Saturday, October 3, 2009

Genealogy of Communities: Prisons

We might not like to think about the possibility of finding an ancestor in prison, but in her article, "Genealogy of Communities: Prisons," Judy Rosella Edwards makes the point that in earlier times, one did not have to be a hardened criminal to end up in some type of jail or prison. Of course, for some, the black sheep of the family are often the most interesting. And yes, census enumerators counted noses, even in prison. One of the more interesting points made in the article is that inmates' occupations, prior to imprisonment, are often listed, even those who were career thieves. The article also provides suggestions for researching those aboard prison ships and reminds us that the prison "community" was comprised of many people who were not prisoners, sometimes complete families resided on the grounds.

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