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Land, family and the transmission of property in a rural society of South Bohemia, 1651–1840

  • HERMANN ZEITLHOFER (a1)
Abstract

This article deals with the changing patterns of transmission of land and houses in pre-industrial rural Bohemia. By linking different sources, such as land registers, census-like lists and a family reconstitution, this study focuses on both the demographic and the economic factors that influenced peasant transmission strategies as well as on the consequences of changing transmission patterns for access to land-ownership in the local society. The results of this study show that patterns of land transmission changed profoundly after about 1720. Between 1651 and 1720 many houses with or without land were sold to non-kin as well as to kin although in both cases a customary and not a market price was paid. Imperfect market mechanisms are also indicated by the frequency of exchanges of houses between families. After around 1720 transmissions of property from father to son progressively became the dominant pattern. The chances of women (both widows and daughters and their husbands) to become property-holders diminished and it became extremely difficult for persons not born into house-owning families to acquire any houses or land.

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Lutz Berkner, ‘Inheritance, land tenure and peasant family structure: a German regional comparison’, in Goody, Jack, Thirsk, Joan and Thompson, Edward P. eds., Family and Inheritance: Rural society in Western Europe 1200–1800 (Cambridge, 1976), 71–95; Lutz Berkner and Franklin Mendels, ‘Inheritance systems, family structure and demographic patterns in Western Europe, 1700–1900’, in Tilly, Charles ed., Historical Studies of Changing Fertility (Princeton, 1978), 209–23.

On these concepts see Baud, Michael and Engelen, Theo, ‘Introduction: structure or strategy? Essays on family, demography, and labor’, The History of the Family 2 (1997), 347–54; Moch, Leslie Page et al., ‘Family strategy: a dialogue’, Historical Methods 20 (1987), 113–25; Viazzo, Pier P. and Lynch, Katherine, ‘Anthropology, family history, and the concept of strategy’, International Review of Social History 47 (2002), 423–52.

For example Berkner, Lutz K., ‘The stem family and the developmental cycle of the peasant household: an eighteenth-century Austrian example’, American Historical Review 77 (1972), 398418, and Arrizabalaga, Marie-Pierre, ‘The stem family in the French Basque country: Sare in the nineteenth century’, Journal of Family History 22 (1997), 5069.

See Grassby, Richard, Kinship and capitalism: marriage, family, and business in the English-speaking world, 1580–1740 (New York and Washington, DC, 2001), 1–3.

Roger Schofield, ‘Family structure, demographic behaviour, and economic growth’, in Walter, John and Schofield, Roger eds., Famine, disease and the social order in early modern society (Cambridge, 1989), 279–304, here 285.

Popkin, Samuel, The rational peasant: the political economy of rural society in Vietnam (Berkeley, 1979), 5, quoted in Brettell, Caroline B., ‘Moral economy or political economy? Property and credit markets in nineteenth century rural Portugal’, Journal of Historical Sociology 12 (1999), 128, here 2. For many similar examples, see Ogilvie, Sheilagh, ‘Zur ökonomischen Welt der Untertanen in Böhmen: eine Fallstudie zur Herrschaft Friedlant’, in Cerman, Markus and Zeitlhofer, Hermann eds., Soziale Strukturen in Böhmen: ein regionaler Vergleich von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft in Gutsherrschaften, 16. – 19. Jahrhundert (Vienna, 2002), 145–73.

Macfarlane, Alan, The origins of English individualism: the family, property and social transition (Oxford, 1978), 23.

His critics found that the land–family bond in medieval England was much stronger than Macfarlane presumed. See for example Sreenivasan, Govind, ‘The land–family bond at Earls Colne (Essex) 1550–1650’, Past and Present 131 (1991), 337; Razi, Zvi, ‘The myth of the immutable English family’, Past and Present 140 (1993), 344; Razi, Zvi, ‘The erosion of the family-land bond in the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries: a methodological note’, in Smith, Richard ed., Land, kinship and life-cycle (Cambridge, 1984), 295304. See also Mitson, Anne, ‘The significance of kinship networks in the seventeenth century: South-west Nottinghamshire’, in Phythian-Adams, Charles ed., Societies, cultures, and kinship, 1580–1850: cultural provinces and English local history (London, 1996), 2476, and Whittle, Jane, ‘Individualism and the family-land bond: a reassessment of land transfer patterns among the English peasantry c. 1270–1580, Past and Present 160 (1998), 2563.

