Grant for Historical Population Register for Norway

On behalf of the project partners, Gunnar Thorvaldsen let us know that the Norwegian Research Council has funded the construction of a Historical Population Register for Norway. The group will receive a grant of 25 million Norwegian kroner.

The Norwegian Research Council has funded the construction of a historical population register for Norway. This will extend the current population register backwards in time from 1964. The parts older than 1920 will be open to the public, while the newer parts will be available only for bona fide researchers upon application, and usually as anonymized versions.

The goal is a national Norwegian population register for the time period since 1800 and where possible even earlier. Parts of the register has already been built for selected localities and/or periods. We have recently concentrated on building the register for the first two decades of the 19th century in order to identify, study and celebrate the population that became independent on 17th May 1814.

As the forefront of population research also historically moves from the use of cross-sectional sources to longitudinal registers, the data structure of our source material must be reorganized in order to serve us and our major international partners in comparative research.

For a host of research questions in the humanities, social sciences and medicine a longitudinal structure opens up possibilities in three new ways: 1) The period before 1960 will be opened up for longitudinal research on a national scale. 2) The analysis of recent social and other population phenomena can be based on data with a longer time horizon. 3) It is of crucial importance to be able to follow individuals, kinship and genetic networks over extended time periods.

Software for rational transcription and linking of the sources will be key factors for building the HPR. It will be linked internally and to the CPR with automatic record linkage software. The linking is supplemented with genealogical wiki-systems, where the laws about statistics and privacy protection do not restrict public access to the registry - for the last 80 to 100 years.

With the help of existing name standardization tables, record linkage software and online, wiki-based help from genealogists for periods with open sources, we can trace also the mobile population groups and those whose characteristics may be inconsistently noted in the source material. Sample local and nationally linked datasets are already available as relational databases and in files compatible with standard statistical software. We are transferring data sets into the Intermediate Data Structure sponsored by our partners in the European Historical Samples Network, financed by the European Science Foundation.

Please click here for the folder about the project.

You can find more information on the project page of the Norwegian Historical Data Centre.