Getting married. Cross-border marriage migration in Kleefs-Gelderse villages205, 1770-1860

Maarten Duijvendak, Raymon R.J. Middelbos

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    Abstract

    This article is about regions perceived as human constructions, resulting from peoples’ activities, in this case by marriage migration. Marriage is a well-documented human activity; marriage certificates state places of birth of the brides and grooms. It makes possible to research geographical exo- /endogamy, plus it provides information on the distances people travelled to meet a marriage partner. Marriage migration also serves as an indication on how communities were connected. We will discuss cross-border marriage migration between communities in the Dutch province of Guelders and villages or towns in the former Cleves’ enclaves [De Liemers] that were part of Prussia / Germany. The 1770-1860 period was chosen because of the incorporation of these enclaves (Duiven and Zevenaar) into the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the improving infrastructure. Westervoort was included for reasons of comparison. We expect three phenomena: decreasing endogamy, less German spouses and an increasing distance that people migrated to find a partner.
    The place of birth of people that married in Westervoort indicates a decreasing endogamy. In the 18th century the majority of people married within the village, but between 1770 and 1811 the percentage of these marriages dropped from 80 percent to below 50 percent. For Duiven and Zevenaar data is less clear, but indicate the same development. The average distance travelled was slightly higher at the start of the nineteenth century – when the share of exogamous marriages reached its peak – and increased again in the 1840s and 1850s as a result of new travel options. The share of spouses being born in Germany was markedly higher in Zevenaar and Duiven compared to Westervoort, and during the early years after the incorporation in the Netherlands in 1817. The majority of German birth places were located in the Dutch-German border region with Emmerich and Elten as the two most important suppliers. These German places never provided as many spouses as central places like Arnhem and Didam.
    Our conclusion confirms the expectation of increasing marriage migration and a wider marriage market. In the two former enclaves an orientation on Germany lasted for a number of years after incorporation. The marriage market suggests the existence of a region defined by peoples´ activity, but this wasn´t a permanent phenomenon. The decrease in German spouses after 1817 is a clear indication for a new regional orientation in this border-region.
    Translated title of the contributionGetting married. Cross-border marriage migration in Kleefs-Gelderse villages205, 1770-1860
    Original languageDutch
    Title of host publicationBegrensd Beeld
    Subtitle of host publicationIdentiteit in Grensregio's omstreeks 1800
    EditorsJob Weststrate, Dick de Boer
    Place of PublicationHilversum
    PublisherUitgeverij Verloren
    Pages205-228
    Number of pages23
    ISBN (Print)9789087049331
    Publication statusPublished - 15-Jul-2021

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