The sole exception is the study by Jürgen Schlumbohm of a Northwest German population. His evidence indicated that although peasants quite often managed the farm of their ancestors their main priority was not always to keep the inherited land within the family line. See Schlumbohm, Jürgen, ‘The land–family bond in peasant practice and in middle class ideology: evidence from the north-west German parish of Belm, 1650–1860’, Central European History 27 (1994), 461–77.

10  For more details see Schlumbohm, ‘The land–family bond’, 462, and the literature cited there.

11  Hajnal, John, ‘European marriage patterns in perspective’, in Glass, David V. and Eversley, David E. C. eds., Population in history (Chicago, 1965), 101–43, here 134.

12  See for example the contributions in Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux and Marie-Pierre Arrizabalaga (guest editors), ‘Family transmission in Eurasian perspective’, The History of the Family 10 (3) (2005); Prass, Reiner, Schlumbohm, Jürgen, Béaur, Gérard and Duhamelle, Christophe eds., Ländliche Gesellschaften in Deutschland und Frankreich, 18.–19. Jahrhundert (Göttingen, 2003). But for one recent study that does stress fluctuations in the land–family bond over time see Clarke, David R., ‘The ‘land–family bond’ in East Sussex, c. 1580–1770’, Continuity and Change 21 (2006), 341–69.

13  Sieder, Reinhard and Mitterauer, Michael, ‘The reconstruction of the family life course: theoretical problems and empirical results’, in Wall, Richard, Robin, Jean and Laslett, Peter eds., Family forms in historic Europe (Cambridge, 1983), 309–45.

14  Sabean, David W., Property, production and family in Neckarhausen, 1700–1870 (Cambridge, 1990), 413: ‘How resources are distributed and redistributed has everything to do with family dynamics, and the market is not an independent mechanism but can be an instrument of family strategies in competition with each other’ (p. 412).

15  Cerman, Markus, ‘Bodenmärkte und ländliche Wirtschaft in vergleichender Sicht: England und das östliche Mitteleuropa im Spätmittelalter, Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte 2 (2004), 125–48; Stefan Brakensiek, ‘Grund und Boden – eine Ware? Ein Markt zwischen familialen Strategien und herrschaftlichen Kontrollen’, in Prass, Schlumbohm, Béaur, Duhamelle, Ländliche Gesellschaft, 269–90; Thomas Robisheaux, Rural society and the search for order in early modern Germany (Cambridge, 1989); Georg Fertig, ‘Bodenmarkt – Familienstrategien – Verwandtschaft: drei westfälische Kirchspiele im 19. Jahrhundert’, unpublished Habilitation thesis (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, 2001).

16  Duroux, Rose, ‘The temporary migration of males and the power of females in a stem-family society: the case of nineteenth century Auvergne’, The History of the Family 6 (1) (2001), 3350; Arrizabalaga, Marie-Pierre, ‘Female primogeniture in the French Basque country’, in Ochiai, Emiko ed., The logic of female succession: rethinking patriarchy and patrilineality in global and historical perspective (Kyoto, 2002), 3152.

17  Fauve-Chamoux, and Arrizabalaga, , ‘Family transmission in Eurasian perspective: introduction’, The History of the Family 10 (2005), 183–93, here 185.

18  See Habakkuk, John H., ‘Family structure and economic change in nineteenth-century Europe’, Journal of Economic History 14 (1955), 112; Berkner, ‘Inheritance’; Berkner and Mendels, ‘Inheritance systems’; Christian Pfister, Bevölkerungsgeschichte und Historische Demographie, 1500–1800 (Munich, 1994); Faux-Chamoux and Arrizabalaga, ‘Introduction’, 184. For a recent empirical study of the connections between transmission systems and migration see Wegge, Simone, ‘To part or not to part: emigration and inheritance institutions in nineteenth century Hesse-Cassel’, Explorations in Economic History 36 (1999), 3055.

19  Wetherell, Charles and Plakans, Andrejs, ‘Intergenerational transfers of headships over the life course in an Eastern European peasant community, 1782–1850’, The History of the Family 3 (1998), 333–49, here 334; Haan, Henkde, In the shadow of the tree: kinship, property and inheritance among farm families (Amsterdam, 1994), 154.

