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Any Black Sheep?

sheepWhat does ‘Black Sheep’ mean? It is basically an expression used to describe a person who is a bit odd, naughty, scandalous, within a family. Just like in a herd of white sheep, that one black or off-color sheep stands out from the herd. So really a person classified as a ‘black sheep’ in the family does not have to mean they were evil or a criminal, instead, just different.

Yet, the true criminals or scandalous individuals do come from some family tree. This is why a site known as ‘Blacksheep Ancestors’ may assist the researcher in determining if they have any convicts, outlaws, pirates or even those ancestors who were ill and classified ‘angry people’.

The online site is broken into the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and International. Within each regional section the categories are prisons and convicts, outlaws, criminals, court records, executions and asylums.

The newest databases added within the United States included convict camp lists for 1930 in North and South Carolina, the State Reformatory for Women in Rhode Island in 1930, the Texas convict farm of 1900, the 1880 Reformatory Prison for Women in Massachusetts and the New Jersey jails in 1880 and 1900. Added also is the state prison rosters in 1930 for Utah, Alabama, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Georgia, Connecticut, Arkansas, Louisiana, California, Wyoming, Colorado, and Virginia, Florida, Illinois and Delaware. In the United Kingdom section many new prison lists were added dating back to 1871.

Within the regular sections such as American Convict and prison records, all states have information. For example in Maryland there are convicts fro England sent to Maryland in 1740, crimes committed in colonial Maryland, a large assortment of Maryland Court Records as well as executions performed in Maryland between 1638 to 1961.

It is not surprising that it is the ‘black sheep’ of a family that tend to have the most documents; court records, prison, parole, legal papers, etc. and just might be the easiest to trace.

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