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Census 1865

Recommendations from the Department of the Interior

Circular October 12 1865 to the vicars in Rural districts

Circular October 12 1865 to the town magistrates

On economic compensation to bailiffs and school teachers


Official documents

Appendix no 1



Recommendations from the Department of the Interior September 27 1865, endorsed by royal resolution of October 11, on the taking of an ordinary census


Since 1815 ordinary decadal censuses have been taken. At the end of this year, such a period has elapsed since the previous ordinary census, and the Department therefore assumes that arrangements should be made for another such census. At the censuses in 1835, 1845 and 1855 complimentary information on livestock and the amount of potato and grain seed was included, and such information should presumably also be acquired in this census. We presume the census should be commenced on the first weekday after Epiphany 1866 and continued on the next days until completed, however listing the information according to conditions as of the end of the year 1865, not considering the changes that might have occurred in the meantime. This is in accordance with the royal resolutions of July 16th 1845 and October 15 1855. The actual taking of the census has until now been carried out by the magistrate helped by the ward masters. This should not be changed in any other way in the present census than that the house owners are asked to fill in the forms which are to be distributed and collected by the ward masters, assisting with their completion in cases of missing information. By thus introducing the system of self enumeration, we expect to achieve the double aim of both awaking considerably more common interest for the census, and hopefully ease the burden of the census takers somewhat. Such self enumeration has been performed by the administration of Christiania [Oslo] municipality’s census of December 31 1863, and it is reported that the lists mostly were filled in by the relevant house owners and house managers, only occasionally done by police inspectors or those citizens assisting with the collection of the lists.

            We have not dared suggest the same procedure for the rural districts because of the increased work involved in distributing the necessary forms to each farm in the countryside. We suppose, therefore, that the enumeration in rural districts will be done by the bailiffs assisted by the school teachers. Likewise we suggest that the administration and inspection of the census work just as the previous time be performed by the vicars and curates. Since 1835, supposedly also in 1815 and 1825, the census work has been carried out by enumerating the rural population by farm or farm tax number, and in the towns each house and been counted and reported in the relevant forms by age, sex, marital status, social position and occupation etc.

            In this regard the Department wants to humbly suggest a modification, namely to order the census takers to fill in the name, family position, occupation, marital status, age sex, birthplace and religion as well as mental disorder, deafness and blindness in addition to inhabited houses and households on the relevant forms found in the appendixes. Naturally, with such specific information on every individual we shall receive material for much more complete statistical tabulations, than when the population is categorized by whole groups like in the censuses mentioned above, and the number of such fields cannot without difficulty be extended above those used in the previous census. And although we assume the information given in the previous censuses to be quite reliable, we expect the procedures suggested to increase the accuracy. The census taker will be less error prone when he is to enter the individuals by names, and specific information for everyone in special fields, where errors will be easier to detect than with the previous census system. If, on the other hand, like previously a number of individuals be summarily counted with numbers in contiguous fields, these fields could easily be mixed up and this might be difficult to detect. A census manager who knows his district, will also more easily spot both omissions and erroneous entries by inspecting a nominal list than a list of numbers.

            The suggested so-called nominative census has also taken place once before in this nation, namely the census performed on February 1 1801 according to the rescript of November 28 1800, and is now used in most European states, especially in Sweden and Denmark. If Norway’s population statistics shall be reported to the same extent as in these countries, it will be necessary that it is supported by exact and complete data, which can only be obtained with the said method of enumeration. The Department has, however, not been unaware of that both the work and the costs entailed will increase somewhat. The creation of the comprehensive special lists will presumably take not inconsiderably more time than during the previous censuses, especially for the school teachers who together with the bailiffs who at the latest census received and at the present census are supposed to receive compensation for their work. Especially the work in the Department extracting results mainly from the detailed information on each single individual in the special lists will be more complicated than in the previous censuses, since those excerpts could be done on the basis of summaries compiled by the census managers for every parish in the countryside and every city and small town or village. In addition, the more complete material we acquire will of course give opportunity for the working out of the population statistics in a more complete way, and in directions not feasible previously due to lack of data.

