In an overview of recent research on the history of the family, Tamara Hareven (1991) points out that this field of study took its inspiration from developments in historical demography and from the “new social history” of the 1960s. Family historians, like other social historians, had “a commitment to reconstructing the life patterns of ordinary people, to viewing them as actors as well as subjects in the process of change” (ibid.: 95). The flowering of research in this field has provided us with a more detailed understanding of the relationship between social change and family life than was previously available. We have learned, among other things, that rather than a single trajectory of change from extended family life before industrialization to the nuclear family afterward, changes in family organization have rarely been invariant, linear, or unidirectional.