Birth- In the Roman period, registration of birth was required for the children of all Roman citizens. In other periods, we often learn of births through mere mention in private letters by family members.
Children- Among Greeks, exposure, especially of female children, was a common practice. However, among the native Egyptian population this was forbidden. Repeatedly, we find cases of adoption of these exposed children, by both Greeks and Egyptians, to either be raised as their own children, or more often as slaves, (see documents under the heading "Sale of Slaves").
At the age of 14, male children were to be registered in the census, in order to pay the poll tax. Female children would often be married off at this age. For information on child education see the section on Literature and Education.
Divorce- Divorce occurred quite frequently and was relatively easy. Primarily, it was enacted by the father or guardian of the wife. Oftentimes, the husband was required to return the dowry to his wife, (see P. Mich. 622), and terms, such as whether or not the woman could remarry, were spelled out in the divorce contract.
Dowry- A wives' dowry was specified in the marriage contract. It came in the form of land or property and other valuable possessions, such as money or jewelry. In cases of divorce, the dowry often reverted back to the wife or her father.
Family- Private letters provide us with the best information on family life. Although many are stiff and often formulaic, due mostly to the scribes, we can manage to find some touching letters between family members, (see especially P. Mich. 284 and the Family Letters of Paniskos).
Marriage- In Egypt marriages could be legitimized through contracts or simply cohabitation. Marriages were frequently arranged, and we have some cases of marriages between brother and sister, (see P. Mich 641 and 647). Most likely this was to keep family property from fragmentation.
Women- Women generally appear in letters, or documents pertaining to birth, death, marriage or divorce. However, there are cases in which women are found in business contexts, such as Aurelia Euphemia. She is found loaning money to the herald Flavius, in P. Mich. 478.