Helen Johnston, Professor of Criminology at the University of Hull, alongside her colleague Professor Heather Shore, Professor of History, Manchester Metropolitan University is a key note speaker at RQG conference 2021 looking at researching criminal ancestors. We caught up with Helen about the background to their talk:
“As a student, I was first interested in criminal justice and punishment and then quickly discovered the history of imprisonment. This fascinated me and later led to a PhD in local imprisonment in the nineteenth century. since then I have continued my interest in the history of crime, criminal justice and punishment and increasing have focussed on the lives of those living and working in prisons in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Our talk is based on collaborative work we developed as part of a AHRC funded project called ‘Our Criminal Ancestors’ and that we continue to maintain. During this project we worked with archivists, heritage sites and the public to explore researching crime history through local archives and individual family history stories. This drew a wealth of discussion and information about those who had had contact with the criminal justice system in the past, as suspects, victims or as those who worked in the system.
Our talk will focus upon the detailed records that can be found relating to criminal justice in the past but we will also highlight potential pitfalls and challenges that dealing with such records presents.”
Find out more about the conference: https://www.qualifiedgenealogists.org/2021-conference