Abstracts - historical strand

Strand organiser: Dr. Alice Reid, University of Cambridge

Abstracts are listed in the order the papers are scheduled for presentation. Please refer to the programme for timings.

Explaining the geography of maternal mortality in England and Wales before the 1930s.
Alice Reid, University of Cambridge

Before its major decline in the 1930s, one of the most striking characteristics of maternal mortality was its geographical pattern, with maternal deaths per 10,000 births much higher to the north and west of the Tees-Exe line than to the south and east of it. The factors underlying this pattern have never been systematically explored, and this paper uses maps and regressions with maternal mortality data for administrative counties and county boroughs to investigate the roles of the availability of doctors and of trained and untrained midwives, infection in urban-industrial areas, background mortality, and registration issues on the geography of maternal mortality. It finds that industrial structure, background mortality and the provision and training of midwives were important explanatory variables, and suggests that both finer grained variations in midwifery services as well as local differences in the quality of cause of death recording might also affect the regional pattern.

Email: Dr. Alice Reid: amr1001@cam.ac.uk|

From pestilence and famine to receding pandemics? Changes in the relationship between adult and child mortality in England, c.1600-1800
Peter Kitson, University of Cambridge

This paper will explore spatial and chronological variations in adult and child mortality during the parish register period. Family reconstitution evidence suggests that while adult mortality improved throughout the period, infant and child mortality worsened until the mid-eighteenth century before improving. The research presented here will attempt to explore this in greater detail using both new and existing datasets. In our new burial abstractions, we have distinguished between adults and children, on the basis of the relationship given in the parish register (e.g. \'son of\', \'wife of\') or stated ages where available. This paper will compare this evidence with other evidence, particularly family reconstitution data, to explore the divergence between the experience of mortality among the young and the adult population.

Email: Dr. Peter Kitson: pmk24@cam.ac.uk|

Spatial synchronicity in annual fluctuations in mortality from English parish burials 1538-1837
Gill Newton, University of Cambridge

This paper will examine convergences in the experience of mortality in different English locations over the full parish register period, during which market integration and improving transport links are theorised to have brought England\'s population into increasingly close contact, while infectious disease remained the major cause of death. A GIS of all sample areas will allow us to investigate the spatial relationship between parishes with stronger and weaker correlations in annual mortality fluctuations. We should be able to include preliminary transport network maps of roads and rivers, so as to consider the pathways by which infectious disease may have been transmitted between settlements.

Email: Gill Newton: ghn22@cam.ac.uk|

Foetal mortality and mortality during childhood in Spain, 1890 to 2010
Diego Ramiro Fariñas, Spanish National Research Council

Recent studies have pointed out the importance of stillbirth mortality and foetal mortality in general on childhood mortality and other demographic estimates during the demographic transition. Good example of these studies are those carried out by Robert Woods who undertook an analysis of the probability of surviving from conception till delivery, pointing out the importance of this period of life, many times neglected in the analysis in favour of other early mortality estimates, such us neonatal or infant mortality. Most of the studies regarding foetal mortality used data from Northern European countries due to their quality and availability. In this case we will present data from a Southern European country, using different datasets, from aggregated data to individual level material from the City of Madrid, mostly from the period of time from 1890 till 1915. We will show the evolution of Foetal mortality in Spain during the XXth Century and we will show some specific characteristics regarding foetal mortality in relationship with first week and neonatal mortality.

Email: Dr. Diego Ramiro Fariñas: diego.ramiro@cchs.csic.es|

Waist not, want not: Measuring historical obesity using anthrpometric data from two British tailors
Sarah Campbell, University of Oxford

This paper will establish the merits of using a new and original data source – tailors’ records – to analyse changes in body shape and biological standard of living in the past. I will illustrate how tailors’ records improve upon existing anthropometric sources by providing data for a broad range of the demographic, household groups, and the body in its entirety, which is suitable for both cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis. In the process, the nature of my two key datasets will be revealed – the first from Morris & Son tailoring establishment in Barmouth, North-West Wales in the 1890s; and the second from Henry Poole & Co. ‘Savile Row’ tailors in Mayfair, London from the second half of the nineteenth century. The anthropometric data for waist circumferences and hip circumferences collected from these datasets has been cross-referenced with modern epidemiological literature to highlight distinct obesity related health risks within both populations. My results indicate that health concerns such as type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and some cancers are not a modern phenomenon, nor strictly 'diseases of affluence' but permeated all class groups.  In fact, Barmouth’s economic transition from a port to a tourist destination at this time appears to have placed individuals' health (when measured by waist-hip ratio) at greater risk than the overall wealthier customers attending Savile Row.  My conclusion is that the Barker hypothesis is relevant - an influx of wealth was of greater detriment to health in later life than consistent affluence.

