Friday, 11 November 2011

Prison hulk records and Ancestry updates

Ancestry's what's new page is showing a new prison records collection, although it is stating it to be an update rather than new. However, the American Ancestry based World Archives Project blog at is showing it as a new release. The collection is the UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849 set - here's the blurb from the site:

This collection consists of registers and letter books of prisoners on convict prison hulks in England between 1802-1849. A hulk is a decommissioned ship that is either technologically out of date or cannot make it through the open sea without taking on water, but is still able to float without problems. There were many of these ships available when engines started to power ships instead of sails, so the hulks were moored in harbors and used as floating prisons or for other purposes. The hulks’ place in harbors also made it easier to hold and transport convicts being sent to Australia. The first prison hulks in England appeared after a 1776 act allowed them to be used to house prisoners.

The collection contains a letter book relating to the establishment of hulks written from 1847-1849 and the registers of prisoners on 19 different hulks between 1802-1849. The registers contain:

Date received
Birth year
Date convicted
Where convicted
More about this collection

After the prison hulk named the Captivity was broken up in 1816, convicts were transferred to the Leviathan. The National Archives cites these records as belonging to the Captivity, with reservations. has cited these records as belonging to the Leviathan, with reservations.

Ancestry also notes updates to the following collections for London, but as is the practice with Ancestry, there's no note of what the update actually is - so it may be worth having another look just in case:

London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921
London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812
London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906
London, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1980
London, England, Poor Law Records, 1834-1940


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