Armed with knowledge from WANTED!, if I had a criminal ancestor here in Spokane County, I would make contact with the repository to inquire as to their research rules and regulations and then make an appointment to go look into the records."
It was surprising to learn about the wide variety of criminal records available and how they differ by both location and time period. If you decide to dig into an elusive criminal in your family's history, I recommend Ron Arons' WANTED! U.S. Criminal Records as a guidebook to criminal records.
Arons presents a useful guide to United States criminal records. It may help many to locate their scoundrels.
There are also plenty of published guides and reference works covering public records research. Many cover criminal records but none to my knowledge as comprehensively as Wanted! US Criminal Records-Sources & Research Methodology does. If Arons' work was a valuable research tool just for family historians, I would not be writing about it on LLB. Once I pry his publication out of the Blog Widow and her aunt's hands (well, most likely I will have to buy them a copy), it is going into our county law library reference collection because I know of no other research guide that is this comprehensive and detailed for investigating criminal records, all criminal records, not just digitized ones. The utility of Wanted! US Criminal Records-Sources & Research Methodology also clearly extends to professional historians, law profs and law students, sociologists and criminologists. Now they may not be the typical user of a county law library but academic law libraries, do take note. To effectively research criminal records, Arons writes "you have to understand what sources of information are available and you need guidelines for finding and working with these records." He provides both.
This is the book I've been waiting for.
Every library should have a copy [of this book].
An intrepid investigator, Ron Arons unflinchingly exposes the saga of Jewish criminality in the United states. All comprehensive histories of the American Jewish experience require serious considerations of Arons' well-documented findings.
Want to know why and how Jewish immigrants and their children ended up in prison? Read the descriptions and analyses offered by Ron Arons in The Jews of Sing-Sing: Gotham Gangsters & Gonuvim. Using excellent genealogical methodology, Ron, an accomplished speaker and author, delves into the lives of some of Sing Sing's Jewish inmates, and tells their stories. Fascinating reading!
I have to be very honest, when Ron contacted me I was very shocked. I did not think that many people read book reviews on Amazon.com. But it was a great surprise. The book I reviewed for Amazon had some misinformation about my grandfather which, quite honestly, upset me. I feel that if you are going to write about someone, at least get it right. I have learned more about my grandfather, "Dopey" Benny Fein, from Ron than from my own family. My family was not ashamed of Benny, but very little was known about him before he was married and started a family. Through Ron's tireless efforts and many long hours of research, a new "light" has been shed about Benny. My family never knew about the numerous arrests and incarcerations when he was a young man. I was more than happy to share my photos of Benny with Ron in exchange for all of the info he has shared with me and my family. Ron has a true love for what he does and I wish him all the success in the world for his new book The Jews of Sing-Sing.
Besides being a great read, The Jews of Sing-Sing is obviously the result of Herculean effort on the part of author Ron Arons. His prodigious research yields novel explanations for the roots and extent of Jewish crime, particularly in New York, but also throughout America. It's a story that has been tightly held by Jewish civic leaders who preferred to address it privately. Now, finally, the rest of us can read about this fascinating topic in all its scope.
Ron Arons presents us with incredibly researched detail of selected Jews of Sing-Sing. While one might immediately think of the infamous, Arons tells us the minutia of largely unknown Jewish criminals who served time in this historic prison. While there are chapters that serve as memoir of Arons' great-grandfather's experiences, the inclusion of other Jewish criminals takes this book onto a little ventured path with broader sociological and historical implications. Impeccable detail which not only tells us the major and minor factoids of the criminals but also serves as instructive of both the luck and thought process of thorough research as the reader is treated to the journey of Arons' personal thrill of discovery. We are exposed to Jews as representing a full array of criminality: thievery, corruption, gangster activity, prostitution, bigamy, and political "anarchy"… often with historical and religious background information… as well as the criminal activities of Arons' great-grandfather. If you revel in detail, Arons' book will give you a roller coaster ride of the meaning of persistence in research.