Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Criminal Past


In the news today, that the genealogy internet website, findmypast.com has released half a million records.  We’re not talking pop songs, criminal ones.  Dating from 1770 to 1934 there are court papers, verdicts sentences & mug shots of the criminals, with another two million to be further released in the future.

Now anyone can trace the history of their dubious family members that no one ever talked about.  With the documents having to be painstakingly scanned in one by one, it’s a mundane task likened to breaking up rocks on the chain gang.    

No one is going to want to find out that they have no criminals in their families past; the very point of logging on will be to gain some notoriety for the family by having a murderer in the ranks.  For a lot of people discovering that they have a burglar or thief in the clan won’t be anything new, but as a topic, tracing your family history is always something that excites.

Records specialists are saying it’s a fascinating insight to ordinary people’s lives, which in a way tars ‘ordinary’ people with the same criminal brush.  They can flower it up as much as they like saying things such as, you’ll get a picture of how people were trying to reform society when trade unions were illegal, but at the end of the day we are all going to be on there trying to locate great, great, great uncle ‘jailbird’ Smith or Jones.

Having criminals in the so far distant annals of history is acceptable & bordering on being cool.  Not sure how far into the future little cousin Asbo terrorising the community & robbing them blind will be acknowledged as cool, but I’m sure like a lot of past criminals, he would have been a victim of circumstance. Not that the felons of bygone would have had ‘ADHD’ to blame their appalling behaviour on which is favoured by todays up and coming lawbreakers.  

The site can also be used to trace the more famous of histories not so ordinary criminal people such as Oscar Wilde or Emily Pankhurst, but in return for some poor unfortunate having to scan in the records, there will be a fee to do so, only fair I guess.  Hope it’s not extortionate, that would be just………criminal.

The author would like to wholeheartedly & sincerely apologise for the previous inexcusable witticism.  It was cheap & a low endeavour at humour that was as subtle as a square house building block striking the rear of the cranium.  Sorry. 

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