United States Prison Admission Registers, Escapees (National Institute)

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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course United States: Institutional Records  by Amy Johnson Crow, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Admission Registers[edit | edit source]

Admission registers are similar to prisoner registers. Admission registers are often more detailed than prisoner registers, giving information not only about the inmate, but also his parents, siblings, education, and upbringing. Because admission registers are so similar to prisoner registers, the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Another term you will see used is “historical conduct record.”

The image below shows the admission register/historical conduct record entry for Charles Archer, admitted to the Ohio State Reformatory in 1897.[1] Like Samuel Rogers’ prison register, Charles Archer’s admission record give a lot of information and a lot of clues:

Information in Record
Research Possibilities
Received: 17 January 1897

Birthplace: Noble County, Ohio

Age: 18
Born circa 1879. Look in Noble County, Ohio for birth record.
From what County Committed: Pickaway
Look in Pickaway County, Ohio court records for trial documents; look in Pickaway County newspapers for articles about the crime and the trial.
By what Court Committed:
Common Pleas
Crime Committed: Horse Stealing
Maximum Sentence: 15 years

White or Colored: White

Name and P.O. Address of Parents and Correspondents: Father Geo. Archer. Mother Mary Archer. P.O. Berne, Noble Co, O.
Parents living in 1897. Look for them in 1900 census.
Antecedents (His Ancestors):

Parents’ Age and Birthplace:
Father 42, -, Mother 39, Ohio

Habits: Good

Insanity: Never

Epilepsy: None

Pauper or Criminal: Neither

Education: Common School

Pecuniary Condition: Fair

Occupation: School Teacher

Religion: Catholic
Look for Catholic church records in Noble County, Ohio
How Reared (Himself)

At Home or Elsewhere: At home

Names and Ages of Brothers: Absolom 24, Norwood 12, Isaac 9, George 2, Bedy 1.
The oldest child was born circa 1873. Look for family in 1880 census. Look for marriage record of parents (perhaps circa 1871).
Names and Ages of Sisters: Rosie 20, Linia 19, Wanda 14, Nellie 6

Education: Common School

Occupation: Farmer

Religion: Catholic
Look for Catholic church records in Noble County, Ohio.
Associations: Bad

Previous Imprisonment or Arrest: First arrest
You know you do not have to look for earlier prison records.
Circumstances of Present Arrest: [blank]

[Physical description follows

Figure: Example Register from the Ohio State Reformatory 1897

Example Register17V.jpg

List of Escapees[edit | edit source]

The lure of the outside world proves too much for some inmates. Lists of escapees are just that—lists of prisoners who made a break for it. These records include information about the original crime, method of escape, whether the escape was successful. Some give information on punishment meted out to prison guards or administrators.

Figure: List of Escapees from Ohio Penitentiary

List of Escapees17V.jpg

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Ohio State Reformatory, Historical Conduct Record (Admissions), State Archives series 1706, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus.


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course US: Institutional Records offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at [1] wiki@genealogicalstudies.com We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.