The Irish collection of Dublin Prison Registers contains details of people incarcerated in the city prison between 1836 and 1840.
The collection has just under thirty thousand records.
This article looks at what you’ll find in this collection on Find My Past. We also give you tips on searching for what you need.
What is In The Dublin Prison Registers?
Don’t be surprised if some of your ancestors turn up in the Dublin prison. It’s worth being aware of the history of this period.
Times were hard, and some impoverished people resorted to robbery of food and goods to scratch out a living.
These were also turbulent political times with protests sometimes spilling into violence. A number of political offences were introduced in 1914 that targeted activists.
Dublin Metropolitan Police
These prison registers were prepared by the Dublin Metropolitan Police. The Dublin Police were one of two police organizations on the island.
The other was the Royal Irish Constabulary (the RIC). We’ve covered some of their records in another article. The RIC covered the entire country.
The Dublin Metropolitan Police were responsible for the capital city. Some of the crimes I’ve found in the registers include:
- larceny of bacon
- abducted a boy (the offender was a woman)
- assault and throwing missiles
What Do The Records Tell You?
If you’re browsing or searching the collection on Find My Past, the transcripts include these basic details:
- first and last name
- age and birth year
- date of event
- link to an image of the original document
The residence is where the person was living at the time of the offence. This is often a street address in Dublin. These could be temporary lodgings but I find it fascinating to see where my relatives lived at that time.
In many cases, the building will still be standing if you’re interested in seeing it. You may also find old photographs of buildings through a Google image search.
The link in the transcript jumps you to the online images digitized by University College Dublin.
Unfortunately, it just takes you to the front page image of one of four registers. You will have to browse through the entire image collection for that register to find the entry in the transcript.
This is unlike some other collections on Find My Past which jump you straight to the right page.
However, there are some extra details on the original pages. Perhaps most interesting is the actual sentence for the crime.
Some entries in the register have extra “remarks”.
How To Browse The Dublin Prison Registers On Find My Past
Here’s one way to browse the collection:
- Use the top Search menu to “Search all records”
- Set the country in the left navigation pane to Ireland
- Expand the “Institutions & organizations” category in the left pane
- Click on “Prison Registers”
- Click the “Browse Record set” link beside the Record set input box
Here’s a picture of the steps above.
The “Browse Record set” link opens a pop-up window that lists all the record sets under this chosen category within Ireland.
You’ll see the collection in the list. Select this record set and apply the filter.
There are nearly 30,000 records in the collection. You can now apply some extra search criteria.
You’ll do best by restricting your searches to names.
The records don’t include the original county or parish of the prisoner, so don’t try to filter on those locations.
Related Collections On Find My Past
If you find your relatives in the Dublin prison registers, then you could check these other collections below. Some cover a short time span so may not be relevant to you.
- Irish Petty Sessions on Find My Past (lowest court hearing minor offences)
- Tithe Defaulters (report of 1831)
- Outrage Reports on Find My Past (1836-1840)
You may also want to check whether the crime was covered in a newspaper. We have a review of newspapers on Find My Past.
If the prisoner is normally resident in Dublin, then you could check the Dublin Electoral Rolls on Find My Past.
Are The Dublin Prisoners Registers On Other Sites?
The original books were five large ledgers. Unfortunately, the whereabouts of one of the books is unknown!
The physical ledgers are held at the Garda Museum and Archives at Dublin Castle. These are the archives for the national police force (An Garda Siochana).
The digital images are held by University College Dublin. You can browse them online for free at this link.
Unfortunately, the image site doesn’t have search features.
Overview Of Irish Court And Prison Records
Check out our general overview of online archives of Irish court and prison records.
This covers the main paid and free sites that have collections with online access.