Population and landownership in the Bailliage Commun of Grandson in the early eighteenth century
Grandson is a district in the French speaking canton of Vaud with no particular feature. Prosaic, it resembles many other regions of Switzerland. Such an uneventful area, with smooth social changes taking place over the course of centuries, seemed tailor-made to conduct a combined study of population and landownership. By bringing two vastly different domains of social sciences, demography and rural economy into harmony within a single study, issues of encompassing both methods, theoretically and practically, are discussed. However, the essence of this type of study is the availability of documentation. The registers of land and parish are to be structured for an automatic data processing. The analysis of databases for both the population and the landowners points to unsuspected movements of inhabitants under study, casting doubts on some received ideas on the past population of rural areas in Swiss communities. Proposing to observe eight small neighbouring villages within a limited span of time would privilege empirical aspects. This monograph attempts to picture landownership and population in the 18th century Grandson area. In doing so, some issues were clarified. Nonetheless some others could only be raised.