You may find an ancestor here! Are you sure you want to know?
Ancestry posted a notice of a new database added on Saturday. That's unusual, they normally only add material on weekdays. The database contains criminal registers from England and Wales for the years 1791-1892. Apparently viewing the index results is free, but you need subscription access to view the register images.
Information listed may include:
- Name of criminal (or person charged)
- Birthplace (not often listed after 1802)
- When and where tried
- Sentence (death, transportation, imprisonment, acquittal, etc.)
- Where and when received
- Date of execution or release
- By whom committed, to whom delivered
Ancestry advises that register entries may lead you to further information in: calendars of prisoners; prison registers; court records such as depositions, indictments, and case files; warrants, including pardons, reprieves, and transfers of prisoners; and transportation records. The online search guide “Tracing 19th and 20th Century Criminals”, from TNA is recommended.
Also don't overlook the possibility of finding a report in a contemporary newspaper in the British Library 19th Century digitized collection.