This article conveys the experience of designing, creating and analysing a Microsoft Access Database application in support of research into events in the lives of youth convicts, transported to Australia between 1826 and 1837, as reconstructed from the surviving institutional records. The source is an unpublished assignment submitted by the author for the Advanced Diploma in Local History, Department of Continuing Education, University of Oxford, 2013.
The early nineteenth century was a period that saw the displacement of rural labour, the loss of youth apprenticeships and a rapid increase in urban populations of over 40 per cent; predominantly comprised of the young . As a consequence, with employment scarce, juveniles formed a large proportion of the criminal class . At the same time, from the 1820s, the impact of Peel’s law reforms removed the primacy of the death penalty even though the numbers of those capitally convicted rose three-fold from 1825 to 1835: and, transportation remained the option for those considered to be serious offenders, which was equally applied to the young, those under sixteen . Public attitudes equally evoked anguish at the state of the ‘soul of the little ragged urchin’ and fear of a ‘hostile power’ and this debate, with its legislative consequences, shaped youths’ experience of the criminal justice system . This article is concerned with investigating this experience for a number of youths, recorded in the proceedings of the Old Bailey Online for trials between 1822 and 1836, many of whom were held on a convict prison hulk for boys, from which they were transferred for transportation to Australia . The approach taken is to set the historical context for the crimes selected and design a database that uses institutional sources to record details of each individual in their journey through the criminal justice system; while, at the same time providing aggregate data about cohorts, in answer to the research question ‘what can be understood about the lives of youths in the criminal justice system from the institutional records of their time’ . A number of approaches to table and query design, in a relational database, are considered in support of this dual goal: and, the preferred table structure and query design tested in terms of analyses for the research question. A conclusion is drawn as to the value of this application as a tool for historical research. The majority of youths transported to South-Eastern Australia were for crimes of larceny, in the hope that reform would arise from this punishment, and has left a trail of institutional records that can be used to analyse the research question. Contemporary stereotypes of juvenile criminals fed on the Proceedings of ‘serious’ crimes, at the Old Bailey, including pickpocketing, burglary and crimes of violence: and, for those under sixteen who were transported to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) and New South Wales between 1787 and 1852, some 94 per cent were for crimes of larceny . Transportation offered more than just removal in the hope that a boy would work off his assignment and gain a ‘ticket-of-leave’ only to set out anew in a new land. From 1824, hulks, such as the Euryalus, were set aside for youths in a separation from adults that sought reform but that, through criminal ‘contamination’, failed. A more directed regime of purely youth reform was instituted at Point Puer, in Tasmania, in 1834 which used separation, religious instruction and silence as well as discipline and learning a trade: with over 3,000 boys put through its fifteen years of operation . These reforms and institutions have left a trail of records which offer a rich source with which to study the experience of the individuals and cohorts. Eighteen individuals were identified from the Online Proceedings of the Old Bailey (OBP), from 1822 to 1836, which provides partial transcripts for many of the trials for serious crimes, committed in London and Middlesex, and which by 1778 became a formal basis for reports to the King concerning whether the convicts should be pardoned or executed; and, which is available online (table one) . Consistent with its scholastic use, the OBP was a starting point from which original records or images were then sourced from The National Archives, the State Library in Tasmania and New South Wales in order to build a database in support of the research question . However, as for many historians, the topic of research is selected but the precise purpose to which the data will be put is not entirely clear: and, as a consequence the table design of a database application must offer flexibility at the cost of simplicity .
Defendants Sourced from the OBP Online
The research question requires a table design that is method-oriented but also supports a breath of analysis, and hence is organised around four entities and their relationships. Denley’s task comparison between model-oriented and source-oriented table design is used to profile this project which: is not prescriptive of question nor seeks a particular outcome but is oriented to learning; accepts an abstraction of data with moderate retention of sources and original text; balances a quantitative view of cohort data and an events view of an individual; is time pressured with results expected; and, readily accepts the use of ‘mainstream’ tools (table two) . Table 2: Research Project Approach: Task Parameters
For the detailed table design, the PBE is preferred which adopts entities for person, event as ‘factoid’, location and source: and, where a factoid is an assertion that accepts plurality of interpretation, while avoiding the Computer Science meaning of entity as object, both of post-modernist concern (figure one) . Similarly, this initial design will adopt the entities: Person, Events, Locations and Sources; for which, an event occurs at a location on a date, asserting an association with a person; the data for which is abstracted from a source; and, these tables will be tested using institutional events associated with the youths transported, to derive the final design.
