Thursday 12 May 2016

Dublin Metropolitan Police's Prisoners Books released

Another wonderful family history resource has become available thanks to UCD Digital Collections: the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) Prisoner Books.

Schoolboys' caper: larceny of chocolates
Launched yesterday at Liberty Hall, these records date from Ireland's revolutionary era and include all manner of crimes listed in register pages headed 'Prisoners charged with offences involving dishonesty'. Many of the entries report soldiers who'd been picked up having gone AWOL from their regiment and were swiftly handed over to military escorts, but there is also a high proportion of entries for petty theft, such as the 'larceny of chocolates' (see image), for which 13-year old Christopher Boylan and 11-year-old Patrick Creed were arrested in July 1916.

Among the other charges I spotted in a quick review of Prisoner Book 5 were Bigamy (John Brown, soldier who received 8 months imprionment), Palmistry (Christina Brophy, who was handed over to her husband), Cruelty to children (Thomas Darcy, who received 6 months hard labour) and Defence of the Realm (Constance Markieviez and Maud Gonne MacBride, among others, handed over for internment).

Each of the entries in the books records date and place of arrest (DMP station), name, age, occupation, address, alleged offence, name of magistrate/judge and, in most cases, the sentence or outcome of their hearing.

The four books are estimated to hold details of around 30,000 people. There are indexes for each volume, arranged by surname. They're not fully alphabetical, but the surnames are grouped according to their first letter, ie all surnames starting with 'S' are together.

Each book can be downloaded in pdf format and are dated as follows:

Prisoners book 1 : 1905-07 (105 Mb)
Prisoners book 3 : 1911-13 (123 Mb)
Prisoners book 4 : 1913-15 (108 Mb)
Prisoners book 5 : 1916-18 (109 Mb)

See UCD Digital Collections dedicated page here.