If you’re looking for information on your family’s history that includes someone who spent time in prison, you may want to consider tracing their incarceration through records. In this article, we’ll outline some of the ways you can track prisoners in your family history and provide a few tips for doing so.

Family History Resources

There are many ways to trace prisoners in your family history. Below are some resources to get you started:

  1. The National Archives has a database of all U.S. federal inmates since 1792. Search by prisoner name, state, or prison ID number.
  2. The Genealogy Library at the University of Virginia hosts an online database of prison records from all over Virginia. You can search by prisoner name, county, or year.
  3. Google has a public search engine for prison records that includes links to state archives and genealogical societies. Type in a prisoner’s name and state or country, and see if any records have been found.
  4. Use online genealogy databases such as Ancestry, FindMyPast, and Heritage Quest to search for prison records in your family tree. These databases include more than 100 million probate records and more than 1 million death records from around the world.
  5. Contact your local historical society or genealogical library to ask if they have any prison-related records that they can loan you for research purposes.

How to Trace Prisoners in Your Family History?


If you are looking for information on ancestors who were incarcerated during the past, tracing them can be a challenge. However, there are a few ways to approach this process. Below are some tips on how to trace prisoners in your family history:

  1. Search for records at state and national prisons. This can be done through online databases such as or through visiting the facilities in person. Information found at prison records can include prisoner identities, dates of incarceration, and the crimes they committed.
  2. Check census records. Census data provides an overview of the population at a particular time and can be used to identify prisoners who may have been living near you at that time. In addition, census data can help determine which prisons people were incarcerated in.
  3. Check military records. Military records can include documentation of prisoners who have served in the military. This information can include prisoner identities, dates of service, and the crimes they were convicted of.
  4. Research genealogical societies or archives that focus on prison-related families. These resources may be able to provide additional information about prisoners in your family tree or connect you with other researchers who are also interested in this topic.



In this article, we will explore some of the ways you can trace prisoners in your family history. By doing so, you can learn more about your ancestors and see if there is a connection between them and a prison sentence. Additionally, by tracing prisoners through records, you might be able to identify relatives who were forced into labor or slavery after being arrested. There are many ways to investigate your family history and learn more about those that have gone before you; using any of the techniques outlined in this article is sure to help.