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The numbers of heiresses in the files

(on August 1st 2007)

Who are
Who are
Who are
related by
Heiresses in the database 953 612 304 1,869
Women in the database 3,386 3,426 2,189 9,001
People in the database 8,331 8,459 5,194 21,984
Heiress % of total heiresses 51.0 32.7 16.3 100.0
Women % of total women 37.6 38.1 24.3 100.0
People % of total people 37.9 38.5 23.6 100.0
Heiress % of total women 10.6 6.8 3.4 20.8
Heiress % of total people 15.4 15.6 10.0 40.9
Heiress ancestors % of women ancestors, etc 28.1 17.9 13.9 20.8
Heiress ancestors % of all ancestors, etc 11.4 7.2 5.9 8.5

You can see from the above that the heiresses are a far larger proportion of the ancestors than of the blood relatives or of the relatives by marriage. That over one quarter of female ancestors are heiresses is a remarkable number, three times the proportion of heiresses amongst all women in the database.

In some ways this is not surprising: heiresses are important, they have assets (usually) so people are more likely to remember them. Further any marriage with an heiress much more than 150 years ago would have involved some bargaining between the parents to ensure that the financials were set up sensibly; this would have involved written documents, marriage settlements usually and as such would be likely to be preserved in the family deed chest.

Another question is whether there is some genetic mechanism at work here as well. Heiresses were chosen for sons as they would bolster the sons finances; and for eldest sons this enormously enlarged their estates. But the heiresses were women who had survived their brothers; might they have brought a genetic trait in, to tend to produce families where only the women survived?

Finally, just to keep you happy the next page is a table of all the heiresses in the database as at 1st August 2007. But be warned that it is 495 kbytes large.

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