Poznań family before, during and after the First World War: changes in marriage and fertility patterns

Poznań family before, during and after the First World War: changes in marriage and fertility patterns

Author:  Grazyna Liczbinska, Adam Mickiewicz University, Faculty of Biology, Institute of Anthropology, Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznań

Panel: Reinventing Family Continuity after a War Hecatomb

Key words: age at marriage, age of first birth, birth-intervals, social status, religious denomination


During World War I Poland did not exist as an independent state. When World War I started, Polish territory was partitioned between Austria, German Empire and Russia. In the aftermath of the war in 1918 Poland became an independent country. The aim of this paper is to present changes in marriage and fertility patterns among Poznań families during and after the First World War. The study uses a unique material, i.e. domicile files from the Municipal Records of Poznań residents, from which 650 histories of randomly selected families were extracted. It was assumed that WWI and post-war situation influenced marriage and fertility of Poznań inhabitants coming from various religious and social groups. Since in historical populations the moment of wedding was linked to family formation, the sample was divided into two groups by the year of matrimony connected with the period of WWI (group one included marriages contracted to the end of 1913 and group two included marriages contracted during and after WWI). The following values were calculated: the differences between average ages at first marriage, at giving birth to the first and the second child, as well as the differences between protogenetic and first intergenetic intervals. The differences between the above variables describing fertility were assessed with ANOVA (p<0.01).
Main results concerning strategies of family formation and fertility patterns in Poznan before 1914 and after 1914 will be presented, stressing differences between Catholics and Lutherians and differences according to social backgrounds.