By Erik Fügedi
Journal of Family History, Vol.7:1 (1982)
Introduction: This article should be considered a preliminary report on the first results of a research undertaking which still needs more time to be completed. This examination was intended to be carried out in two phases. During the first phase the social system was to be established, while during the second phase the most important variables were to be analyzed with the help of a “random sample” in order to describe the typical behavior. The quotation marks serve to indicate our inability to follow properly the statistical random investigation. I chose ten patrilineages from each of three small areas, thirty altogether, and, in addition to those, seventy more from all over the country. The sampling had to take into account the availability of sources which necessarily led to some distortion. From the middle of the sixteenth century the central areas of the country were occupied by the Turks; consequently, fewer sources have come down to us from those areas. Genealogies and the property histories of the selected descent groups form the foundation of the quantitative investigation. Since the research, however, is not yet completed, we can only discuss the social system here. The system was analyzed by comparing the scattered records with the legal norm, i.e the Tripartitum written in 1514 by Stefan Werboczy, a codification of Hungarian customary law, which deals in detail with the family and property matters of the nobility.