English and Welsh trial records
The English and Welsh trial records can be found in the England & Wales Criminal Registers 1792 -1892 available on Ancestry. The following information can typically be found on the registers:
- crime, date and place of trial
- when and where received
- date of execution or release
- by whom committed and to whom delivered.
A convict's birth place may be listed on later records.
These records have also been microfilmed as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) collection (HO 26 & HO 27). When consulting the microfilm, use the date of trial from the convict indent to identify the correct microfilm reel from the AJCP Guide for the Home Office.
Records of London trials are available online through The Proceedings of the Old Bailey.
Irish trial records
Information about the crimes of some Irish convicts may be available in the Irish Transportation Records. An index is available through the National Archives of Ireland. Records are also available on microfilm in the Library on open access in the Newspaper and family history zone.
Many of the Irish trial records were destroyed in the 1922 fire at the National Archives of Ireland, Dublin. Records may exist if there was an appeal against the sentence.
Scottish trial records
To find trial records for Scottish convicts, search the National Archives of Scotland's website using the convict’s name. You may find a variety of records, including precognition records which usually state the crime committed as well as other personal details about the accused.
Court martial records
For convicts convicted in military Courts Martial, see the following Registers of Courts Martial held on microfilm in the AJCP collection:
- WO 86: District Courts Martial, 1829-1865
- WO 89: General courts martial, 1812-1829
- WO 90: General courts martial, abroad, 1796-1900
- WO 92: General courts martial, Registers, 1806-1838
- WO 93: Miscellaneous records, 1806-1833
Some civilians may have been tried at Courts Martial if the country or area was under martial law. See the AJCP War Office Handbook for microfilm numbers and request this material via the catalogue to view it in the Library's Newspapers and Family History zone of the Library.
Trial by media
A report of the convict’s trial may appear in a newspaper of the time, often newspapers may be the only source of information about a convict's trial. Try the online newspaper services in eResources:
Alternatively, search the catalogue for relevant newspapers on microfilm.
The British Newspaper Archive may also have newspapers which mention a convict. It is free to search this archive, however you will need to purchase a subscription or pay a fee to view artilces.