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Norway Census
A census is a count and description of the population. Censuses have been taken by the Norwegian government and by ecclesiastical officials for population studies and taxation purposes.

We usually use the term Census to include "skattemantall" which are records taken in connection with taxes; "manntall" which are records usually taken for military purposes and only includes males; and "folketellinger" which are records that include all persons of all ages. 

Censuses have been taken by the Norwegian government and by ecclesiastical officials for population studies and taxation purposes, and if including the three various Census records we can cover the time period from1500's-1900.

Census records can provide information about a person's:

  • Name
  • age 
  • family relationships
  • year of birth
  • birthplace
  • property
  • physical health; deaf, dumb, mute, etc


  • Census records are especially valuable because they list a large portion of the population. They can provide information when all or portions of other records are missing. Generally, you will find more complete family information in more recent censuses, which can be particularly helpful in identifying birthplaces. Use the information with caution, however, since some information may be incorrect. Remember the census records are sceondary sources!




Aslak Bolts jordebok is a publication of the first census taken in Norway. It was taken about 1430 by Aslak Bolt (1377-1450) for economic reasons, as the Catholic church was in debt. The Black Death had ravaged the country, and several of the farms were left desolate; close to 2/3 of the Norwegian population perished. Properties were to be indexed so taxes could be assessed. The index includes the value of each property, taxes paid (or not), and the name(s) of the owners. There is also an index by given-name and place-name in the back of the book. This particular index includes names of estates (farms) that were under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop in Nidaros (now Trondheim city in Norway). This book does not include all the localities of Norway, but it does include properties in Northern Norway, Trøndelag, and the north west coast of Norway. The old Norse language is listed on the left page, and a translation to the modern Norwegian language is listed on the right page.

Aslak Bolts jordebok was produced from the original book, from the Münchensamlingen (München Collection) in Riksarkivet in Oslo, and is in such poor condition that it is no longer available for the general public.

Jørgensen, Jon Gunnar.Aslak Bolts jordebok (Aslak Bolt's Land Book). Oslo, Norway: Riksarkivet, 1997. (FHL book 948.4 R2b)

Census Records, 1664 to the Present

Census records were taken in Norway between 1664 and 1666, in 1701, in the mid-1700s (sjeleregister) and in 1801. Although census records were completed between 1801 and 1865, these have not been kept for the entire country. Some of these census only list statistical information, while others are comparable to the 1801 census. These censuses are generally listed in the Family History Library Catalog on the parish level. Census records for 1865, 1875, and 1900 are nearly complete for the entire country and give helpful genealogical information.

In the latter 19th century, census records were taken every ten years. Census records from 1910 to the present are not available at the Family History Library.

1664 to 1666:  Two censuses were taken, one clerical done by the local priest, and one civil done by the local bailiffs. These are called "Titus Bülcher" census'. These censuses cover the rural areas only. For some parts of Norway all or part of the census is missing.  Finnmark county was not included. These census' are organized by farms.
The following information was given:

  • names and ages of the head of household
  • all male family members over age 12 

The 1664-66 census may also include the names of the younger boys.

Other census records from the 1600's were:

"Koppskattemanntall" 1645/1646: a tax on persons, and "quægskatten" 1657/1658, which was a tax on cattle.


1701:  This census was taken Sep 1701, and includs all males age 1 and older.  Most cities in Finnmark County does not include the cities.  Large portions of Agder county and "Østlandet" (eastern part of Norway) are lost. 


Mid-1700s:  During this time period, a clerical census called a register of souls (sjeleregister) was taken.

It is more of a true census than the previous ones:

  •  listing all members of a family and
  • all persons living with the family.


Much of this record has been lost, but it has been preserved for some areas. Rogaland is the only county for which the entire census is preserved. Some registers of souls can be found in the parish registers. 


These censuses are also available on the Internet at:
http://digitalarkivet.uib.no/

After finding this site click on english at the top left side, and then choose a census from the blue bar at the top of the page. You may choose 1801, 1865, 1875 (not complete), and 1900 census, or click on  "Database Selector", then choose "Folketellinger" (census).  From the Source category drag down tab, then choose the year from the sub-category tab, and a list of what is availabe will appear.  More information is continually being made available online; therefore, it is a good idea to check this site often.

