Understanding Your ...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Understanding Your Western European Ancestors:
Useful Source and Links

Here I’ve included two different types of information. The books section serves as a kind of bibliography for the information included in the Western Europe section of this website. It can also be a great list to find further reading if you would like to learn more about your ancestors’ lives. As of now, I haven’t included genealogy how-to books in this section.

The website section provides links and information about websites that can help you both understand your ancestors and learn how to trace them better. Websites specific to Germany (especially Mecklenburg), Sweden (especially Skåne), and England (especially Buckinghamshire) can be found in the Useful Sources and Links sections for each of those pages.

Books

A lot of the information is from various chapters (listed individually below) of these two excellent volumes.

Kertzer, David I. and Marzio Barbagli, editors. The History of the European Family. Volume 1:.

       Family Life in Early Modern Times, 1500-1789 and Volume 2: Family Life in the Long

      Nineteenth Century, 1789-1913 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002). 

Other Books

Ehmer, Josef. “Marriage.” In The History of the European Family: Family Life in the Long Nineteenth Century, 1789-1913. David I. Kertzer and Marzio Barbagli, editors. New Haven : Yale University Press, pgs. 282-321.

            Average marriage ages are found in this chapter.

 

Elmer, Peter, editor. The Healing Arts: Health, Disease, and Society in Europe , 1500-1800.

            (Manchester: Manchester University Press), 2004.

 

Fauve-Chamoux, Antoinette. “Marriage, Widowhood, and Divorce.” In Family Life in Early Modern Times, 1500-1789. David Kertzer and Marzio Barbagli, editors. New Haven : Yale University press, 2002. Pp. 221-256. This book discusses marriage patterns, late marriages, and tells that women marrying farmers married earlier than those marrying landless workers. (229) It also provides information about widowhood and how quickly people remarried.

 

Frevert, Ute. Women in German History: From Bourgeois Emancipation to Sexual Liberation (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989), 24. This book provides information about ages at marriage and the logic behind waiting until couples were often in their late twenties.

 

Gaunt, David. “Family Planning and the Pre-industrial Society: Some Swedish Evidence.” In Aristocrats, Farmers, Proletarians: Essays in Swedish Demographic History. Stockholm : Esselte studium, 1973, p. 28-59.

            This essay discusses female fertility and how it was limited in the late 1700s. It also provides the figure for the infant mortality rate in Sweden and discusses the regular famines and disease outbreaks that plagued the countryside.

 

Guttormsson, Loftur. “Parent-Child Relations.” In The History of the European Family: Family Life in the Long Nineteenth Century, 1789-1913. David I. Kertzer and Marzio Barbagli, editors. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), pgs. 251-281.

            This book has information about children’s deaths and breastfeeding come from this chapter.

 

Hausen, Karin. “Family and Role-Division: The Polarisation of Sexual Stereotypes in the Nineteenth Century – An Aspect of the Dissociation of Work and Family Life.” In The German Family: Essays on the Social History of the Family in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Germany . Richard J. Evans and W.R. Lee, editors. pps. 51-83.

            This chapter describes women’s role in nineteenth century, including the difference between the ideals and reality and the characterization of male and women traits.

 

Humphries, Jane. “Standard of Living, Quality of Life.” In A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Britian. Chris Williams, editor. Malden, Massachusetts : Blackwell Publishing, 2001.

            The adult literacy rate and average life expectancy are included this essay.

 

Lindemann, Mary. Health and Healing in Eighteenth-Century Germany (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press), 1996. 356 - The quote about people dying before their age and by chance comes from here. p. 238 describes the main causes of death

 

Löfgren, Orvar. “The Potato People: The Household Economy and Family Patterns Among the Rural Proletariat in Nineteenth Century Sweden ,” in Chance and Change: Social and Economic Studies in Historical Demography in the Baltic Area. Ed. Sune Åkerman, Hans Chr. Johansen, and David Gaunt. Odense : Odense University Press, 1978.

            This chapter contains information about class structure and about how the landless people survived.

 

Lundh, Christer. “Marriage and Economic Change in Sweden during the 18th and 19th Century,” in Marriage and Rural Economy: Western Europe Since 1400. ed. Isabelle Devos and Liam Kennedy. CORN publication series 3. Turnhout: Brepols, 1999), 223. (217-241)

            His essay gives the average ages at marriage and the breakdown of what percentages of marriages included people of different ages.

 

Lundh, Christer. “Servant Migration in Sweden in the Early Nineteenth Century,” Journal of Family History 23 (Jan 1999): 66.

            He tells about migration patterns among the young leaving home and gives the average ages that the children of landed and landless families left home.

 

Scott, Franklin .  Sweden:  The Nation’s History.  Carbondale and Edwardsville , Illinois :  Southern Illinois University Press, 1988.

            This book provides a description of the different classes in society.

 

Sheehan, James J. German History, 1770-1866 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), 456.

            This book provides the life expectancy and illegitimacy rates for Germany as a whole.

 

Sogner, Sølvi. “Illegitimacy in Old Rural Society: Some Reflections on the Problem Arising from Two Norwegian Family-Reconstruction Studies.” In Chance and Change: Social and Economic Studies in Historical Demography in the Baltic Area. Ed. Sune Åkerman, Hans Chr. Johansen, and David Gaunt. Odense : Odense University Press, 1978, pp. 61-68.

            This essay provides the information about how common and accepted illegitimacy was as well as its historical background.

 

Viazzo, Pier Paolo. “Mortality, Fertility, and Family.” In The History of the European Family: Family Life in Early Modern Times, 1500-1789. David I. Kertzer and Marzio Barbagli, editors. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), pgs. 157-187.

            This chapter provides some background on fertility and what kept family sizes small. It also discusses evidence of early birth control. Information about the likelihood of dying during childbirth, the link between hunger and disease and some of the information about epidemics comes from this chapter.

 

Wall, Richard, Jean Robins and Peter Laslett, ed.  Family Forms in Historic Europe , (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1983).

            Some information in the article about peasant homesteads came from this book.

 

Winberg, Christer. “Population Growth and Proletarianization.”  In In Chance and Change: Social and Economic Studies in Historical Demography in the Baltic Area. Ed. Sune Åkerman, Hans Chr. Johansen, and David Gaunt. Odense : Odense University Press, 1978, pp. 170-184.

            He discusses the growth of the landless group in society and the concern about the proletarianization of the countryside.

Websites

For some great websites specific to German research, read my article “Getting Acquainted with German Research through the Internet.”

Please check back in the future for more information.