In nineteenth-century Westphalia (northwestern Germany), the practice of impartible inheritance excluded the siblings of farm successors from access to their parents' land. Without a land market, the only way for children who did not inherit a farm to obtain landed property, as well as high social and economic status, was to marry the heir to someone else's farm. Social-network and regression analyses show that the attainment of status depended not only on the socioeconomic standing of young people's families of origin but also on their parents' social networks. The parents who were most successful at placing their children in desirable social stations were those who occupied central positions in the godparenting network.

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