Constructing the scaffolding: the National Census and the English landed gentry family in the Victorian period

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Abstract

The family is the fundamental unit of society and was an important focus for identity, affection and sociability amongst landed elites. Historians of landed society have generally been reticent about studying the gentry family in any depth. This has been partly due to a general reliance on published biographical and genealogical sources as well as a focus on the estate rather than the family in archival material. A more fundamental understanding of gentry society will require greater levels and depths of knowledge relating to the structure and relationships of the family. In order to achieve this on a broad and representative scale new sources and methodologies will be required. This article provides an evaluation of the census enumerator's books as a source for studying landed society and suggests a number of avenues for future research
Original languageEnglish
JournalFamily & Community History
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2006

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