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Bankruptcy 1732

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Bankruptcy 1732

Postby Whaley104 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:38 pm

In 1732 my shoemaker ancestor was made bankrupt. The article confirming this just had his name, place he was living and the fact he was a shoemaker. I'd like to know how this would have been punished. Would he have been imprisoned or just allowed to pay any debts then move on? I'd appreciate some help.
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Re: Bankruptcy 1732

Postby junkers » Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:36 pm

If you could pay your debts then you would not go to prison or be released from prison, but not everyone went to prison. There is a leaflet from The National Archives on bankrupts ( ... t-debtors/) but I am sure that local records might help you as well.
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Re: Bankruptcy 1732

Postby Redh3rring » Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:54 pm

Upto 1829 bankrupts were generally sent to prison and could remain there for many years at their creditors wishes. The Chancery Court dealt with such proceedings at this time. It wasn't uncommon for the debtor to live almost a 'normal' life within the debtors jail. That is families sometimes joined them and they continued to work. Of course there was also the option of making a new life far away from those that they owned money to, hoping not to get caught. Very rarely there are instances where bankrupts were executed, but this was not the norm, but more of a case were fraud had been committed.

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Re: Bankruptcy 1732

Postby peter kent » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:04 am

There is an important distinction between bankrupts and insolvent debtors. Insolvent debtors could be imprisoned. These people were private individuals, not traders.

If your ancestor was bankrupt, he must have successfully claimed to be a trader and would not be imprisoned. Bankruptcy was not that different from what it implies today.

There's a National Archives guide on Bankrupts and insolvent debtors which is well worth reading.
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