20  Segalen, Martine, Die Familie: Geschichte, Soziologie, Anthropologie (Frankfurt, 1990), 97101. When, for example, the integrity of the house (keeping the family land intact) was prioritized and in cases where no successor by blood was available or suitable, the key determinant as to whether the land reverted to the landlord or whether it passed to an affinal kin or non-kin was the nature of the local land-tenure system.

21  Both systems could have similar social and demographic consequences. When Cole and Wolf, for example, studied two neighbouring villages in northern Italy, one with a partible and one with an impartible system, they found that marriage patterns and the size of holdings were similar in both villages. In both, environmental constraints made it imperative to avoid the division of the estate in order to retain holdings of viable size. See Cole, John and Wolf, Eric, The hidden frontier (New York, 1974); also Viazzo, Pier P., Upland communities: environment, population and social structure in the Alps since the sixteenth century (Cambridge, 1989), 93–9, 258–85.

22  Béaur, Gérard, ‘Land transmission and Inheritance practices in France during the ancient regime: differences of degree or kind?’, in Green, David R. and Owens, Alastair eds., Family welfare: gender, property, and Inheritance since the seventeenth century (Westport CT, 2004), 3146.

23  See, for example, the studies in Medick, Hans and Sabean, David eds., Interest and emotion: essays on the study of family and kinship (Cambridge, 1984); Levi, Giovanni, Das immaterielle Erbe: eine bäuerliche Welt an der Schwelle zur Moderne (Berlin, 1986). See also Sabean, ‘Property’; Jürgen Schlumbohm, Lebensläufe, Familien, Höfe: die Bauern und Heuerlaeute des Osnabrückischen Kirchspiels Belm in proto-industrieller Zeit, 1650–1860 (Göttingen, 1994).

24  In this region landed peasants were obliged to have available for use by the landlord (if required) a worker as well as a draught cattle for up to three days a week; whereas land-poor as well as landless households only had to provide ‘robot’ services of one worker for about 20 days a year.

25  In many parts of historical Bohemia the tenancy rights of the serfs throughout the early modern period were better than in some regions of Western countries. For an excellent discussion of the meaning of different peasant tenancy rights in a German region with both emphyteusis (a perpetual right in a piece of land that is the property of another) and the weaker Freistift (tenancy at will), see Beck, Rainer, Unterfinning: ländliche Welt vor Anbruch der Moderne (Munich, 1993), 391412. For Central European peasants emphyteusis was usually seen as the most favourable kind of tenancy right under the preconditions of feudalism.

26  See Cerman and Zeitlhofer, Soziale Strukturen; Maur, Eduard, ‘Das bäuerliche Erbrecht und die Erbschaftspraxis in Böhmen im 16. bis 18. Jahrhundert’, Historická Demografie 20 (1996), 93118.

27  For a study of transmission practices in such circumstances see Wetherell and Plakans, ‘Intergenerational transfers’.

28  Národní archiv Praha (National Archives, Prague), SM, R 109/45, Bech. 5. In the sources the term ‘Inwohner’ (lodger) was used for all kinds of co-residing people in the house, excluding children and servants. Thus ‘Inwohner’ could be either a life-cycle position, such as being a retired house-owner, as well as a life-long lodger.

29  New houses were built on demesne or communal or peasant land. The strict indivisibility of peasant land sometimes allowed the separation of small parcels for nearly landless houses. For more details see Hermann Zeitlhofer, ‘Besitztransfer und sozialer Wandel in einer ländlichen Gesellschaft der Frühen Neuzeit. Das Beispiel der südböhmischen Pfarre Kapličky, 1640–1840’, unpublished Ph.D. thesis (University of Vienna, 2001).

30  Archiv Klaštera Vyšší Brod (Archives of the Abbey of Vyšší Brod, held at the Abbey), Kart. č. 219. In this list information on one village is missing.

31  Národní archiv Praha, BR 2, fol. 822–8. Other houses were not mentioned in this source.

32  Ownership of draught cattle is an important qualitative indicator of property size. Using their own draught cattle enabled peasants to till their land independently. I use this indicator instead of information on property size because over time the measurements for the latter changed. Moreover, in early modern Bohemia the landlords also used the ownership of draught cattle to distinguish wealthier from poorer peasants. Sources: Národní archiv Praha, BR 2 (1654); BR 30 (1682); TK 684, fols. 43–67, 232, 234 (1713).

33  For more details see Zeitlhofer, ‘Besitztransfer’.

34  Státní oblastní archiv Třeboň (State Regional Archives at Třeboň, hereafter SOA Třeboň), fond C Vyšší Brod, Pozemkové knihy č. 453, č. 464, č. 465, č. 475, č. 479, č. 480 and č. 553.

