A recent notice from www.findmypast.com explains surviving records in England featuring ancestors who suffered economic difficulties:
Who were the Victorian victims of bankruptcy?
"The stigma of debt was ingrained deep within the Victorian psyche, and for good reason - the consequences of debt could be dire. The debtor’s home and assets could be seized, and in the early part of the Victorian era they could be thrown into debtors’ prison – along with their wife and children – until they had paid what they owed. If they were unable to pay, they could declare bankruptcy, but not before all their belongings and home had been taken.
Findmypast.com has just added 33,000 records from The Bankrupt Directory. These reveal the details for all bankruptcies, between December 1820 and April 1843, which were announced in The London Gazette. The announcements cover bankruptcies across England and Wales and though the level of detail differs, you’ll usually find a person’s home street and town, their occupation or trade, and the date that they appeared."
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