Counting couples: The marriage banns registers of the city of Amsterdam, 1580–1810. Social and economic history

René van Weeren, Tine De Moor*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Marriage is generally regarded as a decisive moment in the life course of individuals. As the social, but also the legal status of women and men changes as soon as they enter marriage and – by extension – their preceding wedding engagement, registers are and were being kept to record this life event in most societies. The difficulty in studying the long-term development of marriage patterns is the need for, among other things, detailed information about the marriage formation process. Most of the research on marriage patterns is based on a limited amount of data. Data either cover only a limited period (at most several consecutive decades), a limited number of variables, a relatively small number of marriages, and/or a relatively small town or region. The Amsterdam marriage banns registers are an exception to the above, in terms of content, focus area, and volume. In this article, we present the dataset results of the Citizen Science project ‘Ja, ik wil!’ [‘Yes, I do!’], involving over 500 participants retrieving a wide range of socio-economic data on over 94,000 couples from the rich source of the historical Amsterdam marriage banns registers, covering every fifth year between 1580 and 1810.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-45
Number of pages45
JournalResearch Data Journal for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to thank all participants in the Ja, ik wil! project for their contribution to the project and the data collection for this database. We also would like to thank Ellen Fleurbaay and Hans Visser of the Amsterdam City Archives for providing index data and to the people of Picturae, who provided the technical infrastructure and support for the Vele Handen platform. Finally, we would like to thank both anonymous peer reviewers for their valuable suggestions for improving the initial draft of this article.

The data collection was part of the vidi-project ‘Nature or nature? A search for the institutional and biological determinants of life expectancy in Europe during the early modern period’, funded by the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (nwo) (vidi – de Moor – 276-53-008).

Publisher Copyright:
© René van Weeren and Tine De Moor, 2021


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