It was finally transformed into a high security federal penitentiary and it was On This Day in 1934 that
became home to federal prisoners who were deemed to be notorious and dangerous.
For 29 years this prison housed the likes of Al Capone (at left here in this Public Domain photo from Wikipedia) and George “Machine Gun”
Kelly. Alcatraz Island
Did YOUR ancestor spend time at
Ancestry.com offers the database:
Penitentiary, Prisoner Index, 1934-1963. You can search the index and, if you
happen upon a black sheep in your family there, you can request the relevant case
file from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Pacific
Regional Office. Alcatraz, California, U.S.
A quick check in the index revealed no known family members. Only a few in fact showed up when I searched for Pennsylvanians. One of those, to give an example, was Charles Joseph Lovett, better known as “Red.” He was, according to the prison record, a white man born 1 December 1920 in
. His parents
were William and Mary Lovett. Reds died on 11 March 2005. He was received at Philadelphia Alcatraz on 19 March 1944. His crimes were murdering an
FBI agent, assault, robbery and transporting stolen firearms.
The prison was closed in 1963 and eventually became, in 1972, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It is now a tourist attraction.
Ancestry.com. Alcatraz, California, U.S. Penitentiary, Prisoner Index, 1934-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Federal prisoners land on
. History.com. 1934. Alcatraz
"Warden's notebook page, with "mug shot," of Angelo Paris, 20-AZ. - NARA - 296706" by Unknown or not provided - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
On This Day is a prompt to further explore historical events.
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015