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Few deaths before baptism: clerical policy, private baptism and the registration of births in Georgian Westminster: a paradox resolved

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Boulton, Jeremy 


The main purpose of this paper is to resolve the apparent paradox that very few children actually died before baptism in eighteenth- century London, despite very high local rates of infant mortality and a lengthening interval between birth and baptism. The paradox came about, because, in essence, christening a child in eighteenth-century London was often a process, rather than a discrete event. Only by understanding the nature of baptism practices and customs in the capital (and by implication elsewhere) can one really understand local registration practices, and appreciate how they impact on demographic studies.



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Local Population Studies

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Local Population Studies Society

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This research has been funded by the ESRC grant ref: ES/I035400/1 and Wellcome Trust grant ref. 081508.