Posted by on July 3, 2014 in Family History

Dorset historical records

Abandon all hope, ye who enter Ancestry.co.uk today. There be pirates about, and they be thirsty for your blood.

Actually, strictly speaking, we’re hoping that our pirates already share your blood. These scurvy dogs – who appear as part of nine new Dorset record collections we’re launching today – are real historical people who could 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 new criminal collections.

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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 new 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