Who Was My Godfather? Social Status of a Born Child and Its Godparents in the 19th Centuries in the Czech Lands

Barbora Janakova Kuprova , Charles University

Godfatherhood was significant primarily unrelated social link, which, unlike others, can be quantified and analysed for all social strata. The aim of this study is to expand research into the issue of godfatherhood and to answer questions concerning the choice of godfathers in Bohemia (┼ákvorec estate) in the first half of the 19th century (1800-1849). In other words, what was the choice of godparents in terms of their social status in society in comparisonn with the social origin of the children born? Moreover, the intention is to find out whether the godfather-godson relationship was socially homogamous or heterogamous. In addition, the legitimacy of children born is taken into account. ┼ákvorec estate was a purely agricultural area and there were more than 4,500 inhabitants here in the 1830s. Database, which was got by excerption from parish register of birth, include information about almost 10 thousands of children born, of which more over than 1 thousand were illegitimate and about almost 20 thousands of godfathers. Social positions of godfathers and children´s family were divided into six social categories, which was established especially for this study. The demographic behaviour of the local population corresponds to the economic focus of the local society and it is typical of agricultural localities in the Czech lands. It can be assumed that the social behaviour of the local population also will be considered representative of the population of the Czech lands.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course