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Marked denominational mortality differentials have been docu- mented for various time periods and geographic locations. From a historical perspective, death rates among Catholics are often found to be higher than those among Protestants or Jews. Using a conceptual model based on the life history approach, biomedical and sociocultural factors of causation are ex- trapolated. In total, 5513 historical entries from family reconstitution were available. Selection of data was guided by the inclusion of information about religious affiliation. Only married couples with children as well as single mothers were considered. Of these, 1855 entries were of Roman Catholic (C), 1143 of Lutheran/Protestant (L/P), and 609 of Reformed Calvinist (R) denomination. With a focus on both adult and subadult mortality, this study attempted to document that the cultural patterns associated with religious be- havior are merely proximate determinants, while the ultimate causes are bio- logical in nature. Survival prospects depended on demographic and familial characteristics such as age-at-first-birth, spacing and stopping behavior, in- fant care, and targeted sibship size, rather than religiosity.