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Dee Burris Blakley ([personal profile] dee_burris) wrote2010-11-28 08:58
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Musing on family planning...

As I've plowed through the mountains of documents that go into researching my family tree, I noticed something.

From all the branches and twigs, a decided decline in the numbers of children after the 1910 census.

Prior to that time, I'd catch myself looking at a census form and muttering under my breath, that poor woman, because she would be mothering anywhere from 10 to 16 stairstep kids. In many cases, they were all her own, but sometimes there were stepchildren from the wife who had lived and died before her. In the case of my great-great grandmother on my dad's side, all fifteen children, including three sets of twins, were hers. (Not counted in that total were the children her husband had with his deceased second wife.)

But after the 1910 census, the number of offspring declined dramatically down to five, four, or two.

What, I wondered, had happened to my formerly fecund forebears? (Say that three times fast.)

I think I may have discovered at least part of the reason.

The latex condom was invented in 1919.

[identity profile] nolichuckyroots.blogspot.com (from livejournal.com) 2010-11-28 15:19 (UTC)(link)
I do love your musings. Made my morning!

[identity profile] oakmouse.livejournal.com 2010-11-28 19:45 (UTC)(link)
*nods* Yep. Also, feminists in that era campaigned about family planning, and instructed women in the rhythm method and other forms of birth control. I think it was Margaret Sanger who spent time in jail for violating obscenity statutes by giving medically explicit lectures on how to avoid pregnancy and by handing out printed information on same.