Figure 1: The table Design of the PBE database
The final table design confirmed person for whom institutional events are asserted to occur at a location on a date with relationships that support queries of this, as well as, aggregate views of events for cohorts undergoing similar or different experiences. There are four types of events that each differ in their source data structures, namely: Bio details, now acknowledged as an event as it is date bound, as are Transportation, Trials and Other events; in, a design that allows for specialist input from specific sources and querying within a table, such as for height, by age, of youths tried the Old Bailey. Each person, is the focus of the research and experiences many events, on dates, at locations in a one-to-many relationship, for events that occur at locations in a many-to-one relationship; and, without any many-to-many relationships there is no need for a junction table (figure two) . Source, an entity in the initial design, is now incorporated within the event and location tables for ease of reference.
Figure 2: Youth Convict Transportee Database: Final Table Design
This design preserves a high degree of flexibility: in, the potential addition of new event types, such as census; and, supports the potential to scale up the project for all youths, in the OBP, who were transported to Point Puer or other locations. The issue of assertion is also supported by the opportunity to enter contrary views as other event types, such as in the interviews of youths by W.A. Miles, ‘an uneasy moral entrepreneur’, on the Euryalus in 1835 or the assertion by Cameron Nunn that Samuel Holmes was the source for the ‘Artful Dodger’ . All relationships create a record linkage between Person, Event and Location and this should support the simplification of data entry with some limitation of error, such as in the use of a location table; and, ensure that the results of queries are more accurate as the result of a deliberate selection of entity and attributes . Date is an issue, as in the interviews on the Euryalus in 1835, when only the year is recorded, requires a judgement over the nearest day and month of the event; also, events such as transportation, with a start and end date are treated as two different events for the purpose of record design. The records for Charles Downes included a variant ‘Downs’ which was verified as a synonym through record linkage across four different sources . Each table has a separate input form as the sources are quite distinct and lend themselves to project specialism. The person table conforms to the requirements of Third Normal Form (3NF) but for event tables location, name and source are deliberately retained to assist the historian: and, for scaling up, coding lists could be used and 3NF attained . Through trial and error, eight queries demonstrated learning in the use of SQL while, at the same time progressing enquiry across the research domain, for both the individual and the cohort. In figure three, the bio details sub query simply selects the biological details of those youths transported and recorded on arrival in Australia: and then modified, through selection criteria, to derive a list of those who were on the youth hulk ‘Euryalus’ or at Point Puer for whom the other events, post-trial, were later extracted to provide a cohort experience, held, to a degree, in common. The trial details provided a comparative view of the cohort and the value of all thefts were converted to decimal, through expression builder, and exported to MS Excel to derive an average value per guilty verdict. The recorded heights of a cohort were exported to Excel and graphed to provide a comparison with known research on the heights of London youth convicts. The issue of deriving a ‘biography’ for a selected person by query across all tables initially returned an error message “…ambiguous outer joins” which could be solved by repeatedly creating a query on one table that was then included in a subsequent query; although, it made more sense to collate this in the form of a report, compiled from sub-reports that extracted data on a particular event type; in an approach that achieved compilation but at the loss of header information, a known limitation of MS Access reporting
When populated with data from institutional records, the database supports the analysis and construction of a personal timeline as well as aggregate views of events occurring for cohorts that examine questions on the nature of penal reform in practice; and, through multiple source assertions supports contradiction and data verification. The power of the database to analyse and compile the events for a selected person is evident from the timeline constructed for Samuel Holmes which asserts: an early delinquency through to time on the youth prison hulk, Euryalus; with assignment to Point Puer, a youth penal reform prison, where he experienced punishments; and, later with a permission to marry recorded in 1847, possibly to Elizabeth Clark, both on ‘Tickets Of Leave’; and, by 1851, is free in occupation as a farmer, married with a female child recorded in the census (figure four).
