Deconstructing Oral Histories of Family Strategies through Record Linkage: Comparing Interview, Tax, Welfare, and Parish Sources from Early Twentieth-century Finland

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This article demonstrates empirically how triangulation with other sources can alter the interpretation of oral histories of family strategies. While the interests of oral historians have shifted to postpositivist approaches, basic facts about material context and family events still tend to be drawn from the same narratives. Oral histories of two worker households in early twentieth-century Helsinki are linked with detailed Finnish tax, parish, and poor relief records. The findings point to a number of significant omissions, turn seemingly innocuous factual statements into meaningful strategic representations, and suggest systematic biases in describing livelihoods and sources of income.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Family History
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)159-180
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5202 Economic and Social History
  • oral history
  • triangulation
  • family strategy
  • household economy
  • gender
  • Finland

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