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Marriage in 18th-Century Germany

Have you found cases of illegitimate births in your research of 18th-Century parish records? Consider this:

Both in Europe and the American colonies, the illegitimacy rate shot up during the middle and late eighteenth century -- a development that has generally been interpreted as a sign of a growing sense of individual choice and independence among young women, and perhaps it was. The incidence of premarital pregnancies in America in that period -- 30 percent of the female population experienced them -- was not equaled again until the 1960s. But the rising illegitimacy rate could just as well be accounted for by the fact that, as society became more mobile and the community less controlling (and less willing to intervene on behalf of "wronged" women), men found it easier to abandon the women they had made pregnant.

This excerpt is from San Francisco Examiner Magazine, July 5, 1998 by Lis Harris from her book The Rules of Engagement (1995).

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This page last updated Sat Jun 12 14:52:23 PDT 1999 (created July 9, 1998).
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