Monday, January 31, 2011

Norway's 1910 Census

My father sent me a link to this Aftenposten newspaper article (in Norwegian) regarding the new release of the 1910 census.  This was very exciting news to genealogists who had waited 50 years since the last census (1900) was released.  The article nicely puts the 1910 census in perspective -- it is the year before Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole and two years before the Titanic sank.

A total of 2.4 million people were registered in the 1910 census.  Unlike the 1900 census, when only children under two years were recorded with a date of birth, the date of birth was recorded for the entire population.  The details of a household are also very impressive.  The Aftenposten article gives an example:

Translation: If you are looking for the name Olaf August Gundersen in contemporary Kristiania, Oslo today, you get to know that he was born 16 August 1890 in East Aker. In 1910, he lived at 32 Industrial Street in Kristiania, studied medicine, and was unmarried. But it does not stop here. The census indicates all people within the same household. Thus, it appears that the medicine student lived with his mother, Augusta Gundersen, born 5 March 1855 in Arendal. His mother was single and listed as a landlord by profession. And as a landlord, it is perhaps not surprising that she had her own maid, Helga Bolette Olsen, born 6 June 1894, from Vanem, Moss. Mother, son, and maid lived on the ground floor of a building with nine apartments on four floors, where there were 41 people residing out of 42 when the census was taken. Rents ranged from 675 to 1000 kroner per year. The caretaker in the porter's lodge did not have to pay rent.

Not bad information from a name in a census!

Some interesting facts about the 1910 census is that not only resident Norwegians were recorded but also Norwegian sailors in Norwegian ports and Norwegian waters. Moreover, returning Norwegian-Americans had to provide additional information, such as the year they moved out and back home, place of residence before they left, and their last job and home in America.  This is the first census that provides information on repatriated Norwegian-Americans.

Additional things to keep in mind is that one may not find "Einar Gerhardsen," for example, whose name was in fact "Einar Olsen" in 1910, the son of Gerhard Olsen. Therefore, the family historian must keep the name changes during this period of time in mind when searching for his/her ancestor.

If I understand the article correctly, it also says that seven people in two offices in Stavanger and Voss are responsible for transcribing about 2.6 million records from about 450,000 forms from the census, one for each household, into a searchable computer program.  Wow! 

The article goes on to remind the impatient genealogist that there is a new waiting period.  The 100-year law means another ten years until the next publication of similar material, unless the law changes, of course.  One consolation is that several municipalities, primarily the major cities of the country, only have a 60-year release date. Thus, for example, the Oslo census from 1950 recently became available -- the year when the Kon-Tiki movie was premièred, a plane with 28 Israeli refugee children crashed on Hurum, and the Korean War broke out. 

I love how the author of the article puts the years in perspective, don't you?

1 comment:

  1. Funny to me what you get excited about! :-)

    So, why has it been 50 years since the last census release?