35  SOA Třeboň, Sbírka jihočeskych matrik, Farní úřad Kapličky č. 9. For a survey on the family reconstitutions compiled by the monks of Vyšší Brod, see Psíková, Jiřina, ‘Rodové katastry uložené ve Státním oblastním archivu v Třeboni’ [Family registers in the state regional archives at Třeboň], Historická Demografie 8 (1983), 7580.

36  The family reconstitution starts only ten years before the period of analysis, and as a result for the first decades the reconstruction of kinship is not of the same quality as for later periods. However, this has no influence on the proportions of ‘close relationships’ between buyer and seller, because relationships such as ’son’, ‘son-in law’ and ‘widow remarriages’ are also mentioned in the land registers.

37  According to the land registers, in the whole period between 1640 and 1840 there was only one exception to this rule: in the 1830s, a heavily indebted farmstead was divided into three new units.

38  See Maur, ‘Das bäuerliche Erbrecht’.

39  During the seventeenth and the early eighteenth centuries the land registers of Kapličky, as in many other parts of Bohemia, carefully registered the annual instalment payments, enabling both the payer and the receiver to be identified. For similar practices in other regions of Bohemia see Maur, ‘Das bäuerliche Erbrecht’.

40  SOA Třeboň, fond C Vyšší Brod, Pozemková kniha č. 453, fol. 340.

41  Sabean, Property; Segalen, Die Familie.

42  Maur, ‘Das bäuerliche Erbrecht’, 102.

43  See Sieder and Mitterauer, ‘Reconstruction’.

44  See Josef Ehmer, ‘House and the stem family in Austria’, in Antoinette Fauve-Chamaux and Emiko Ochiai eds., House and stem family in Eurasian perspective, Proceedings of the 12th International Economic History Congress in Seville, 1998 (Kyoto, 1998), 46–64.

45  Although turnover in Kapličky seems never to have been as high as in some English parishes. See, for example, Laslett, Peter, ‘Clayworth and Cogenhoe’, in Laslett, Peter, Family life and illicit love in earlier generations (Cambridge, 1977), 50–101, and Stapleton, Barry, ‘Family strategies: patterns of inheritance in Odiham, Hampshire’, 1525–1850, Continuity and Change 14 (1999), 385402.

46  Between 1640 and 1720, 19 out of a total of 247 house-owners (more than 7 per cent) moved from one holding to another within the parish, and between 1721 and 1840 only 6.

47  Similar evidence can be found for Bavaria in Rudolf Schlögl, Bauern, Krieg und Staat: oberbayerische Bauernwirtschaft und frühmoderner Staat im 17. Jahrhundert (Göttingen, 1988), 102–4.

48  Grulich, Josef and Zeitlhofer, Hermann, ‘Lebensformen und soziale Muster in Südböhmen im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert’, Jihočeský Sborník Historický 66/67 (1997/1998), 46. On utilizing headship rates as an important social indicator of different historical societies, see Richard Wall, ‘Introduction’, in Richard Wall, Jean Robin and Peter Laslett eds., Family forms in historic Europe (Cambridge, 1983), 1–63.

49  SOA Třeboň, fond C Vyšší Brod, Pozemková Kniha č. 453, fol. 144, fol. 158.

50  See in greater detail Zeitlhofer, Hermann, ‘Formen der Sesshaftigkeit bei Hausbesitzern und Landlosen in der südböhmischen Pfarre Kapličky, 1640–1840’, Beiträge des Instituts für Migrationsforschung und Interkulturelle Studien (IMIS-Beiträge) 18 (2001), 5167.

51  Property transmissions in this region could take place inter vivos or post mortem. Inter vivos transfers quite often, but not necessarily, went hand in hand with retirement arrangements for the former proprietor. For more details see Hermann Zeitlhofer, ‘Headship succession and the institution of retirement in South Bohemia’, in Green and Owens eds., ‘Family Welfare’, 73–96.

52  See, for instance, Sieder and Mitterauer, ‘Reconstruction’, 312. For other European regions the larger a farm, the more likely it was to be handed down within the family; the smaller it was, the more likely it was to be sold on the ‘market’. Compare Stone, Lawrence and tone, Jeanne, ‘Country houses and their owners in Hertfordshire, 1540–1879’, in Aydelotte, William, et al. eds., The dimensions of quantitative research in history (Princeton, 1972), 56123, here 86–7.

