Was your ancestor imprisoned for debt? 146,000 new records available online

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03 May 2019
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The Genealogist has announced the expansion of its Criminal Records collection with the release of over 146,000 individuals who were listed in prison records.

The Genealogist has announced the expansion of its Criminal Records collection with the release of over 146,000 individuals who were listed in prison records. ​

Sourced from the PRIS 10 & PRIS 11 collections held at The National Archives, these documents contain records from 1697 to 1862 and reveal those jailed for debt or bankruptcy.

These records give family historians details of those imprisoned in debtors prisons including the King's Bench Prison, Queen's Prison, Fleet Prison and Marshalsea Prison (pictured). They contain commitment and discharge records, giving details of names of the debtor, creditor and attorney, along with the amount of debt. 

You can use the records to:

  • Find ancestors who were imprisoned for debts and bankruptcy
  • Discover to who debts were owed
  • See when individuals were discharged

Within these records, we find John Dickens, father of the famous author Charles Dickens, who was in debt to baker James Karr by the sum of 40 pounds. John was brought in to custody on 20th February 1824 and was later discharged on 26th May 1824 when his mother died leaving him enough money to pay off his debts.

John Dickens record

 Charles Dickens had to earn a wage from a young age and his childhood experiences affected him greatly. He used his experiences as background for the story of Little Dorrit.

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(image copyright TheGenealogist)