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Crime Couple Exposed in MyHeritage Convict Records

In the world of crime, there are stories that grip our imagination and become etched in our collective memory. Among those tales of notoriety, few are as captivating as that of Tilly and Jim Devine.

Jim and Tilly Devine were infamous figures in the early 20th century Sydney, Australia, best known for their extensive involvement in organized crime. Jim, a prominent underworld figure, was involved in various illegal activities, primarily running lucrative sly-grog shops where alcohol was sold without a license during the temperance movement. His wife, Tilly Devine, dominated the city’s illicit sex trade, managing numerous brothels and engaging in fierce turf wars with other madams. Their criminal enterprises and violent exploits were emblematic of the rampant crime and corruption that characterized Sydney during this era.

We have found historical records among the MyHeritage historical record collections that shed light on their lives and provide a deeper understanding of their story. 

The Australia, New South Wales, Gaol Inmates & Photos collection on MyHeritage sheds light on the lives of individuals who were transported to Australia as convicts. By exploring this collection, which includes images, we gain invaluable insights into the lives of these fascinating characters who lived on the fringes of society. 

The record below provides fascinating details about Tilly Devine’s conviction and the events that led to her infamous reputation:

The record, from May 27, 1925, indicates that Tilly (Matilda) was born in London, England on September 8, 1900. Her occupation is listed as “domestic duties”; her religion, Roman Catholic; her height, 5’4”; her weight, 11 st. 4 lbs (158 lbs). Under education, it says that she can read and write. Her hair was fair, her eyes blue, and 4 scars were indicated in the record. Under “convictions”, it says that she had 66 convictions in a previous report, but the only one listed on the card is 2 years in jail for “maliciously wounding.”

We used MyHeritage’s cutting-edge AI Deep Nostalgia™ technology to animate the attached photograph of Tilly. Such a stark contrast between her innocent, gentle countenance and the very dark activities she was engaged in at the time:

As for Jim, her partner in life and in crime, take a look at the long list of offenses and sentences in the records below!

These records, from 1925 and 1926 respectively, list his birthplace as Victoria, and give his birthdate as August 22, 1892. His occupation is listed as “car driver,” and under education it simply says “R & W,” meaning that he could read and write. He stood at 5’11 ½” and weight 189 lbs; his hair was brown and his eyes blue. The documents describe two tattoos under “Marks or special features”: one on the back of his right wrist, a horse’s head and horseshoe with “GOOD LUCK” inscribed on it; and one on the inside of his left forearm with a rising sun, clasped hands, and crossed flags that said “ACROSS THE SEA” and his wife’s name, “TILLY.” Among the crimes he was convicted for were “Being a male person did live in part on prostitute earnings,” assaulting the police, and larceny. 

We also found a birth record for James Edward Devine in the Australia, Victoria Birth Index, 1837-1920

And a record of his death in the Australia, Victoria Death Index, 1836-1985.

Here’s a Deep Nostalgia™ animation of Jim:

Tilly and Jim Devine were not only partners in crime but also partners in life. Their marriage was a central pillar of their story, as they worked hand in hand to build their criminal empire. Through the historical records we have uncovered, we catch a glimpse of their illegal activities, shedding light on their collaboration and the dynamic partnership that defined their infamous legacy.

The story of Tilly and Jim Devine is just one example of the captivating narratives waiting to be discovered within the vast collections of MyHeritage. Uncover the hidden gems that tell your family’s story at

The post Crime Couple Exposed in MyHeritage Convict Records appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Source: My Heritage

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