Demography and Environment in Grassland Settlement: Using Linked Longitudinal and Cross-Sectional Data to Explore Household/Agricultural Systems


Sylvester, Kenneth M.; Leonard, Susan Hautaniemi; Gutmann, Myron; Cunfer, Geoff

Journal or Book Title: History and Computing

Keywords: Demography; Envionment; Land Use; Farms; Farm Families; population

Volume/Issue: 14/1+2

Page Number(s): 31-60

Year Published: 2006


The Demography and Environment in Grassland Settlement project (DEGS) is a study of the relationship between population and environment in Kansas during its settlement and conversion from grassland to grain cultivation and rangeland. The research team involved in this project had as its goal to bring together data about farms and farm families in order to understand the core transformations in land use and family dynamics that took place during the process of settling and developing an agricultural landscape. For reasons we will explain later, the state of Kansas – located near the centre of the U.S. in a grassland ecosystem – is ideally suited for this study by virtue of its location, history and the documents that exist about it. In order to capture the environmental variability of Kansas, we are assembling a linked database of farm and family census records for twenty-five townships scattered across the state. This paper is about the process of choosing that sample, about the data we have accumulated and about the process we are undertaking to link records about families and farms through time and to attempt to find their locations in space.

Type of Publication: Journal Article

Publisher: Edinburgh University Press for the Association for History and Computing