Email: Sarah Campbell: sarah.campbell@keble.ox.ac.uk|

Anthropometric history in the short, medium and long term
Berrnard Harris, University of Southampton

The use of anthropometric data has played an increasingly important part in historical debates over the last thirty years. This paper examines the relevance of such data to the analysis of historical problems in the short, medium and long term. Section one reviews the use of anthropometric data to examine short-term questions such as the impact of unemployment and war on health and wellbeing in the twentieth century. Section two examines the relevance of such data to debates on such issues as the direction of living standards in eighteenth-century Europe, the impact of urbanisation and the \'antebellum puzzle\' in the United States. Section three uses archaeological evidence to examine the impact of climate change and other long-run changes on human welfare during the last two millennia.

Email: Professor Bernard Harris: bjh2@soton.ac.uk|

Advances in the study of gender-specific health conditions in the past: approaching size dimorphism through health surveys
Antonio D. Camara, Centre d\'Estudis Demografics (CED)

The aim of this paper is to implement a solid approach to gender-specific long-term trends in health through the exploration of cohort height differentials between men and women. The research on size dimorphism among past populations has been hampered by either the assumption of biological mechanisms as its only determinant or, more importantly, the few representative samples of female historical heights. Hence there are two main motivations driving this research, namely 1) to prove size dimorphism as a valid indicator of environmental influences on key components of health (e.g. net nutritional status) and in such a case 2) to test a resilience or biological hypothesis (i.e. different eco-sensitivity between males and females) and a social hypotheses (i.e. differentials related to preferential care or asymmetric allocation of resources at pre-adult ages). Series of size dimorphism for Spain (self-reported anthropometrics) and England (measured anthropometrics) are constructed from health interview surveys microdata. These data come from repeated cross-sectional surveys that after harmonization and aggregation protocols applied, result in solid cohort samples. OLS regression is used to control for potential factors of misreporting and/or biological determinants of height at the individual level (i.e. age) as well as for variations in some potential determinants of cohort mean height over time (i.e. the varying share of educational attainment categories across cohorts). These series not only cover the twentieth century satisfactorily but also, and more importantly, they may serve to precise the interpretation of the very partial evidence on size dimorphism available for former historical periods.

Email: Dr. Antonio D. Camara: adcamara@ced.uab.es|

Leaving home and transition to adulthood in historical Eastern Central Europe
Mikolaj Szoltysek, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

F. Billari lamented that ‘not much is known about what used to happen (…) about leaving home in the East [of Europe]’ (Billari et.al. 2001, 342-343). Other scholars exploring contemporary intra-European diversity in the transition to adulthood also regretted the lack of solid knowledge on nest-leaving patterns in historical Eastern Central Europe (Billari et.al. 2001, 342-343; also Iacovou 2001, 2002; Buchmann and Kriesi 2011). This paper is going to fill this gap. Drawing on an unprecedented collection of census microdata from eighteenth-century Poland, Belarus and Ukraine, and combining demography with family history and life course studies, it identifies and differentiates home leaving behaviours of several distinct sub-populations within Eastern-Central Europe (overall: 160.000 individuals living in ca. 1000 settlements). Significant variations in patterns of leaving home separate these sub-populations, encouraging us to sort out demographic, socioeconomic, ecological, and cultural factors that influence them. By providing an evidence of a widespread tendency to nonfamily living among young adults in some of these historical populations this paper also seeks out to better understand the presumably ‘revolutionary’ changes observed contemporary in the home leaving patterns in Europe.

