The following information comes from The National Archives:
“Find the villain in your family tree by exploring criminal records online. You can now search judges’ reports on criminals between 1784 and 1830 by name, place and crime committed. We have enhanced our catalogue entries to provide more information than ever before, including details of the sentence. You may uncover an ancestor charged with a bizarre offence.
“For example, Francis Smith was famously convicted in 1804 for the murder of the ‘Hammersmith ghost’. This ‘ghost’ turned out to be a plasterer, dressed in white and on his way home through a graveyard! You could unearth lots of interesting details about your criminal ancestor.
“To speed up your search, simply enter their family name on the catalogue search page and put ‘HO 47′ in the department code field. Start your detective work now and add some rogues to your family tree.”