High adult mortality in premodern societies was a factor that in a given case had multiple effects on the life course of all family members. The surviving parent had to cope alone with the difficulties of childrearing, farming or other sort of working, let alone the emotional shock of losing ... (Show more)
High adult mortality in premodern societies was a factor that in a given case had multiple effects on the life course of all family members. The surviving parent had to cope alone with the difficulties of childrearing, farming or other sort of working, let alone the emotional shock of losing a spouse. On the other hand, especially young children’s pure survival might have been at stake or elder siblings had to take part in work at a larger extent or had to leave the parental household (to marry or to enter service) in order to ease the burdens of the household head. It could also happen that an adult child’s marriage or leaving the parental household was delayed by the early death of one of the parents. All in all, the effects were considerable for everyone, but their strength depended on many factors: the sex, the social position or wealth of the lost parent, the age, sex and number of the children, the composition of the household (the presence of other relatives or servants). Similarly, the intention of the surviving partner to remarry might have been general but also depended on different conditions: the age at widowhood, sex, age and sex of children, social position, etc. Moreover, the different factors could be in many times contradictory as they could mutually counterbalance the impacts of each other.
In our paper we aim at studying the determinants of remarriage in a multi-ethnic microregion of 19th century Hungary. It consisted of two Roman Catholic German villages and a very close Calvinist Hungarian village. We reconstruct the individual life courses of the local population on the basis of the parish records. In our study we analyse the likelihood of remarriage among widowed people by using event history analysis, where the main co-variants will be sex, age at widowhood, duration of widowhood, socio-economic status, the number, age, sex and marital status of children. While the parish records used can make possible to consider the birth, death or marriage of children in this respect, the series of surviving household lists in one of the cases (the village Zsámbék) can reveal the actual composition of the households of the widowed persons and its impact on their chances of remarrying. All these effects will be analysed in a region so far less studied where several ethnic and denominational groups lived together with very different customs related to marriage or inheritance. (Show less)