Have you traced any criminal children in your ancestors? | The Nosey Genealogist's: Help Me With My Family Tree
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Have you traced any criminal children in your ancestors?

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist on October 21st, 2018

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.*


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It seems that many of us would like to find an ancestor in our family tree that has been on the wrong side of the law. For some reason many of us find them fascinating. Usually it is an adult that we trace, but what about children who have been caught carrying out a crime?


There is a new book on the Pen & Sword site that looks like it will fit the bill:

Criminal Children; Researching Juvenile Offenders 1820-1920 by Emma Watkins & Barry Godfrey


Criminal Children 1820-1920 - published by Pen and Sword Books


Here is the ‘blurb’ from the publishers:


How were criminal children dealt with in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? Over this hundred-year period, ideas about the way children should behave – and how they should be corrected when they misbehaved – changed dramatically, and Emma Watkins and Barry Godfrey, in this accessible and expert guide, provide a fascinating introduction to this neglected subject.

They describe a time in which ‘juvenile delinquency’ was ‘invented’, when the problem of youth crime and youth gangs developed, and society began to think about how to stop criminal children from developing into criminal adults. Through a selection of short biographies of child criminals, they give readers a direct view of the experience of children who spent time in prisons, reformatory schools, industrial schools and borstals, and those who were transported to Australia.

They also include a section showing how researchers can carry out their own research on child offenders, the records they will need and how to use them, so the book is a rare combination of academic guide and how-to-do-it manual. It offers readers cutting-edge scholarship by experts in the field and explains how they can explore the subject and find out about the lives of offending children.


To get your copy hop over to the Pen & Sword site as at the time of posting this (21 October 2018) there is a tidy 20% discount:





*Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links. This does not mean that you pay more just that I make a percentage on the sales from my links. The payments help me pay for the cost of running the site. You may like to read this explanation here:


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