Marriage systems and remarriage in 19th century Hungary: a comparative study

Peter Öri, Hungarian Central Statistical Office (HCSO)
Levente Pakot, Hungarian Central Statistical Office (HCSO)

It has been well known for some decades that regarding the intensity and timing of marriage pre-modern Hungary belonged to the so called (and sharply criticised) ‘eastern’ marriage pattern. But all our knowledge on pre-industrial marriage customs of Hungary is based on very rough macro-level variables . But we hardly know the geography of marriage customs or the economic, social, cultural or household context of marrying and remarrying at micro-level. We do not know the functioning of the different marriage patterns, the factors influencing the age of marrying or the possibilities of marrying, how the pattern of early and intensive marriage affected the marriage market and the possibilities of remarrying. This study deals with the marriage and remarriage customs of three pre-industrial Hungarian community of which two are situated in Transylvania, in the eastern part of the country (in Romania at present) while the third one is close to Budapest, the administrative and economic centre of the country. The research tries to explore the key elements and influencing factors of the pattern of early and general marriage, the impact of this pattern on remarrying in communities with different demographic, economic and cultural conditions and traditions. The study is based on individual data of parish registers elaborated by the help of family-reconstitution. The analysis tries to show the impact of different factors at family-level (the age at first marriage, the period and age at entering into widowhood, the sex, age and presence of children) on remarriage. The analysis is carried out in a comparative respect, examining the economic, demographic and cultural differences of the communities under investigation and their affects on remarriage customs.

Presented in Session 62: Historical perspectives on family dynamics