Thursday, February 21, 2013

Is This my Cousin in the FindMyPast Criminal and Prisoner Collection?

FindMyPast recently added a collection of historical criminal records from England and Wales for 1770 to 1934 - you can read their news release on the FindMyPast blog at

One of my family stories is that my second great-grandfather, James Richman (1821-1912), left Wiltshire in 1855 for America because he had been accused of stealing coal on the Avon and Kennett Canal near Hilperton in Wiltshire.  The story also is that he was charged, tried, but acquitted.

So I decided to see if there is a record for my 2nd great-grandfather in the FindMyPast collection.  Unfortunately, he is not.

I searched the collection for any Richman in Wilshire and found one:

This is one page from the collection, and reflects the Calendar of Prisoners Tried at the General Quarter Sessions of the Peace at Devizes, Wiltshire during January 1898.  The information in this document includes:

*  No. 20
*  Name:  Henry Richman (Bailed on committal)
*  Age:  48
*  Occupation:  Farmer
*  Degree of Instruction:  Imp.
*  Name and Address of Committing Magistrate:  The Hon. and Rev. Henry Canon Sidney Meade, Frankleigh House, Bradford-on-Avon, And Another.
*  Date of Warrant:  Dec. 29th
*  When Received Into Custody:  1897, Dec 23 
*  Offence as charged in the indictment:  Felonious stealing of ten tons of mixed hay, value £10, the property of George Leonard Cullimore, at Haugh, on the 21st December 1897
*  When tried:  [no entry]
*  Before whom tried: [no entry]
*  Verdict of the jury: Bill ignored
*  Particulars of previous convictions charged in the indictment and proved in Court: [no entry]
*  Sentence or Order of the Court:  [no entry]

I don't know if I'm related or not to this Henry Richman, a 48-year old resident of Bradford-on-Avon, perhaps born in 1849.  My Richman's were near Bradford-on-Avon in Hilperton in 1849, and several Richman cousins resided in Bradford-on-Avon after 1850 (in fact, James Richman's brother, John Richman (1815-1884) died there).

A search of the 1841 to 1901 England census records on FindMyPast reveals only one Henry Richman in Wiltshire in the 1840 to 1850 time period.

*  There is a birth entry in 1840 for a Henry Richman of Warminster, Wiltshire.
*  The 1841 England census for Hilperton shows a 2-month old Henry Richman, born in Hilperton, the son of William and Jane (Bishop) Richman.
*  The 1851 England census for Hilperton shows a 10 year old Henry Richman, born in Hilperton, son of William and Jane Richman.
*  The 1861 England census for Hilperton shows a 20 year old Henry Richman, born in Hilperton, son of William and Jane Richman.
*  The 1871 England census for Hilperton shows a 30 year old Henry Richman, born in Hilperton, with a wife Rosina (aged 27), and two houses above William and Jane Richman on the enumeration.
*  The 1891 England census for Beechingstoke (??) shows a 45 year old Henry Richman, born in Hilperton, a farmer, with a wife Rose (age 40).
*  The 1911 England census for Bishop Cannings parish of Devizes Registraton District shows a 71 year old Henry Richman, born in Hilperton, with a wife Ruth, age 57.

Since this is the only Henry Richman that is close to matching the criminal record, my hypothesis is that Henry Richman, son of William and Jane (Bishop) Richman, is the person in the criminal record.  There are, as can be seen, some evidence conflicts between the census records and the criminal record that need to be resolved.  I realize that I haven't considered Henry Richman's born in other Counties or perhaps residing in other Counties in the census records.

Unfortunately, I don't know the parents of this Henry Richman's father, William Richman (1809-1884) born in Hilperton.  I have several William Richman persons in my database born in the 1790 to 1820 time period, but cannot connect them to parents due to the lack of parish record baptism entries in this time period.

I may still find a criminal record for my James Richman - FindMyPast has only about 20% of the complete Criminal records collection online at this time.

That was a fun hour!!  I love doing unscheduled posts like this - I usually learn something about available records, search techniques, and sometimes even find a distant cousin!

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

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