53  In many South Bohemian regions it was relatively common for nearly every house to lease cleared land out of the huge demesne woods.

54  In many other Central European regions a strong preference for sons over daughters before the late nineteenth century was limited to the wealthiest peasant strata. See Schlumbohm, Lebensläufe, 383.

55  Sons usually left the parental household whereas one daughter frequently remained with her parents. See Michael Mitterauer, ‘Formen ländlicher Familienwirtschaft: Historische Ökotypen und familiale Arbeitsorganisation im österreichischen Raum’, in Josef Ehmer and Michael Mitterauer eds., Familienstruktur und Arbeitsorganisation in ländlichen Gesellschaften (Vienna and elsewhere. 1986), 185–323, here 314. For a detailed study of gender conflicts and different fates of sons and daughters in weaving families of Western France, see Liu, Tessie P., The weaver's knot: the contradictions of class struggle and family solidarity in Western France, 1750–1914 (New York, 1994).

56  In a Southwestern German region in the late eighteenth century a similar trend has been observed by Hohkamp, Michaela, in her ‘Wer will erben?’, in Peters, Jan ed., Gutsherrschaft als soziales Modell (Munich, 1995), 327–41.

57  Some authors have claimed that female succession only was possible if there were no sons alive. See Bourdieu, Pierre, ‘Marriage strategies as strategies of social reproduction’, in Forster, Robert and Ranum, Orest eds., Family and society: selections from the ‘Annales: Economies, Sociétés, Civilisations’ (Baltimore and London, 1976), 117–44.

58  See Schlumbohm, Lebensläufe, 401; Schlögl, Bauern, Krieg un Staat, 343.

59  On the impact of the war on the population in other regions of Bohemia, see Cerman, Markus, ‘Bohemia after the Thirty Years' War: some theses on population structure, marriage and family’, Journal of Family History 19 (1994), 149–75.

60  The following is one example of these rare cases: a purchase contract of 1649, already naming the new proprietor, contains the remark that it was not ratified by the monks and that they have installed somebody else as the new owner ‘pro interim’ (SOA Třeboň, fond C Vyšší Brod, Pozemková kniha č. 453, fol. 163).

61  See Wetherell and Plakans, ‘Intergenerational transfers’, 342.

62  The slower increase in female longevity, in comparison to male, may be connected with the substantial rise in work obligations for females in eighteenth-century South Bohemian agriculture, especially in flax-processing, which was made up of a female work force. See Zeitlhofer, Hermann, ‘Sozialer und demographischer Wandel im südböhmischen Kapličky 1640–1840: eine Fallstudie zur Flexibilität traditionaler ländlicher Gesellschaften’, Zeitschrift für Agrargeschichte und Agrarsoziologie 52 (2004), 6483.

63  Grulich and Zeitlhofer, ‘Lebensformen’, 44.

64  Compare the data on different European regions presented in Ehmer, Josef, Sozialgeschichte des Alters (Frankfurt, 1990), 206.

65  Archiv Kláštera Vyšší Brod, kniha č. 225.

66  Štefanová, Dana and Zeitlhofer, Hermann, ‘Alter und Generationenbeziehungen in Böhmen: zum Ausgedinge in nord- und südböhmischen Dörfern in der Frühen Neuzeit’, in Ehmer, Josef and Gutschner, Peter eds., Das Alter im Spiel der Generationen: historische und Sozialwissenschaftliche Beiträge (Vienna, Cologne and Weimar, 2000), 231–58.

67  Retirement arrangements made between non-related individuals were also common in Austrian and Polish regions; see for example Michael Mitterauer, Familie und Arbeitsteilung: historisch-vergleichende Studien (Vienna, 1990), 186, and Kopczyñski, Michal, ‘Old age gives no joy? Old people in the Kujawy countryside at the end of the eighteenth century’, Acta Poloniae Historica 78 (1998), 81101.

68  Josef Ehmer, ‘The “life stairs”: aging, generational relations, and small commodity production in Central Europe’, in Tamara Hareven ed., Aging and generational relations over the life course (Berlin and New York, 1996), 53–74, here 61.

69  This becomes clear when comparing the time of death of a house-owner (taken from family reconstitution) and the time of the next transmission (taken from the land register).