Figure 4: The Institutional Biography of Samuel Holmes
Through record linking and querying, questions were raised, such as for Sarah Holmes, associated on the Tasmanian Convict Database with Samuel Holmes, who is not listed in this 1842 census record, for which there is no evidence of permission to marry; and similarly, of the assertion by Nunn, in 2011, that Holmes was the source for Charles Dickens’s ‘Artful Dodger’, whose description varies from that of the institutional source (figure five) . Three valuable views of cohorts are immediately evident from the data. Firstly, the Mile’s interviews on board the Euryalus, in 1835, assert that most of this cohort sentenced to transportation for seemingly minor larcenies were already known to the court and hence the severity of the sentences when compared to the cohort average theft value of 67 pence
Figure 5: The Artful Dodger and Samuel Holmes: A Source Comparison
Secondly, the height range of the cohort that arrived in Port Arthur, in 1836, is consistent with other findings that the average height of London criminal youths was shorter than the norm with the criminals’ average at: 53.5” for a 13 year old; 59.1” for a 16 year old; and, up to 61.4” for 18 years old as depicted in figure six
Figure 6: Cohort Heights: 1836 Arrivals at Point Puer
Thirdly, the establishment of Point Puer youth prison at Port Arthur, in Van Diemen’s Land, reflected a reform in penal policy and prison architecture with an expectation that through hard work, exposure to religion, education and vocational training youths would gain “a sense of worth, competence and even independence” (figure seven). This may well be the case, in that, despite evidence of regular punishments for Samuel Holmes and Charles Downes, while under a reform regime at Point Puer, the census of 1851 records Holmes as a farmer, married with a daughter and all three of Church of England faith, and not as dissenters which was one option on the census form; and for, James Edwards, under sentence of death in 1835, who is recorded as free in 1841
Figure 7: Point Puer Youth Prison: A Reform Architecture
In conclusion, this article conveys the experience of designing, creating and analysing a Microsoft Access Database application in support of research into events in the lives of youth convicts, transported to South-Eastern Australia, mainly for larceny, between 1826 and 1837, in a pursuit of the question ‘what can be understood about the lives of youths in the criminal justice system from the institutional records of their time’. Over this period, the impact of Peel’s law reforms removed the primacy of the death penalty and, with public attitudes equally evoking anguish and fear, the ensuing debate, with its legislative consequences, shaped youths’ experience of the criminal justice system. Youth prison hulks were considered to have failed and a more directed regime of purely youth reform was instituted at Point Puer, in Tasmania, which used separation, religious instruction and silence as well as discipline and learning a trade for 3,000 boys over its fifteen years of operation. In support, a relational database development took a method-oriented approach within which a table design adopted the four entities of person, event, location and source: and, which through refinement attained 3NF, in part, while retaining flexibility for the historian in a degree of record attribute redundancy; in a final design that provided record linkage of multiple sources of events that occur at a location and a date in a person’s life. Relationships created across and within tables, provided for individual and aggregate analysis of events for selected youths undergoing similar or different experiences. Trial and error, determined the most useful set of queries that demonstrated learning, while at the same time progressing enquiry across the research domain, and defined the associated input forms and output reports. When populated with data from institutional records, the database supports the analysis and construction of a personal timeline as well as aggregate views of events occurring for cohorts that examined questions on: the nature of penal reform in practice; height ranges by age; aggregate data on theft values; and, record linking of multiple assertions that surfaced further questions and supported data verification. In these outcomes, the database has demonstrated a very clear value and the potential for a scaling up, for example, for the 3000 youths who experienced Point Puer, where records survive, and supports an examination of changes in prison reform, as well as offering potentially new lines of enquiry such as average heights, between dates, and the relationship to prison diet. BIBLIOGRAPHY PRIMARY SOURCES Convict Applications to Marry CON 52/1/2 URL: http://digital.statelibrary.tas.gov.au accessed 4th April 2013 Convict Arrivals in Tasmania 1836 HO 10/29 The National Archive Convict hulks moored at Chatham: