I'm still thinking it's a bit sad when some people disappear from official records and just can't be found...they are born and make it as far as the first census after their birth...and then that's it. No more records to say whether they died or moved from home to live with someone else...it's almost as though they hardly existed at all.

It's the same when the Hints pop up...and there will be one other person following the same tree and no-one else at all...yet another family will have dozens of people falling over themselves to trace their ancestors back. I've been making absolutely no headway whatsoever with my sister-in-laws tree...she knows very little which doesn't help much, but I've put the people she knows of down and haven't had one single solitary hint from anyone...even the official records. It's as though some people live their lives in a sort of limbo...

But I did find some interesting cases in the Criminal Records today...one man was charged with 'placing pieces of iron on a railway track' and another with 'throwing stones at a moving train' so vandalism was alive and well in 1878...! They were both sentenced to a month in prison. It's interesting to see how much the punishments had changed from the last records I looked at, which were from 1821 when it was all whipping and transportation with a few hangings for good measure. Then a couple were charged with 'attempting to conceal the birth of a child'...they were found guilty and went to prison for a week. There were a couple of poachers who had to hand over their guns and pay the landowner for the deer they'd shot...but escaped a custodial sentence...and one poor man who set a barn on fire and was charged with arson, but was found to be a lunatic and was sent to an asylum.

A crime I saw in the middle 1800's was two men convicted of 'malicious damage to a silk loom' and that crime came up again in another set of Criminal Registers from the 1830's when a gang of five men were accused of breaking into a factory and attempting to destroy a silk loom...I haven't investigated further yet, but I'm wondering if the deliberate destruction of factory equipment was connected to poor working conditions or the introduction of machinery to do the work which was once carried out by hand on small looms at home.

The mills in the North of England were notorious for dangerous working conditions...especially for small children who were employed to creep beneath the moving machinery to free any logs and jams in the equipment...

The deliberate destruction of machines which were thought to threaten one's liveihood were not confined to factories...those who worked the land were horror struck by the introduction of machinery...especially the first threshing machines which began to appear on farms as early as the 1840's. The machines weren't viewed as welcome labour saving devices, but percieved as a very real threat to people's jobs.

Much to my horror, I found an Irish connection in my English tree...a chap who was an English Earl, who owned vast tracts of county Wicklow...not because he particularly deserved owning a wodge of Irish soil mind you, but because he'd been given it by the King as a present...I've added him to my tree very quietly...hoping no-one will notice...the English Lords were infamous for owning most of Ireland...often classed as absentee landlords, they left a Bailiff in charge of the tenant farms while they continued to live in London.

Not that is was always the English landlords who made their tenants lives a misery...there was a particularly notorious Irish landlord by the name of Mahon who lived in Park House not far from us. The house is open to the public now but don't bother going in...apart from the kitchen, it's nothing special. The gardens are nice though. Mahon gathered up all three hundred of his small tenant farmers and sent them en masse to America during the Great Famine...he didn't pay for their voyage...they had to pay for that themselves and they went whether they wanted to or not. He used to send a couple of his servants into the town to blow on horns when he wanted to ride his coach down the main street...it was to make everyone disappear into their houses and shops so the main street was devoid of people as he passed down it...

A disgruntled servant shot him dead in the end.