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Family reconstitution in an urban context: some observations and methods



This paper concerns the application of methods for constructing family reconstitutions to early modern London parish register data, together with some observations on what types of demographic analysis may most successfully be performed in this context. It begins by considering the challenges presented by the urban environment, where population turnover is high and the spatial unit of analysis (the parish) will often have arbitrary boundaries not reinforced by topology. The steps of family reconstitution record linkage as best applied in an urban context are then defined and discussed. Ways of normalizing or shaping London parish register material into an appropriate input to those record linkage steps are described, concentrating in particular on name standardisation. Dates, ages, occupations and street addresses are also considered. The overall intention is to provide a practical guide to performing family reconstitutions of urban areas using computerised or computer-assisted methods.

Suggested Citation

  • Gill Newton, 2012. "Family reconstitution in an urban context: some observations and methods," Working Papers 12, Department of Economic and Social History at the University of Cambridge, revised 08 Jan 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:cmh:wpaper:01
    Note: There is a companion piece to this paper: see Gill Newton (2011): 'Recent developments in making family reconstitutions', Local Population Studies, 87, 84-89.

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    More about this item


    record linkage; names; name matching; early modern; parish registers;

    JEL classification:

    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913


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