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Rethinking East-Central Europe: family systems and co-residence in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Volume 1: Contexts and analyses – Volume 2: Data quality assessments, documentation, and bibliography


Mikołaj Szołtysek

This book reconstructs fundamental aspects of family organization across historical Poland-Lithuania, one of the largest political entities in early modern Europe. Using a plethora of quantitative measurements and demographic microsimulation, the author captures and elucidates the complex patterns of leaving home and life-cycle service, marriage and household formation, along with domestic group structures and living arrangements among different subpopulations of Poland-Lithuania, highlighting a variety of ways in which these patterns were nested in their respective local and regional contexts. By showing that at the end of the 18 th century at least three distinct family systems existed in the Polish-Lithuanian territories, Szołtysek challenges a number of orthodoxies in the ‘master narratives’ on the European geography of family forms of F. Le Play, J. Hajnal, P. Laslett, and their followers. Volume two of the book contains an extensive bibliography along with a thorough archival documentation of the census-like microdata used in the book, and provides detailed information on their quality and further technicalities pertaining to data analysis.
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2. Appendix 2: Higher-rank order agglomeration


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2.  Appendix 2: Higher-rank order agglomeration

Given the practical considerations discussed in Ch. 2.2, the search for regularities and similarities between the regions that would allow us to group them into units of a higher order – and, in turn, to decrease the number of objects included in each presentation of results – became a vital issue to be addressed. This section provides detailed information on how this goal was eventually achieved.

Our point of departure was the presence of twelve regions which came into existence by grouping parishes and estates on the basis of their administrative affiliation. We also made some intuitive proposals for agglomerating these territories into objects of a higher order based on some broad non-demographic characteristics (Ch. 2.2). The most pertinent issue at that stage was how best to assess the extent to which such an ‘intuitive grouping’ reflected broader spatial congruencies in family demography, and to what extent it risked pooling together objects which, although similar in terms of their administrative affiliation or their socioeconomic or ecological features, may have varied substantially in terms of their basic parameters of family organization.

There are several ways to make such an assessment (cf. Szołtysek and Biskup 2008a). We could, for example, imagine that each of our regions represents a sample of its constitutive parishes (or estates), and that for each parish in the collection we should estimate the average proportion of multiple-family households (or any other type of...

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