Workshop of Working Group 6

On 22 April 2014, Working Group 6 - New Databases - held a workshop 'Pre WWII Censuses in the Russian and Circumpolar North' in Vienna. The workshop was a pre-meeting to the European Social Science History Conference (ESSHC).

Recent publication such as D. Anderson (ed.), The 1926/27 Soviet Polar Census Expeditions and P. Skiöld and P. Axelsson (eds.), Indigenous Peoples and Demography. The Complex Relationship show  that the  use of advanced computer techniques in the field of northern census analysis has not advanced very far. The pre-conference in Vienna particularly focused on digital methods to study family patterns, ethnicity and the use of GIS. Network member dr Mikolaj Szoltysek specifically gave an overview of source materials in East Europe west of the former Soviet Union with a view to find a more concise answer to a long running social history question – the location of the dividing line between western nuclear and extended family systems further east. Together with dr Siegfried Gruber he launched the idea of a Eurasian project where population samples from places spread across the land mass from France to the Pacific can be used to study family forms and migration during the last two centuries. The overview by researchers from Urals Federal University of complementary source material to help out where censuses are not available will go a long way towards solving the problem of the discarding of census manuscripts in many Russian archives.

Due to the short time allotted to our theme in the ESSHC program, it was possible to present and discuss only a few of the papers presented at the workshop  during the conference. We have, however, been asked by editor Jan Kok to turn the papers into articles in a special edition of Journal of Family History. A plan for accomplishing this during 2014 has been agreed upon.