When hard times hit, many people could not pay their land taxes and their properties were seized and sold. Past and present, towns list for sale the properties for which the taxes have not been paid. There are also lists of properties for sale for non payment of mortgages.
When my 4th great grandfather, Cement King (miller of Loddiswell, Devon) died he left the mill to his oldest son, Thomas, who in turn left it to his only son, John Clement King. In 1867 Henry Steer, baker and grocer of Dodbrooke went bankrupt. John King, miller of Loddiswell, and James Hannaford, grocer of Kingsbridge, were appointed Trustees. Their responsibilities were to protect the rights of the creditors and investigate the affairs of the debtor.
These notices can be found in local newspapers, also publications like the London Gazette and the Canada Gazette.
My daughter once worked for a company that went bankrupt. They owed her over $3000, and when the smoke cleared SIX years later she received a check for $33. I wonder if that included interest? *sigh
Another search you can do is for Auction Sales, a good indication the person has either moved or died. When I moved west, I sold my house and then had a 2 day auction sale, selling everything except what I packed of my life in 16 small boxes. This notice is from Stanstead, Quebec in 1919...
Following are some lists of sales. Also check at the local town hall. At Newspaper archives or Archive websites and Internet Archive (search “unpaid taxes” “rate arrears” “bankrupt”, "auction sale household" etc)
Lands: returned for sale by the treasurer of the United Counties of Huron, Perth and Bruce (Ont) for arrears of tax, to the 1st January 1850
Niagara District fall assizes - 1844 (names at back of book)
List of lands to be sold in Jan 1826 for arrears of taxes - NY
List of lands to be sold in April 1830 for arrears of taxes - NY
List of lands in county of Henry, Illinois on which the taxes remain due or unpaid 1843
List of lands to be sold for arrears of taxes 1840's to 1860's at City of Albany
List of land in Putnam Count, Illinois to be sold for unpaid taxes 1837
List of land in Vermilion County, Illinois to be sold for unpaid taxes 1836
List of land in Randolph County, Illinois to be sold for unpaid taxes 1838
District of Columbia read estate tax sale... arrears of taxes for 1887
Sales laws of Bengal India: being the law of sale for arrears of revenue, Patni rents and public demand 1905
Bundaberg Council, AU - auction; sale of land for rates arrears
List of property for sale by MSB Putnam, Hamilton, Ontario - mortgage sale
North Chicago; its advantages, resources, and probable future: including a sketch of its outlying suburbs, and a map showing the relative price of residence property in the north and south divisions 1973
Prospectus; terms and conditions for the sale of 755 lots in the twelfth ward of NY- 1829
The Auctioneer's, Land Agents', Valuers' & Estate Agent's Directory UK 1880
Legal document granting a license to sell property at a public auction to Melissa D Buck, 1897 November 9.