Fortitude, Euryalus: Register of prisoners. HO 9/2 Email and download: URL: Discovery @ The National Archive Digital download DODelFilesDigitalMicrofilm-HO-9-2-0-1 Hulk Euryalus accessed 2nd April 2013 Convict records Office CON 18/1/1, CON 18/1/4, CON18/1/7 CON18/1/13 Tasmania Archive and Heritage URL: http://search.archives.tas.gov.au/ accessed 15th March 2013 Convict records http://portal.archives.tas.gov.au accessed 4th April 2013 Hitchcock,T., Shoemaker, R., Emsley, R., Howard, S. and McLaughlin, J.,et al., The Old Bailey Proceedings Online (OBP), 1674-1913 (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.0, 24 March 2012). London & Middlesex Calendar of Prisoners: Gaol of Newgate HO 77/29, HO 77/31, HO 77/32 & HO 77/42, The National Archive Recommended Conditional Pardon, Thomas, James, 1844 URL: http://srwww.records.nsw.gov.au/indexes/searchform.aspx?id=65 accessed 2nd April 2013 Register of Criminals Petitions HO 19 /6 for 1824, The National Archive Tasmanian Census Records 1842 CEN1/1/39, 1848 CEN1/1/90, 1851 CEN1/1/108 URL: http://digital.statelibrary.tas.gov.au accessed 4th April 2013 Transportee biography.accdb in ADLH_Turnbull_assignment5_dbase SECONDARY SOURCES Beatttie, J.M. (1986) Crime and the Courts in England 1660-1800 Clarendon Press Duckworth, J. (2002) Fagin’s Children: Criminal Children in Victorian England Hambledon and London Emsley, C. (1990) Crime and Society in England 1750-1900 Longman Group UK Hitchcock,T. and Shoemaker,R. (2006) Digitising History From Below: The Old Bailey Proceedings Online, 1674–1834, History Compass, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp. 193–202 Pearson, G. (1983) Hooligan: A History of Respectable Fears Macmillan Press Shore, H. (1999) Youth and Crime in Early Nineteenth-Century London The Boydell Press Tosh, J. with Lang, S. (2006) The Pursuit of History Pearson Longman White, J. (2007) London in the Nineteenth Century: "A Human Awful Wonder of God!" London: Capel INTERNET SOURCES Arrivals and departures Australian National Maritime Museum URL:http://www.anmm.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=1483 accessed 14th April 2013 Bradley, J. and Short, H. (2002) Using Formal Structures to Create Complex Relationships: The Prosopography of the Byzantine Empire – A Case Study in Keats-Rohan, K.S.B., Ed., Resourcing Sources Prosopographica et Genealogica, vol. 7 Oxford Unit for Prosopographical Research, Linacre College URL: books.google.co.uk/books accessed 8th April 2013 Bradley, J. and Short, H. (2005) Texts into Databases: The Evolving Field of New-style Prosopography Literary and Linguistic Computing 20, pp.3-24 URL: http://ezproxy.ouls.ox.ac.uk:2419/citmgr?gca=litlin;20/Suppl/3 accessed 11th March 2013 Boute, B., (2001): Towards More Uniforms Databases for Prosopographical Research Database The Example of the Lovanienses *T URL: users.ox.ac.uk/~prosop/boute.pdf accessed 9th April 2013 Bulger, M. Meyer, E.T. de la Flor, G. Terras, M. Wyatt, S. Jirotka, M. Eccles, K. and Madsen, C. (2011) Reinventing Research? Information practices in the humanities A Research Information Network Report URL: www.rin.ac.uk/system/.../Humanities_Case_Studies accessed 28th March 2013 Burns, A. Fincham, K & Taylor, S. (2004) Reconstructing Clerical Careers: The Experience of the Clergy of the Church of England Database The Journal of Ecclesiastical History / Volume 55 / Issue 04 / October 2004, pp 726 - 737 URL: http://dx.doi.org/ accessed 23rd April 2013 Codd, E. F. ((1970) A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks in Communications of the ACM Volume 16, Issue Number 6, June, pp. 377-387 URL: Http://www.seas.upenn.edu/~zives/03f/cis550/codd.pdf accessed 11th April 2011 Convict ships to Port Arthur, New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land URL: http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/state-archives/guides-and-finding-aids/using-the-archives-resources-kit/convict-records/convict-records#arrivals-to-the-colony accessed 15th March 2013 Denley, P (1994) Models, Sources and Users: Using Historical Database Design in the 1990s History and Computing Volume 6: Issue 2, pp.33-43 URL: https://docs.google.com accessed 23rd April 2013 Dickens, C (1866) The Adventures of Oliver Twist, Chapman & Hall URL: http://books.google.co.uk accessed 23rd April 2013 Dow, G. and Brand, I (1986) ‘“Cruel only to be kind” ? Arthur’s Point Puer’, History of Education Review, Vol. 15, No. 1, p.24 cited in Newman, T (2005) Becoming Tasmania: Renaming Van Diemen’s Land Parliament of Tasmania, URL: http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/php/BecomingTasmania/BTMainPage.htm accessed 23rd April 2013 Gandevia, B. (1978) Tears Often Shed: Child Health and Welfare in Australia from 1788 Pergamon Press, NSW cited in Slee, J. (2003) Point Puer URL: www.keyportarthur.org.au/1056/Point%20Puer%20article.pdf accessed 16th April 2013 History of the Metropolitan Police Force http://www.met.police.uk/history/timeline1829-1849.htm