The Microdynamics of Death

When your ancestor died at what stage in life were his children? Were they toddlers, teenagers, or grown children with their own families? Was your recently deceased ancestor a farmer whose oldest son was in his early twenties and possibly able to manage the farm himself–perhaps arguing with his mother? And perhaps even old enough to start a partition suit if he so desired? Or were his children under the age of ten and, while able to help, were not really able to bring any type of legal action?

Or did the death of one aged spouse mean that the surviving spouse was no longer really able to live by herself or himself?
In most families what’s going on at the “family level” when something happens is just as important as what is going on at the national level.