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A Little CommonwealthFamily Life in Plymouth Colony$
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John Demos

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780195128901

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195128901.001.0001

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(p.62) Chapter Four Membership
A Little Commonwealth

John Demos

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the typical membership of a colonial family in Plymouth Colony. It suggests that small and essentially nuclear families were standard during this period, contrary to the widely held belief that the norm was some sort of extended family, with a variety of kinship connections, all gathered under one roof. An analysis of the 1689 census reveals that a typical household usually had four to six members consisting of head-of-household, wife, children, and servant.

Keywords:   colonial family, Plymouth Colony, nuclear families, extended family, census, household

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