Revealed: Mugshots of Fife’s criminals from the past

Pictures courtesy of on@Fife and - Mary Ann Brodie (or Henderson) was a prolific thief
Pictures courtesy of on@Fife and - Mary Ann Brodie (or Henderson) was a prolific thief

Nine hundred records and more than a thousand historic images of criminals convicted in Fife in the early part of the 20th century have been published online for the first time.

The Fife, Scotland, Criminal Registers, 1910-1931 collection, has been digitised by Ancestry, the leader in family history and consumer genomics, from original records held by ON at Fife Archives.

This fascinating glimpse into the past gives details of convicts, their crimes and physical descriptions used to identify serial offenders.

And the photographs, some more than 100 years old, reveal the faces of men, women and children arrested in the region.

Their offences were recorded in registers, providing an essential tool to law enforcement in tracking those accused of crimes in the local area. The inclusion of photographs and physical descriptions, such as tattoos, scars and permanent injuries, helped police identify thieves, swindlers and violent individuals in the local area, especially as many were or became repeat offenders.

The records are searchable by name, birthplace, conviction date, discharge date and sentence. Verdicts ranged from reprimands for the youngest thieves through to imprisonment for days, months and even years in the harsh conditions of early 20th century prisons.

Ancestry’s Russell James said: “From baby-faced thieves to seasoned criminals, the Fife criminal registers are a stark reminder of the members of society trying to live beyond the laws of the land, their crimes captured in time just like their black and white mugshots.

“Whether you’re looking to find more information about a crime in your family history or curious to learn more about law and order in the 20th century, these records help add colour to all aspects of daily life in Scotland.”

To view the Fife, Scotland,Criminal Registers, 1910-1931 and more than 20 billion other historical records worldwide, visit