Kept in the Family: Remarriage, Siblings, and Consanguinity in the Netherlands 1812 - 1927

Ingrid van Dijk, Lund University
Jan Kok, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen

Widowhood involves many practical challenges next to the emotional challenges of bereavement. Remarriage may constitute a solution to generating an income for the family as well as providing childcare to the couples’ children. A particular case is remarriage to blood relatives of the deceased individual, which may carry the benefit of a blood relation between children and the new spouse as well as issues related to inheritance and access to in-law childcare. Although marriage to the brother or sister of a deceased spouse was forbidden in The Netherlands under the Dutch Civil Law, we observe marriages to siblings of the deceased, as well as marriages to cousins and other distant and “cold” (i.e. non-blood) relatives. In this paper, we explore whether such marriages can be ascribed to chance or whether they were a strategic choice of widows and widowers. We distinguish between widows and widowers in more vulnerable conditions (i.e. with young children and living in poverty) and those in more beneficial conditions. We explore their likelihood to remarry, their (blood) relationship to the new spouse, and changing solutions to the challenges that accompany widowhood over time.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 147. Marriage Patterns around the World