Re: Illegitimate births circa 1840 #germany

Paul King

Limiting fertility was often a state or municipal (local) policy aimed at economically dependent or religiously undesirable populations and should not be considered as solely aimed at controlling Jewish demographics. Nevertheless, the Familiant Decree, introduced in Bohemia and Moravia in 1726 allowing only the eldest son of Jewish parents to marry, remained in force with various attenuations for some 125 years, and was honored more in the breach than in its observance. During and after the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), Protestants faced marriage constraints in Catholic jurisdictions; throughout the "second serfdom"  (16th-18th c.) serfs required highly-priced marriage licenses and faced monetary penalties, incarceration and deportation for marrying illegally. Political authorities sought to guard against pauperization of potential families without means. By and large, these punitive measures acted as a deterrent to marriage. Amongst the Jewish population, far less so, despite intermittent calls by guilds to expel Jewish competition.




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