Martor No. 25 / Year 2020

Marriage and Family Life of Romanians and Roma: Aspects Reflected in the First Two Modern Romanian Censuses (Download PDF)

Author: 

Bogdan Mateescu

Nicolae Iorga Institute of History, Romania 

Pages: 37-58

Keywords: Wallachia, Moldavia, Romanian censuses, slavery, household.

Abstract: This research constitutes a historical and micro-demographic approach to the subject of marriage and family. Despite the expected uniformity of many social behaviors or demographic patterns characteristic of a preindustrial society as the one studied here, the Romanian and Roma communities under scrutiny appear to still have been marked by important differences in terms of urban/rural residence, employment, residential status, social status, freedom or lack thereof, differences that had the potential to influence close ties between individuals. Social stratification in urban Wallachia offers the best examples of how domestic service, employment, and slavery can be framed from the point of view of family and private life. Even so, since the field of micro-demographics is relatively new in Romanian historiography, the goals of this paper are not centered on a particular research question. Instead, they are largely exploratory and overlap with those of my unpublished doctoral thesis. I did, however, incorporate the aforementioned contextual elements into the analysis, but as pathways of interpretation, and not starting points of discussion. I used nineteenth-century population lists to glean as much as I could on marriage, widowhood, the presence of children, and overall belonging to a nuclear family. Next, I translated the data thus gleaned into different indicators, which I then applied in analyzing different population groups, with a focus on Romanians and Roma. The sources I used are the first two general modern censuses in Romanian history, which were conducted in 1838 in Wallachia and 1859 in Moldavia.

How to cite this article: Mateescu, Bogdan. 2020. “Marriage and Family Life of Romanians and Roma: Aspects Reflected in the First Two Modern Romanian Censuses” Martor 25: 37-58.