Communities, families and migration: some evidence from Cornwall
University of Exeter
Family & Community History
Taking its cue from Pooley and Turnbull’s (1998) claim that there is no evidence of any difference in the propensity to migrate by region or settlement size, this article investigates the appropriate scale for migration research. It presents some preliminary findings from a micro-level study of three occupationally contrasting communities in Cornwall in the second half of the 19th century. Reconstructing the migration histories of a cohort of children from the 1851 census enumerators’ books and making use of local and online census and civil registration index databases, the study identifies some clear differences in migration patterns and propensity at the community level. Moving from patterns to processes it argues that labour markets and occupational structures remain the most important explanatory variables structuring migration, but that these were mediated at the individual level by the influence of the family which played a key role in facilitating or deterring movement.
© Maney Publishing 2007
Vol. 10 (1), pp. 49-60