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Debtor Prison Records

Irish Debt Resolution 19th Century style

The automatic jailing of people who had fallen into debt wasn’t abolished until 1864. So it is no surprise that debtors are found in great numbers in the general prison registers of nearly all Irish county jails. They consistently make up between 8 and 12 percent of the jail population from the 1820s to the 1840s. This essay examines what sort of detail and insights these records provide for genealogists and historians.Not only do debtors’ records chart many tragic and irreversible personal struggles, they also reflect the swinging pendulum of economic conditions in Irish society. 

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