On the right is a record from the collection – click on the image for a larger version. The record tells the story of charwoman Charlotte Smith, also known as Elizabeth Smith. Charlotte was convicted of being a habitual drunkard in 1903 and sentenced to one month of hard labour.
As well as two photos, the record also provides a detailed physical description: Charlotte was 5ft 5 inches tall with a stout build, fresh complexion, oval face, dark brown hair and blue eyes. She had a slightly pug nose and scars over left eyebrow, right cheek, right side of neck, left side of lower lip and palm of left hand.
The same documents often lists names and locations of victims and witnesses. Even if your ancestor was not the criminal, you often can find information about your ancestor and the life he or she led.
You can learn more at http://www.findmypast.co.uk/content/news/crime-prisons-punishment.
My thanks to newsletter reader John Rees for telling me about this new collection.