The support of the vulnerable in our society is a hot issue; not only today but also in the past. In the past one discovers discussions by governmental institutions and churches about the question who takes care of the people living under difficult circumstances. In the meantime, a lot of research has been conducted in this area, but new methods and new data keep this research topic very much alive.
The main purpose of the study is to gain a better understanding of how care was provided to the vulnerable in the nineteenth/beginning of the twentieth century. Besides other potential stakeholders like the church, government, neighbours and friends, particularly the role of the family will be studied. This study tries, on the basis of detailed data on individuals and their families working in the brick and tile industry, to provide new insights into these issues.
The research focuses on the period between 1840 and 1940. Detailed data from the archives of Woerden, a small town in the centre of the Netherlands, are used. Based upon those data, life courses of individuals and their living conditions will be reconstructed. Next to population and civil registers, data will be used from charity registers from churches, as well from the local government. Additionally, secondary sources, which tell more about the situation the individuals were living in, are also used; for example tax registers and ego documents.
The study consists of two main components. In the first part, individual life courses will be described. Secondly, individual life courses will be translated into a model based upon individual characteristics to calculate the chances to survive hard times.