70  For similar evidence see Schlumbohm, Lebensläufe, 257.

71  On the hypothesis of lower rates of female headship in Eastern European societies, including Bohemia see Ogilvie, Sheilagh and Edwards, Jeremy, ‘Women and the “second serfdom”: evidence from early modern Bohemia’, Journal of Economic History 60 (2000), 961–94.

72  For some regions of early modern Europe similar rates are found; see for example Whittle, Jane, ‘Inheritance, marriage, widowhood and remarriage: a comparative perspective on women and landholding in north-east Norfolk, 1440–1580’, Continuity and Change 13 (1998), 3372, here 38. However, in many other regions the percentages were higher; see Breit, Stephan, Leichtfertigkeit und ländliche Gesellschaft: voreheliche Sexualität in der Frühen Neuzeit (Munich, 1991), 62, for a Bavarian region, and Sieder and Mitterauer, ‘Reconstruction’, 312, 315, for an Austrian region.

73  In many Alpine regions of present-day Austria a widow had no such right; see Mitterauer, ‘Formen ländlicher Familienwirtschaft’, 314.

74  On the status of interim proprietors in other regions, see for example Schlumbohm, Lebensläufe.

75  Such strengthening of the rights of children of the first marriage of a widow is also found in other regions. See Hohkamp, ‘Wer will erben?’.

76  See in greater detail Zeitlhofer, ‘Besitztransfer’, 291.

77  See Tilly, Richard and Tilly, Charles, ‘Agenda for European economic history in the 1970s’, Journal of Economic History 31 (1971), 184–98. Especially in German-language demographic and social-historical research this position has a long tradition reaching back to the beginning of the twentieth century. Proto-industrial theory, too, was based on such assumptions: see Kriedte, Peter, Medick, Hans and Schlumbohm, Jürgen, Industrialisation before industrialisation (Cambridge, 1981). For criticism of such views see Ehmer, Josef, Heiratsverhalten, Sozialstruktur, ökonomischer Wandel (Göttingen, 1991); Schlumbohm, Jürgen, ‘Micro-history and the macro-models of the European demographic system in pre-industrial times’, The History of the Family 1 (1996), 8195; and Fertig, Georg, ‘Marriage and economy in rural Westphalia, 1750–1870: a time series and cross-sectional analysis’, in Devos, Isabelle and Kennedy, Liam eds., Marriage and rural economy: Western Europe since 1400 (Brepols, 1999), 243–71. The prominence of these views is due to the standard work on population science by Gerhard Mackenroth, Bevölkerungslehre: Theorie, Soziologie und Statistik der Bevölkerung (Berlin, 1953). For a more recent study assuming the same views see Pfister, Bevölkerungsgeschichte, 24–8.

78  See Bonnain, Rolande, ‘Houses, heirs, and non-heirs in the Adour valley: social and geographic mobility in the nineteenth-century’, The History of the Family 1 (1996), 273–95, and Mantl, Elisabeth, Heirat als Privileg: obrigkeitliche Heiratsbeschränkungen in Tirol und Vorarlberg 1820 bis 1920 (Vienna, 1997).

79  See, for example, Mooser, Josef, Ländliche Klassengesellschaft 1770–1848: Bauern und Unterschichten, Landwirtschaft und Gewerbe im östlichen Westfalen (Göttingen, 1984).

80  Schlumbohm, Lebensläufe, 582.

81  Mitterauer, Familie und Arbeitsteilung, 42.

82  Archiv Kláštera Vyšší Brod, kart. č. 219.

83  One additional lodger had been a house-owner himself before. He was not taken into consideration for this calculation.

84  The mean age at first marriage, compared with many regions of pre-modern Europe, was relatively high after about 1700 (at around 30 for men). Compare the compilation of data on marriage ages in pre-modern Europe in Michael Flinn, The European demographic system, 1500–1820 (Brighton, 1981). On marriage ages in Bohemia see Cerman, Markus, ‘Central Europe and the European marriage pattern: marriage patterns and family structure in Central Europe, 16th–19th centuries’, in Wall, Richard, Hareven, Tamara K. and Ehmer, Josef eds., Family history revisited: comparative perspectives (Newark, 2001), 282307.

85  A similar development is described by Sabean, David in Kinship in Neckarhausen, 1700–1870 (Cambridge, 1997).

86  Zeitlhofer, ‘Besitztransfer’, 303.

87  Mitterauer, ‘Formen lândlicher Familienwirtschaft’, 312.

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