Lineage extinction

Society is too demanding for responsibilities and people have become too individualistic. This is not going to change, because it is what Western lifestyle is based on.
 
It would make sense why in Europe lower classes might leave fewer descendants; i.e. higher child mortality rate, or later on a desire not to have more children than they could feed.

Yet, the authors say child mortality wasn't a factor, or perhaps it tended to affect all the classes.

It's interesting that they say fertility issues were also a factor. We have a tendency to think fertility issues are a modern development, but perhaps they've always been with us, and in the past there was no access to shots to stimulate ovulation, or medicines to promote retention of the fetus, or in vitro fertilization.

I also wonder if there was a difference among the lower classes once welfare laws came into effect. Once people knew they could feed their children, did they then not want more, or some children, or did the fact that birth control was available around the same time just mean they decided to have fewer children and spend the money on themselves?

That isn't in fact what's happening in the U.S., where the poorest have the most children, i.e. often minority underclass groups.

For the higher classes or even just people who owned their own land, perhaps people knew of ways to limit the number of children they had, or maybe there was a desire not to divide up the patrimony or spend too much on dowries.

That happened in multiple generations of my family on both sides. The families were huge, but many didn't marry and stayed on the property basically as unpaid labor.

Yet, the authors seem to propose that the middle classes, the farmers, were the ones who left more descendants. That doesn't comport with what happened in my own family, although it makes sense that farmers would want more hands to work the farm. As I said, though, in our culture that meant some of the children didn't marry. Still, if you have 11 and 5 or 6 reproduce, you'll still leave more descendants then if you have 3 and only two or even 1 reproduce.
 
We have a tendency to think fertility issues are a modern development, but perhaps they've always been with us.

It makes a lot of sense to me, I don't imagine peasants and poor city dwellers finding a wife/settling with a husband.

I could imagine people that are poor by today's standards but have an stable source of income, having those 5,6 children people had on average.

And the Nordics didn't participate in the World Wars, they didn't have Jewries...
In this last case, the amount of linages that went extinct might have been enormous.
 
I guess there could be large regional differences in nineteenth century, not national based, but more based on how prosperous a region in terms of advanced agriculture and industrialization of a region. For example a region like Emilia (place of the still magnificent Novecento) could show similarities with that of the Groningen region in the Northern Netherlands.

My Groningen region was in the eighteenth and nineteenth century a place for wealthy yeoman farmers, (proto-) industrial entrepreneurs and seafaring people that crossed all over Europe....traditional costume was in the nineteenth century already gone and changed for latest fashion from the European urban city centers (they knew from going overseas).

This meant an early on 'bourgeois' mindset, even for most of the 'lower class'. This meant also restrictions in having (too much) kids. The yeoman farmers became so filthy rich that they became a kind of class on it's own, the boys of the wealthiest among them went to school even as fare as Hildesheim in outmost southeast Lower Saxony in Germany (quit on distance!) and some girls even went to boarding schools in Paris (even further away). Wealth married to wealth. From my hometown I have heard many stories of endogamy in this respect, this kept the wealth in the family, but did cause hereditary diseases (like some kind of blindness).
 

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