The Census

We present here a hopefully complete census of private account books in Florence,  1211-1499. The documents recorded in the census are 3079, offering an invaluable source of information on economic life in Florence.. The census offers for each known document information such the Ragione, family, profession, economic activity, the company, partners, chronological data, the archival location, the type of book and further archival information.


A census of private account books in Florence

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What is included in this dataset?

The database includes all the accounting records produced privately by Florentine economic actors along a chronological period between the first documentary evidences (13th century) and the end of the 15th century, regardless of the current place of conservation of the document. The purpose of the project is providing a valuable research resource for the study of the economic dimension of medieval man in his domestical and professional life.  

With the “private” attribution, we point out the exclusion from the catalog of accounting records produced by public institutions, both political and religious, charities and confraternities. Partial exceptions to this discrimination can be found in those accounts which describe both family administration and the management of public offices or customs duties. The census includes then accounting records referring to public interest only when these were preserved by the author in his family archive.  



What is included in this dataset?


The database includes all the accounting records produced privately by Florentine economic actors along a chronological period between the first documentary evidences (13th century) and the end of the 15th century, regardless of the current place of conservation of the document. The purpose of the project is providing a valuable research resource for the study of the economic dimension of medieval man in his domestical and professional life.  

With the “private” attribution, we point out the exclusion from the catalog of accounting records produced by public institutions, both political and religious, charities and confraternities. Partial exceptions to this discrimination can be found in those accounts which describe both family administration and the management of public offices or customs duties. The census includes then accounting records referring to public interest only when these were preserved by the author in his family archive.  



Credits

The realization of a complete census of the Florentine accounting sources is the last step of a long research, started almost fifty years ago. The main credits go to Richard Goldthwaite and Marco Spallanzani who have collected through their research lives a huge set of data in public and private archives. Thanks to a grant funded by Ca'Foscari University of Venice, under the supervision of Chiara Saccon and Massimo Warglien, Francesco Bettarini, the curator of the current census, had the possibility to build on their original notes, checking and extending archival information, organize the data by archival item, and store the census on a searchable database.  




Improving the census

Historians can help improving the census over time as they discover new documents, find new information on existing ones, or spot inaccurate information. In order to improve the census, they can write to Francesco Bettarini, that will check the information and include it in the  census database.


Images in this page are reproduced with kind permission by Archivio di Stato di Prato


open the online census page in Phaidra