Between Microhistory, Demography, and Rural Studies: The Settlements and Household of the Inhabitants of Kražiai and Užventis Parishes in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century

  • Laurynas Giedrimas
Keywords: microhistory, historical demography, rural studies, household, Kražiai parish, Užventis parish


The article deals with the relation between the settlement and household of inhabitants in the first half of the nineteenth century in Kražiai and Užventis parishes, Samogitia. In the middle of the twentieth century, John Hajnal and Peter Laslett started researching the history of resident households. The researchers formulated theoretical and methodological basics for household analysis and encouraged other history researchers and demographers to undertake similar studies. Researchers who analysed households in Central and Eastern Europe refuted or corrected numerous statements by John Hajnal and Peter Laslett. They found that the most common household in Central and Eastern Europe was the nuclear household, although in many cases it was possible to find extended households. However, there is no clear relationship between the institution and the household. After analysing the aforementioned documents, it was discovered that during the first half of the nineteenth century, the nuclear household dominated the parishes of Kražiai and Užventis. However, the extended family is dominant in the towns of Kolainiai and Pakražantis. The single-person household dominated folwarks and manorial settlements. The relationship between the settlement and the household was significant. Eight types of settlements existed in the parishes of Kražiai and Užventis in the first half of the nineteenth century: the town (miestas, miasto), the township (miestelis, miasteczko, мњстечко), the manor (dvaras, dwór, majątek, имњние), folwark (palivarkas, folwark, фольварк), the manor village (bajorkaimis, okolica, околица), the village (kaimas, wieś, деревня), behind the wall (užusienis, zaścianek, застенок), and the felling (apyrubė, obręb, обруб). The smallest household was in the town of Kražiai, while the biggest household was found in the manor estate in Užventis parish.