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Hingham, Massachusetts Family Reconstructions, 1635-1880 (ICPSR 34546)

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

The data are families in Hingham, Massachusetts, reconstituted by Daniel Scott Smith for his PhD dissertation from printed genealogies, vital, church and tax records, and censuses, along the lines of previous French and English work (e.g. Fleury, M. and L. Henry, Nouveau manuel de depouillement et d'exploitation de l'etat civil ancien (1965) and Wrigley, E.A, "Family Reconstitution," in E.A. Wrigley, ed. An Introduction to English Historical Demography (1966)). Family reconstitution is a method for studying demographic behavior in the absence of modern censuses and vital registration, providing for both observation of demographic events as well as the population and time at risk. In his dissertation, Population, Family and Society in Hingham, Massachusetts, 1635-1880 (University of California-Berkeley, 1973) Smith refers to the data as "statistical genealogy". The data were intended to be used to examine demographic patterns, family structure and social stratification in the past, and to generalize these patterns across the New England region. This dataset includes information on 1727 marriages. Variables include information about birth, death, marriage, fertility and wealth of husbands and wives, their parents and children. Naming practices are also represented in the data. There are no direct observations of children, but rather summary-type measures of characteristics of children and the couple's fertility history. A variable indicating the quality of the reconstitution is included. However, the meaning of the variable values has been lost.

Series: Historical Demography of the United States Series

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

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    This study is provided by ICPSR. ICPSR provides leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for a diverse and expanding social science research community.

Dataset(s)

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Study Description

Citation

Smith, Daniel Scott. Hingham, Massachusetts Family Reconstructions, 1635-1880. ICPSR34546-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research[distributor], 2014-05-19. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34546.v1

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   birth, children, demography, families, family histories, family relationships, fertility, marriage, mortality rates, parents

Smallest Geographic Unit:   Town

Geographic Coverage:   Hingham, Massachusetts, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1635--1880

Unit of Observation:   Family (not necessarily co-resident)

Universe:   The population of Hingham, Massachusetts.

Data Types:   administrative records data, census/enumeration data, event/transaction data

Data Collection Notes:

There are discrepancies between the earliest and latest dates present in the data (husband's and wive's birth and death dates) and the study time periods and time frames provided by the data depositor. The dates indicated in the metadata fields "Study Time Periods and Time Frames" are those provided to ICPSR when the collection was deposited. No additional information was provided.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   The data were intended to be used to examine demographic patterns, family structure and social stratification in the past, and to generalize these patterns across the New England region. Hingham was chosen because of its long and relatively complete set of records.

Study Design:   The data are families in Hingham, Massachusetts, reconstituted by Daniel Scott Smith for his PhD dissertation from printed genealogies, vital, church and tax records, and censuses, along the lines of previous French and English work (e.g. Fleury, M. and L. Henry, Nouveau manuel de depouillement et d'exploitation de l'etat civil ancien (1965) and Wrigley, E.A, "Family Reconstitution." In E.A. Wrigley, ed. An Introduction to English Historical Demography (1966)).

Sample:   Marriages were included in the data only if the families could be reconstituted: that is, the wife's birth date, the marriage date, the birthdates of children, and the date of the end of the marriage were all known. The methodology and biases arising from family reconstitution are discussed in Chapter 2 of Daniel Scott Smith, "Population, family and society in Hingham, Massachusetts, 1635-1880," Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of California, Berkeley, 1973.

Weight:   The data are not weighted.

Mode of Data Collection:   record abstracts

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

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