780–1832 provide a virtual census of everybody in the local area.

See all our Dorset collections

About Emma

Emma Pulman is a Social Media and digital Marketing Executive for Based in Ancestry's London office in Hammersmith, Emma regularly tweets and posts on Ancestry's Facebook page.

1 Comment

sheila wood 

I am interested in the Barbary Pirates of Cornwall and have done some research—–My daughter on her father’s side has the name Barbery/Barbary/ Barbeary in her tree. Her x3 great grandfather was a mariner from Pentuan in Cornwall called William Henry Barbeary (he added an a in his surname when he moved to Ilfracombe in Devon) The ‘Barbery’ cottage of Pentuan, Cornwall still exists in the Barbery family today along with the pirate lane running along the back of the garden down to the coast–I have traced back to the early 1700c. with family as far down as Penzance, Mevagissey , St Austell and other villages—we feel the family name may have originated from a Barbary Pirate who may have been captured and remained in Cornwall—any help would be appreciated. I have done quite a bit of research back to the 17thc. …but would like to find more out about any connection with Pirates..

19 September 2013 at 10:50 am