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How foundling childen adapted later to adult life has very rarely been studied. This article deals with this question of social integration by studying marriage records. Marriage is a fundamental necessity for socially acceptable and respectable family life.
In the course of the xixth century, a thousand foundlings, sometimes more, came every year into Lyon. Among those who reached adulthood, few were married in the city. During the two periods studied (1872-1874 and 1891-93), there were 688 marriages involving at least one former foundling. Using a sample statistical construction, we can see several specific areas which testify to the difficulty of foundling social integration. While marriage is more frequent among female former foundlings than their male counterparts, both groups, however, marry at a late age. The former foundlings, overhelmingly working in low paid jobs, marry almost all the time with someone legitimately born. The latter come from the lower classes-often from rural families newly arrived in the city-and marry later in life than other Lyonnais. Marriage licenses also show two other characteristics typical of marriages involving foundlings: The widespread practice of common-law marriage and frequent legitimazation of out of wedlock children.
These facts show the difficulties faced by former foundlings, above all young women, in the effort to form a legal union. Where social integration by marriage is possible, it happens after a difficult journey and takes place within the most socially excluded segments of the Lyonnais population.

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