My PhD will explore the impact of digitisation on the study of the history of crime, drawing on the experiences of genealogists, historians, students, writers and teachers.
I am particularly hoping to reach out to family historians. Family historians have appreciated the value of ‘crime records’ since before the advent of the internet to say nothing of the digitisation of crime records. However it is probably true to say that most would have sought out a criminal ancestor based on family lore. With the advent of digitisation criminal ancestors can be stumbled upon. A previously unknown episode in the history of the family can be revealed.
From my initial conversations I have found that when confronted with a previously unknown criminal ancestor or an ancestor whose criminal activity was unknown descendants react in many different ways: from amusement to horror. I have witnessed descendants shrug off, laugh, be embarrassed by, and take pride in their criminal forbearers. My research will explore how researchers integrate an ancestor from a criminal record into their family story.
If your ancestor or the subject of your research was recorded as part of a court or criminal record, get in touch.
My other research interests include the history of juvenile crime in Ireland. My MA (2014) was entitled ‘The Children of Dublin’s Prisons 1859-1891, Containment and Confinement in the City’. I intend expanding on this work over the coming years, to encompass the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the whole island.
Small Lives: Photographs of Irish Childhood 1860-1970 published by Gill & Macmillan
The Day Job