Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Families in Transition

Families in Transition: Industry and Population in Nineteenth-Century Saint-Hyacynthe

  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Families in Transition
    Book Description:

    Gossage uses a family-reconstitution method, drawing on local parish registers and manuscript-census schedules, to focus on marriage, household organization, and family size in this context of social and economic change. Family formation was profoundly affected as couples adjusted to the new urban, industrial setting. Gossage demonstrates that demographic behaviour was increasingly differentiated by social class, with distinct marriage and fertility patterns emerging among bourgeois and proletarian families. Bourgeois women who married in the 1860s, for example, were already limiting family size, a crucial shift that did not occur in working-class families until almost a generation later.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6782-5
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Tables
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-2)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 3-10)

    In the second half of the nineteenth century, Quebec society experienced an unprecedented set of transitions. Industrial capitalism reshaped the workplace, transformed social relations, and fuelled urban growth and institutional change. Factories drew thousands of families from rural areas, contributing to the growth of one major city, Montreal, and of such smaller ones as Quebec, Hull, Sherbrooke, Valleyfield, and Saint-Hyacinthe. A new railway network provided the steel framework for the industrial economy, carving out new patterns of regional economic differentiation in the process. The state became larger, more complex, and more powerful, even as the Roman Catholic Church expanded its...

  8. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  9. 1 Saint-Hyacinthe in Context
    (pp. 11-35)

    What kind of a place was nineteenth-century Saint-Hyacinthe? In the early part of the century, it was a small village at the heart of a thriving agricultural region in one of the more recently settled parts of Quebec’s seigneurial heartland. At mid-century, the railway transformed this community as much as any other in Quebec, giving it a role it had not known before - that of regionalentrepôtand service centre - and fuelling rapid, but ultimately limited, demographic growth. In the final decades of the century, industrial capitalist enterprise reshaped the town again. With the aid of a sympathetic...

  10. 2 Genesis of an Industrial Town
    (pp. 36-78)

    The rise of industrial capitalism in the nineteenth century was accompanied by changes in all sectors of the Quebec economy. As industrial towns and cities grew, agriculture became more specialized, market oriented, and capital intensive. At the same time, modern networks of exchange and transportation emerged, and the range of services provided in such regional centres as Saint-Hyacinthe became wider and more complex. Shoe and textile factories, crowded working-class neighbourhoods, and wage dependency emerged in the context of the ever-evolving regional and local economies. It is useful, therefore, to spend some time thinking about agriculture, exchange, and services in Saint-Hyacinthe...

  11. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  12. 3 To Have and to Hold: Marriage and Family Formation in Nineteenth-Century Saint-Hyacinthe
    (pp. 79-114)

    Marriage was among the most important transitions experienced by individuals in nineteenth-century Quebec, as it is for men and women in all societies. It set up the material, affective, and symbolic conditions for the daily lives of a majority of adults. It established complex webs of social interaction involving not just husbands and wives but wider networks of kin and community. Furthermore, marriage created the only socially sanctioned context for sexuality and reproduction.¹ For all these reasons, marriage deserves the attention it has received recently from historians.²

    In Saint-Hyacinthe, people adapted marriage to the new urban and industrial realities of...

  13. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  14. 4 Families at the Threshold: Newlyweds, Household Structure, and Proximity to Kin
    (pp. 115-138)

    André Scott, a 23-year-old farmer, and Lumina Lagacé, aged 19, were married in the Saint-Hyacinthe cathedral on 27 January 1859. Two years later, the couple and their 13-month-old daughter were enumerated in the district of Saint-Hyacinthe-le-Confesseur. The young family, which in a matter of weeks would expand to four members with the birth of a second daughter, occupied their own household in this rural district. But even though they were alone together in their one-storey wooden house, they were surrounded by kin. In the next house visited by the census taker, for example, was the family of a 30-year-old farmer...

  15. 5 Interesting Conditions: Fertility and Family Size in Transition
    (pp. 139-176)

    The focus of this chapter is on fertility and fertility control in a context of fundamental economic and social change. The analysis is built around three questions. First, did fertility decline in Saint- Hyacinthe during the period of the town’s nineteenth-century industrial transition? Second, were fertility levels socially and occupationally specific? Third, if fertility levels did begin to fall in this industrializing town, what was the reason? What was the logic, in other words, linking the emergence of a particular kind of industrial capitalism with the demographic trend toward smaller families?

    To pose these questions is to attempt to operationalize...

  16. 6 Conclusion: The Art of the Possible
    (pp. 177-182)

    The research that led to this book began with a set of questions about industrial capitalism and the demographic transition, about the impact of economic change on population patterns, and about the role of the family in mediating those relationships. It focused attention on family and population in one of Quebec’s industrializing towns, Saint-Hyacinthe, in the second half of the nineteenth century. This particular town was both typical and unique in its experience of the industrial capitalist transition. It owed its commercial and administrative importance both to the arrival in the late 1840s of what soon became the Grand Trunk...

  17. Appendix Family Formation in Focus: An Essay on Methods
    (pp. 183-212)
  18. Notes
    (pp. 213-268)
  19. Bibiliography
    (pp. 269-292)
  20. Index
    (pp. 293-299)