Project Updates – New Projects!


Today you’ll notice not one, but two new projects!  The Middlesex, (England) Criminal Registers, 1791-1849 and the New England Naturalization Indexes.

In reading the Middlesex, Criminal Registers you’ll likely become engrossed in the stories of the criminals – what were they convicted of, how old were they, how long was their sentence.  And not only are there interesting stories there is also interesting handwriting to decipher.

The New England Naturalization Indexes is a series of index cards, there are three on each image, that provide excellent vital information.  Since people were coming from all over the world you get to read a lot of unique names.

In addition to these two new projects keep your eyes peeled for the return of the Nebraska State Census project later this week.  A month ago we ran into some problems with the quality of the images, they were virtually unreadable, so we took the project offline while we reworked images.

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Love those criminal registers. Fascinating reading!

I am enjoying these registers. It is very interesting. For those who are keying these registers and don’t know..”Newgate” Prison, which is refered to alot, is in upstate CT and still exists as a tourist stop. It was built at the time of the revolutionary war and was where the traders were imprisioned. It was in use thru the civil war. It is almost completely UNDERGROUND!, with a few cells above ground where the priviledged stayed! The prisoners dug down thru the rock and they would work, eat, and sleep down there and never come out till their sentence was up or if they died from disease. It is very cold, damp and they would sleep on rock slabs that they dug out. You can still slightly smell the stench too.
It amazes me that people from these registers were sent there for such small crimes! My how times have changed.

The Middlesex Criminal Registers are a mine of historical information, though sentencing a 17 year old girl to death for highway robbery seems a bit harsh.

To Deb – I was under the impression that the registers were for Middlesex England especially as some of the trials take place at “The Old Bailey” and Newgate Prison is also in London. On the early registers it also gives the place from which the prisoner came – English counties such as Kent Sussex etc

Hi Karen,

Thanks for the correction.. It is Middlesex London…You are right. The registers I started with only said Middlesex County, so I assumed Middlesex, Mass..lol That is why I came back here to correct that from my post. Perfect genealogy lesson here..One should never assume anything!..lol In fact, another person posted a link on Old Bailey in the World Archive Project forum and it also talks about Newgate nearby and has some great info..I will re-post it here…
http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/static/History.jsp

When they say “transported”, where did they send them? Was it always Australia?

I apologize for the confusion surrounding the Middlesex Criminal Registers – they are from the UK. In future we will make sure to note the country of the projects.

In the Middlesex Court records under the Acquital column it sometimes says ‘Not guilty’ (which I understand) and sometimes it says ‘No Bill’ which I do not.
Anyone have any suggestions?

re: Middlesex Criminal Registers
To Martin:
“No bill” means that the Grand Jury had not found a case to proceed with a trial. The prisoner was discharged, neither Guilty nor “Not Guilty”

To Anna:
Some questions about transcribing the Mddx.Criminal Register [pages with place of birth]
1] There is no guidance on transcribing place-names. I noticed in the “webinar” that Prusia was transcribed as Prussia.
In my opinion, transcribers should always transcribe what they see, not what they think a name should be. However, with place-names, inconsistencies will make for difficulty in searching indexes. May I suggest that at this very early stage of the project an additional field/column be added for “standardized place name”?
The birthplaces in the MCR are described with no standard format, though at their maximumum they appear to be street/ parish [or hamlet] / place/ county / country.
Possibly it would be necessary to have fields for each of these.
How would this work in practice?
Some examples I have encountered today.
a] “Clenkilty, nr.Bannon, Ireland”
This appears to be Clonakilty in County Cork, Ireland and a field for standard spelling might thererfore have
Clonakilty, nr. Bannon, [Cork], Ireland.
b] “St.Giles” as this is the Middlesex Sessions, it is almost certain that St.Giles-in-the-Fields, Middlesex, is meant, and this could be added in the new column.
If it is impossible to add a field for standard place-names, could firm guidance be issued on the expansion of abbreviations and contractions, particularly of county names?

2] The trial day and month/sessions columns. The way the records are kept, means that a trial at the October sessions sometimes took place in November. At the moment I am addeing the correct month to the day column, which the system is not happy with !
Sometimes a trial was delayed, so the trial date is actiually the following month or year – agin, there is no facility to correctly show this. Perhaps the description “October Sessions 1800″ should be part of the header, as it is in the original, then the correct day, month and year of the trial could be shown.

3] the sentence is somtimes commuted or varied on appeal – perhaps an extra column is needed for this?

Lastly, Could there be a clear link on the page for a moderator for each project where keyers could ask questions and receive replies quickly?

Regards
John Henley [johnfhh48]

The record I am currently working on does not include a sentence for all indviduals tried, just a check mark. These check marks are not in a column, rather they are between columns. What am I supposed to key in?

What are some of the upcoming projects? I am keen to see some more British and hopefully at some point, Australian registers/imformation. As an Australian with a predonimately British ancestory – including convicts – I am keen for these!