accessed 29th March 2013 Keats-Rohan, K.S.B. (2007) ‘Biography, Names and identity: Understanding the pursuit of the individual in prosopography’ in Keats-Rohan, K.S.B. ed., (2007) Prosopography Approaches and Applications. A Handbook, (Occasional Publication of the Unit for Prosopographical Research Vol. 13, Oxford), URL: http://prosopography.modhist.ox.ac.uk/course_syllabuses.htm accessed 7th April 2013 Kent, W. (1983) "A Simple Guide to Five Normal Forms in Relational Database Theory", Communications of the ACM 26(2), URL: http://www.bkent.net/Doc/simple5.htm accessed 23rd April 2013 Kleisner K, Priplatova L, Frost P, Flegr J (2013) Trustworthy-Looking Face Meets Brown Eyes. Abstract Pelli, D.GT. ed. New York University PLoS ONE 8(1): e53285. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053285 accessed 27th April 2013 Magery, S. (1978) The Invention of Juvenile Delinquency in Early Nineteenth-Century England. Labour History, No. 34 (May, 1978), pp. 11-27 URL: URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27508306 accessed 7th April 2013 Mathisen, R.W. (2007) Where are all the PDBs?: The Creation of Prosopographical Databases for the Ancient and Medieval Worlds in Keats-Rohan, K.S.B. ed., (2007) Prosopography Approaches and Applications A Handbook, Prosopographica et Genealogica 13 URL: http://prosopography.modhist.ox.ac.uk/course_syllabuses.htm accessed 7th April 2013 Meridith, D. and Oxley, D (2007) Condemned to the Colonies Leidschrift, Jaargang 22, Nummer 1, pp.19-39 URL: www.leidschrift.nl/.../condemned-to-the-colonies/download accessed 3rd April 2013 Merry, M. Databases for Historians: Designing Databases for Historical Research URL: http://www.history.ac.uk/research-training/browse/online accessed 28th March 2013 MS Access Sub Reports header information http://www.thepoorhouse.org.uk/faking_page_headers_on_a_microsoft_access_subreport accessed 27th April 2013 Murman, J.P., (2010) Constructing Relational Databases to Study Life Histories on Your PC or Mac Database Developments: Historical Methods, July-September, Volume 43, Number 3 URL: professor-murmann.net/.../murmann_constructing_databases.pdf accessed 10th April 2013 Nunn, C. 20/9/2011 quoted in http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/3806414/Child-thief-who-was-real-Artful-Dodger.html accessed 10th March 2013 Philips, D. (1987) ‘An Uneasy Moral Entrepreneur in England and Australia: William Augustus Miles on Police, Pauperism and Crime in the 1830s and 40s’ (Paper delivered at the Fifth Australian Modern British History Association Conference, University of Melbourne, November,1987) cited in Shore, H. (2002) Transportation, Penal Ideology and the Experience of Juvenile Offenders in England and Australia in the Early Nineteenth Century, Crime, History & Society, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 81-102 UR: http://chs.revues.org/index416.html accessed 30th March 2012 Phillips, N. (2010) Parenting the Profligate Son: Masculinity, Gentility and Juvenile Delinquency in England, 1791–1814 Gender & History, Volume 22, No. 1, pp.92-108 URL: http://ezproxy.ouls.ox.ac.uk:4575/doi/10.1111/gend.2010.22.issue-1/issuetoc accessed 15th March 2013 Point Puer in Jackman, G. (2001) Get Thee to Church: hard work, Godliness and Australia’s first rural reformatory Australian Historical Archaeology, Volume 19 URL: https://docs.google.com/viewer accessed 17th April 2013 Point Puer Intakes Section 7.3 in Newman, T. URL:http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/php/BecomingTasmania/ConvictPoint%20Puer08.pdf accessed 10th March 2013 Shoemaker, R.B. (2008) The Old Bailey Proceedings and the Representation of Crime and Criminal Justice in Eighteenth-Century London Journal of British Studies 47, pp. 559-580 URL; eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/4697/1/shoemakerr2.pdf accessed 7th April 2013 Shoemaker, R et al (2011) Data Mining with Criminal Intent Final White Paper URL: criminalintent.org/wp.../Data-Mining-with-Criminal-Intent-Final1.pdf accessed 8th April 2013 Shoemaker, R., (2005) "Digital London: Creating a searchable web of interlinked sources on eighteenth century London", Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 39 Issue: 4, pp.297 - 311 Shore, H. (2002) Transportation, Penal Ideology and the Experience of Juvenile Offenders in England and Australia in the Early Nineteenth Century, Crime, History & Society, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 81-102 UR: http://chs.revues.org/index416.html accessed 30th March 2012 Verboven, K. Carlier, M. and Dumolyn, J. (2007) A Short Manual to the Art of Prosopography URL:prosopography.modhist.ox.ac.uk/images/01%20Verboven%20pdf.pdf accessed 29th March 2013 Voltaire (1767) L'Ingénu quoted in Harbottle, T.B. and Dalbiac, P.H. (1908) Dictionary of Quotations Swan Sonnenschein & Co. URL: http://archive.org/details/ost-french-dictionaryquota02dalbgoog accessed 29th March 2013