A newly published archive of 19th-century Irish "wanted" posters allows family historians to uncover whether their ancestors were involved in historic criminal activity.
The Law Reform Commission’s Statute Law Revision Programme (SLRP) has recently published an archive of more than 2,500 proclamations, which offered rewards for apprehending suspects around Ireland between 1821 and 1860.
Fiona Carroll, a solicitor with the SLRP, told the Sunday Business Post that "the question of whether your namesake was the local felon" has sparked interest among family historians.
"It definitely offers a new element to a person’s family tree," Carroll told the Business Post.
The proclamations include a wide variety of offenses, including robbery, arson, and murder in addition to more unusual crimes such as breaking an egg and beating someone with nettles.
Another proclamation lists that a man is wanted after causing death by hitting someone in the head with a pitchfork.
A total of 426 proclamations were issued in Tipperary - the most of any county - while the fewest proclamations were issued in Kerry (15).
In some cases, the suspect is named in the proclamation, while the victim is named in others.
The SLRP, a national program aiming to identify and remove outdated primary and secondary legislation, is aiming to bring greater clarity to the Irish statute book.
More than 3,000 obsolete laws could be removed from Irish statute books as part of the program.
The SLRP has launched a public consultation process to gauge public opinion on the proposals and previously consulted government departments.
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Irish statute law includes primary and secondary legislation, now referred to as acts and statutory instruments respectively. It also includes other instruments, such as charters, which predate the establishment of the Irish State in 1922.
All statute law in force in Ireland in 1922 was carried forward into the newly-founded Irish State.
Some laws that are slated for removal include an order for prayers and fasts for the abatement of cholera and an order for prayers following the birth of children to Queen Victoria.
The SLRP has only recommended the retention of two instruments in the statute book, with both relating to the limits of the River Shannon. Carroll told the Sunday Business Post that the two instruments continue to be valid for regulatory purposes.