It is generally assumed that the conjugal family—the family that lived independently from extended in—came into existence in the Netherlands relatively early, and that a new attitude towards children, characterized by an emphasis on the individuality of the child, developed at more or less the same time. To test whether this more narrow range of kin and the stronger emphasis on the individuality of the child translated itself also in a deviation from the traditional practice of naming newborn children for kin, the article analyzes naming patterns in a rural area of the Netherlands during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The conclusion is that the rise of the conjugal family and the new attitude that recognized the child as an autonomous individual had no impact on the degree of naming for kin. In a more general sense, the findings raise doubts about the idea that changes in family structures and mentality directly express themselves in changes in naming practices.
|Journal||The History of the Family|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|