Email: Dr. Mikolaj Szoltysek: szoltysek@demogr.mpg.de|

The relationship between leaving the parental home and migration: Evidence from the 1881 census enumerators\' books
Joseph Day, University of Cambridge

As processes that are important determinants of population and its distribution; migration and exiting the parental home have independently received increasing attention from those interested in both contemporary and historical populations. However; it has often been overlooked that the decision to exit the parental home and the migration decision are often one and the same. Interpreting leaving home and migrating as a single phenomenon; it is possible to see beyond the proximate determinants governing the timing of individuals\' exit from the parental home and where they subsequently migrated to and instead analyse the decisions that underlay the resultant migration streams. This paper will use the complete 1881 census enumerators\' books to firstly; calculate estimates of the age at leaving the parental home and secondly; analyse the migration streams of the resident English and Welsh populations by linking 24,000,000 individuals to a parish of birth using a complex hierarchical coding dictionary. By correlating the mean age at leaving home with the mean distance migrated from each SRD an initial picture of the relationship between leaving home and migration emerges. This paper hopes to be of interest not only by its findings but its methodology which consists of a comprehensive database linking 95% of the population to a spatially-referenced place of birth and utilises a large and seemingly unwieldy dataset effectively by analysing the data spatially. Analysing the data in this manner enables relationships to be detected and causalities inferred in a way that could not otherwise be achieved with census data.

Email: Joseph Day: jd466@cam.ac.uk|

Widowhood and remarriage in Alghero, Sardinia, 1866-1925
Lucia Pozzi, Marco Breschi, Massimo Esposito, Stanislau Mazzoni, University of Sassari

This paper is focused on the study of remarriage in Sardinia from the years following national unification until the first decades of the 20th Century. The island was characterised by a different marriage pattern than the one predominant in Italy. As early as the High Middle Ages, marriage in the island was celebrated with the community property regime. One of the most significant differences was, indeed, the relevant role recognised to Sardinian women in the management of the family and its economic resources. Women were the reference point for the entire family and because of their important and acknowledged role they were often included in the inheritance system. In the light of the peculiarities that distinguish Sardinia from the rest of the country, this region represents an interesting scenario for the study of nuptial dynamics and in particular of remarriage in historical context. Our research is based on a micro analytic approach with individual data and is focused on the community of Alghero, a north western coastal Sardinian town. The adopted approach is longitudinal, and based on a complex individual dataset that is the result of the integration of civil and religious sources. Our principal aim is to identify the socio-demographic characteristics of widows and widowers and to observe closely which individual and contextual characteristics led them eventually to rebuild their families. The study of second marriages in Alghero allows us to analyse closely the family recomposition dynamics in a community belonging to the vast and still unexplored area of the Mediterranean.

Email: Professor Luci Pozzi: lpozzi@uniss.it|

Children born alive, children who have died": how accurately did parents reply to the special questions in the 1911 'Fertility census'? An initial assessment
Simon Szreter, University of Cambridge; Alice Reid, University of Cambridge; Eilidh Garrett, University of St. Andrews; Sam Szreter, University of Cambridge

With the imminent release of the individual census responses to the 1911 'Fertility Census' for academic study under the I-CeM project, it is timely to enquire how accurate the answers to the special questions regarding \'the fertility of marriage\' may have been. Did women who had been married longer have poorer recall of the number of children they had borne and subsequently lost than women married only a few years before the census was taken? Using information transcribed from the 1881, 1891 and 1901 censuses of the town of Ipswich, Suffolk, in conjunction with data on births and deaths in the town over the 1881-1910 period gathered by a previous project from vaccination register data, and the searching facilities available via findmypast.co.uk this paper will examine three marriage cohorts of women who married in the town aged 20-24. Their responses to the questions in the 1911 census will be compared with the number of births attributed to their current marriage and the number of deaths of their children recorded in the vaccination registers, in order to see whether the different sources agree on their fertility and mortality experience. The three cohorts will then be compared in order to discern whether women married in the 1880s were less likely to accurately record their demographic history when responding to the 1911 Census than women married in the 1890s and 1900s. Other aspects of Ipswich\'s demographic regime in the late-nineteeth and early-twentieth centuries will also be briefly explored.

Email: Dr. Eilidh Garrett: eilidh.garrett@btinternet.com|