1801: 

This census lists:

  • all family members
  • all persons living with the family
  • their relationships
  • ages
  • occupations
  • names of farms
  • those living in the cities


The 1801 Census is available on microfilm and microfiche at the Family History Library. The microfiche version is a typed  index by given name and farm name. This census is also available on the Internet at: 

[1]

Here you may choose a county, then the parish of your choice.


1801 to 1865:  Censuses were taken regularly between 1801 and 1865, but most of them were purely statistical. The census records that include more than statistical information have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library. The type of information in these censuses varies a great deal. They are listed in the catalog under:

NORWAY, [COUNTY], [PARISH] - CENSUS - [YEAR].

1865, 1875, and 1900:  In addition to the information given in the 1801 census, these later censuses also list a person's birthplace. Additional information includes:

Additional information found in these census is:
School districts within each parish

  • Indexes to farms and localities
  • Individual creeds, other than the national church
  • Number of domestic animals on each farm
  • Farm production

These censuses differ from one another in format but contain very similar information. 

1865: The records for Gol in Hallingdal is missing.

These censuses are available on the Internet as well, but the 1875 Census is not yet complete for the whole country.

1870

The 1870 Census was taken Dec 31, 1870. It only covers the cities and seaports. There are many cites missing: Hølen in Vestby, Åsgårdsstrand, Hamar, Stathelle, Kragerø, Farsund, Sandnes, Stavanger, Vardø and Vadsø.

There are no indexes for this Census, so it can be very time consuming to search.

1875

This census was taken on 31 December 1875.


1885

Just like the 1870 Census this Census is also only for the cities and seaports, but it has an index! There were different forms used for the Lapps, Kveins, Finns, and persons of mixed nationalities.

Digital Archive:
http://digitalarkivet.uib.no/

Registreringsentral for historiske data (University of Tromsø, Norway)

http://www.rhd.uit.no

(This site is in both Norwegian and English and includes several of the censuses for Norway, but only the 1900 census is complete for the whole country. The 1801 census for Holt and Dybvåg in Aust Agder county,and Maridalen in Akershus county are missing).

Census records are often available for various cities in Norway, such as an 1891 census for Bergen and an 1885 census for Fredrikstad. Not all of these censuses have been microfilmed, but you may consult the Family History Library Catalog to see what is available.

Census Indexes

Search available indexes before using the actual census records. The information in an index may be incomplete or incorrect. If you believe your ancestor should have been in the census, search the census regardless of what you find in the index.

Street indexes are available for major cities throughout Norway. To use one you will need to know your ancestor's address for the time period of the census. You may search parish registers, letters, and other such records to find the address. A street index can help you find your ancestor faster in the census.

1801 Index:  All of the existing 1801 census has been indexed. (Holt and Dybvåg parishes in Aust-Agder county are missing; as well as Maridalen in Akershus county). 

Two indexes exist for each parish: the first is organized according to the names of the farms and the second according to the given name of each person living in the parish. Each county also has two indexes: one by given name and one by surname. To search the 1801 index, you will need to know the county in which your ancestor lived. These indexes can be found in the Family History Library Catalog under:

NORWAY, [COUNTY] - CENSUS - 1801 - INDEXES
NORWAY, [COUNTY],[PARISH] - CENSUS - 1801

''Later Census Indexes.  There are additional indexes for various parishes. These indexes are usually organized by given name and surname. To see if there are indexes from the area you are interested in, check the Family History Library Catalog under one of the following:

NORWAY, [COUNTY], [PARISH] - CENSUS - [YEAR] - INDEXES

Searching Census Records

When searching census records, it is important to remember the following:

  • Given names may not always be as complete as the name recorded in church records.
  • There were no standardized spelling.  Most people spelled phonetically.
  • Ages could be incorrect.
  • Information may be incorrect. We do not know who gave the information to the census takers.
  • Spellings of place names may vary.
  • If you do not find a family at the expected address, search the surrounding areas.

When you find your family in one census, search that same location in earlier and later census records for additional family members. Sources that may give street addresses for large cities in Norway include Church records of christenings, marriages, burials and probate records.


 

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