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Labouring Lives

Women, work and the demographic transition in the Netherlands, 1880–1960


Angélique Janssens

Labouring Lives unravels the huge changes which have so fundamentally altered the life courses of ordinary women over the past one hundred and fifty years, namely the changes in marriage and fertility patterns. Using dynamic data from Dutch population registers and analytical techniques from the life course approach, the book offers new evidence on women’s changing position in the labour market, their role in pre-nuptial sexuality, and their contribution to marriage and fertility change in the Netherlands between 1880 and 1960. The author reconstructs the socio-economic and demographic worlds of different groups of working and non-working women, and by doing so she is able to locate the various groups driving the changes. Advanced statistical tools enable the author to analyse differences in fertility strategies, stopping versus spacing, employed by various social and cultural groups in the Netherlands. This book leads to conclusions which challenge a number of orthodoxies in the field.
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Appendix 2.1

Dutch Population registers and civil registers


Continuous population registers have existed in the Netherlands since 1850 when, after a Royal Decree of 22 December 1849, all communities were obliged to trace and record all individuals who were legally residing within their boundaries. From 1861 onwards government stipulations changed so that communities were obliged to record their de facto population; i.e. those actually resident. Continuous population registers remained in use until 1920 in most cases, or, as in the case of the city of Enschede, until 1937. The census taken on 19 November 1849 served as the basis for the first population registers. The authorities in each community copied the individual census returns from the area under their jurisdiction into the population register, where all changes occurring in the resident population over the next decade were subsequently recorded. With each subsequent census the procedure was repeated so that each community has a series of population registers covering the ten year time-spans between succeeding censuses. Individuals can be located in the population registers via the alphabetical indices to each register which list each individual’s full name, year of birth and the number of the volume and pages where information concerning that individual may be found in that particular register. Vital events, i.e. births, deaths and marriages, were also, before being recorded in the population register, entered in the civil registers which are discussed further below.

The registers list each household on a separate double folio page, with the head of the household first, then...

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