Charleville’s census reports: an exceptional source for the longitudinal study of urban populations in France

Fabrice Boudjaaba (CNRS - Rennes-II), Vincent Gourdon (CNRS - Rennes-II), Carole Rathier (Université Bordeaux-III)

Abstract

Charleville’s census reports: an exceptional source for the longitudinal study of urban populations in France

In this article, we present a new historical demography research project about a French little city near the Belgian frontier, Charleville. Created in the seventeenth-century by the Gonzaga’s dynasty, Charleville is the only French city where the urban authorities have made annual reports of the population since the end of the seventeenth-century till the Second World War. With this new database, which is described in the paper, we intend to make a nominative and longitudinal reconstruction of the life-course of a large sample of the inhabitants (those whose patronymic begins with the letter B) for two centuries. Furthermore, we also try to rebuild their genealogies, their social networks and their residential mobility. As an example of new research that makes use of the available data, we study the emigration from Charleville during the French Second Empire. The annual emigration in particular was very important, as 14% of the inhabitants who were in the city in 1864 had left one year after. Finally, we examine the impact of some explaining factors for individual emigration, as the age, the geographical and the national origin, and the position in the household.

DOI: 10.4424/ps2010-9

Keywords

Demographic database; census; mobility; urban history; France