Widowhood involves many practical challenges next to the emotional impact of bereavement. Remarriage to a blood relative of a deceased spouse can often help a bereaved spouse to solve issues related to inheritance, child care, and comfort in a stressful period. A study of 15,540 widowers and 18,837 widows in the Dutch province of Zeeland—of whom about 8,000 men and 5,000 women eventually remarried—which uses genealogical data about their partners and the links family-reconstitution database, finds that the relatively high likelihood of farmers’ widows remarrying and doing so with kin may have been a strategy to prevent property from falling into the hands of other families. Notwithstanding that the attractiveness of a widow or widower could also be a factor in opportunities to remarry, older widows and widows with many young children, whose chances on the remarriage market tended to be poor, did not usually have such recourse to kin in remarriage.

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