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Kinship Patterns

Reay’s reconstruction of family kinship patterns showed that many families in the area he was studying were inter-related. He makes the point that while the nuclear family may well have been the norm in that most households consisted of two parents and their children, in fact there were numerous family members within a short distance of the so-called nuclear family, so the kinship patterns were maintained though people were not necessarily living under the same roof. Reay however was studying three villages all within a five mile radius – walking distance. It is not possible to draw such complicated kinship patterns for Elsfield as he was able to, given his greater amount of data. It is however possible in a limited way to trace what happened to families and to show to what extent the idea of the nuclear family was true. It is also noteworthy that the same patterns persisted in the 20th century.

The 19th century censuses show us how numerous families could become, often occupying more than one house within the village. Unfortunately, the houses were numbered rather than named as they are today, and were not numbered in a recognisable pattern. The enumerator at each census seems to have started at a different place, though it is possible to identify the farms, the Manor and the Vicarage.

The 1841 census shows several families who spread out from one cottage to another. The Clays, the Gurdons, the Locks, the Norths and the Harrises all occupied more than one house. The Gurdons and the Clays are here examined in detail.


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