1st Edition

Remarriage and Stepfamilies in East Central Europe, 1600-1900

Edited By Gabriella Erdélyi, András Péter Szabó Copyright 2023
    364 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Due to high adult mortality and the custom of remarriage, stepfamilies were a common phenomenon in pre-industrial Europe. Focusing on East Central Europe, a neglected area of Western historiography, this book draws essential comparisons in terms of remarriage patterns and stepfamily life between East Central Europe and Northwestern Europe. How did the specific economic, military-political, legal, religious, and cultural profile of the region affect remarriage patterns and stepfamily types? How did the greater propensity of widowed parents to remarry in some of the East Central European communities compared to Western ones shape the children’s lives? And how did the routine divorce before Orthodox courts by ordinary men and women shape relationships among children and adults belonging to blended families?

    By drawing on quantitative as well as qualitative approaches, the book offers an historical demographical narrative of the frequency of stepfamilies in a comparative framework, and also assesses the impact of stepparents on the mortality and career prospects of their stepchildren. The ethnic and religious diversity of East Central Europe also allows for distinctions and comparisons to be made within the region.

    Remarriage and Stepfamilies in East Central Europe, 1600-1900 will appeal to researchers and students alike interested in the history of family, marriage, and society in East Central Europe.


    Gabriella Erdélyi

    1. The Demography of Stepfamilies
    2. 1 Inheritance and Stepfamilies in Bohemian Rural Society (1650–1800)

      Alice Velková

      2 Magnate and Noble Stepfamilies in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from the Sixteenth Century to the Eighteenth

      Marzena Liedke, Piotr Guzowski

      3 Career Potentials of Stepchildren in the Lutheran Community of Pressburg (Bratislava, Slovakia), 1730–1850

      Árpád Tóth

      4 Orphans and Stepchildren: The Impact of Parental Loss and Parental Remarriage on Children’s First Marriages in Zsámbék in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

      Péter Őri

      5 Marriage, Widowhood, and Remarriage in the Székely Land (1830–1939)

      Sándor Lakatos


    3. Egodocuments and Stepfamily Relationships

    6 Mothering Half-Sisters. Maternal Love, Anger, and Authority in Early Modern Hungary

    Gabriella Erdélyi

    7 Remarriage and Stepfamilies Among the Lutheran Urban Elite in Seventeenth-Century Hungary. Neo-Latin Wedding Poetry as Source

    Ágnes Máté

    8 Roads to Recomposed Families of the Nobility in Seventeenth-Century Transylvania

    András Péter Szabó

    9 Stepfamily Relations in Autobiographical Writings in Eighteenth-Century Transylvania

    Andrea Fehér

    10 ‘Her children to have as children of ours’: Stepfamilies in the Romanian Principalities in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries

    Constanţa Vintilă


    Gabriella Erdélyi is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of History, Research Centre for the Humanities in Budapest. She is principal investigator of the "Integrating Families: Stepfamilies and Children in the Past" Project and Research Group, funded by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2017–22). Her books include Negotiating Violence. Papal Pardons and Everyday Life in East Central Europe (Leiden: Brill, 2018) and A Cloister on Trial: Religious Culture and Everyday Life in Late Medieval Hungary (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015).

    András Péter Szabó has served since 2012 as Research Fellow at the Institute of History, Research Centre for the Humanities in Budapest. His primary area of expertise is the social and ecclesiastical history of the Kingdom of Hungary and Transylvania in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.