Cen­tury an­ces­tors

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - FOCUS ON -

Debt was an in­creas­ing prob­lem dur­ing the 1700s, with the pro­lif­er­a­tion of credit. Records of those de­clared bank­rupt or im­pris­oned for in­sol­vency are held at The Na­tional Ar­chives (TNA) (see na­tion­alarchives.gov.uk/ help-with-your-re­search/ re­search-guides/bankruptsin­sol­vent-debtors), while digi­tised debtors’ prison reg­is­ters are at search.ances­try.co.uk/ search/group/uk_debtors_ prison. Satirist Wil­liam Hog­a­rth saw his father slung into debtors’ prison. His vivid paint­ings (see p56) cap­tured the darker side of 18th-cen­tury Eng­land, re­veal­ing the ef­fects of im­moral­ity, drunk­en­ness and de­bauch­ery.

Lon­don­ers in the 18th cen­tury whose lives were marred by poverty, sick­ness and crim­i­nal­ity are recorded at lon­don­lives.org and on old­bai­ley­on­line.org. Records of Petty Ses­sions, Quar­ter Ses­sions and As­size Courts pro­vide colour­ful in­sights into our an­ces­tors’ mis­de­meanours and more se­ri­ous crimes. Find­my­past.co.uk, the­ge­neal­o­gist.co.uk and ances­try.co.uk have records for peo­ple all over the coun­try sen­tenced to trans­porta­tion to Aus­tralia af­ter the First Fleet landed there in 1787, some merely chil­dren con­victed of steal­ing food.

This car­toon, c1762, from

shows the af­ter­math of the Seven Years’ War

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