            When the original data mentioned above has been collected, they should presumably be preliminarily controlled by the census managers, who than will have to compile main lists. The content of these can presumably be in correspondence with the attached forms. Instead of like in the previous censuses give extracts of all variables in the special lists, this can be reduced to the number of inhabitants on each farm or in each house, as well as summary data on the number of inhabited houses and the number of households and the population size, seed, crop and livestock in (each part of) the census district. To promote speed, uniformity and accuracy we find it fitting that the Department, just like in the censuses 1825 through 1855, communicate directly with the census managers concerning all such matters, that we send them printed forms to be filled in, as well as detailed rules for their use; also that the lists in extenso are sent from the census managers directly to the Department. As concerns the expenses, we shall humbly report that these at the 1855 census were ca 1700 speciedaler, excepting printing, paper etc. Printing with paper and binding of froms and circulars , postage, office space, transport costs for bailiffs and school teachers as well as the proof-reading of the completed forms outside of the Department totalled 27500 speciedaler. The corresponding costs inherent in the census suggested here, should like previously be drawn from the budgeted amount for occasional and unforeseen general expenses. After the previous census the Department was graciously authorized by royal resolution of December 27 1856 to provide the school teachers and bailiffs with a reasonable compensation for their participation, although not exceeding a total of 6500 and 1100 speciedaler to teachers and bailiffs respectively including per diem; out of which amount we passed 7200 speciedaler for payment. The Department presumes, as mentioned above, that a similar compensation be given this time, and we reserve the right to forward a subservient suggestion when we after the completion of the work can estimate the size of this compensation.


Accordingly the Department will humbly propose:

At Yours Majesty graciously commands:

1. An ordinary census to be taken in the Nation by the end of 1865, starting on the first weekday after epiphany to be continued during the following days until its completion.

2. That together with this census, information on grain and potato crops as well as livestock is obtained for the nation.

3. That the census be carried out in the towns by the magistrate assisted by the ward masters, asking house owners and managers to help using self-enumeration, and in the countryside by the bailiffs assisted by the school teachers, under the direction and surveillance of the vicars and the curates.

4. That the census forms be laid out according to the attached questionnaires.

5. That the lists are filled in accordance with conditions as of the end of the year 1865, without considering the changes taking place in the meantime. Accordingly those who lived on the 31st of December but died in early January are included, while children born in early January are excluded. Likewise a man who became a widower in early January is listed as married etc. Also, livestock is listed as of December 31.

6. That the census lists are to be sent directly from the census managers to the Department for the Interior, as soon as the census is completed and at the latest within the end of March 1866, with the exception of Tromsø diocese, where they should be despatched within the end of April.

7. That the expenses incurred by this census, including compensation to bailiffs and school teachers (to be settled later), will be drawn from the budgeted amount for occasional and unforeseen expenses.


Appendix no 2


Circular of October 12 1865 to the vicars in rural districts (with questionnaires)

{Exceptions for urban communities sent to the city magistrates are inserted in brackets}


On the 11th this month His Majesty has graciously commanded:


1. An ordinary census to be taken in the Nation by the end of 1865, starting on the first weekday after epiphany to be continued during the following days until its completion.

2. That together with this census, information on grain and potato crops as well as livestock is obtained for the nation.

3. That the census be carried out in the towns by the magistrate assisted by the ward masters, asking house owners and managers to help using self-enumeration; and in the countryside by the bailiffs assisted by the school teachers, under the direction and surveillance of the vicars and the curates.

4. That the census forms be laid out according to the attached questionnaires.

5. That the lists are completed in accordance with conditions as of the end of the year 1865, without considering the changes taking place in the meantime. Accordingly, those who lived on the 31st of December but died in early January are included, while children born in early January are excluded. Likewise a man who became a widower in early January is listed as married etc. Also, livestock is listed as of December 31.

6. That the census lists are to be sent directly from the census managers to the Department for the Interior, as soon as the census is completed and at the latest within the end of March 1866, with the exception of Tromsø diocese, where they should be despatched within the end of April.


We attach the number of census forms considered necessary.


We announce the following rules to be observed during the enumeration:

When collecting the relevant information, the census takers must complete special lists, which for each farm or inhabited place should list the persons living there, their names, age, sex, social position, industry, birthplace etc, as well as seed and livestock, such as can be seen from the attached questionnaires. The census manager gives his special lists a unique and sequential number before distributing them, and when one list is not sufficient for each census taker, also letters.

{...., also every inhabited house in the said city must on the lists first page be indicated by its tax assessment number, but it is not necessary theat these numbers are listed sequentially, if the census director finds another method more appropriate and as long as no house is passed by... Next the forms are distributed by the ward masters in time, so that every house owner or mangers receive a copy before the end of this year, and the house owners or managers are asked to complete the lists at the latest on Monday January 8, when the collection of the lists starts. The ward masters must check on location that the lists have been appropriately filled in, and otherwise complete or correct them.}


When completing these lists please observe:

a. List the farms with their names and tax list numbers in the first fields on the form, using the order the census manager finds practical, and observe closely that nothing is passed unreported. Any farm part assessed for taxes in the parish must therefore be found in the relevant list. The Department encloses copies of the tax assessment lists, stressing that farm parts assessed later than their printing, naturally even so must be included in the census. If two or more independently assessed farm parts are used as a whole, both names are listed. Cottar’s places belonging to a farm part or the commons or large and jointly assessed stretches of wood, are also listed independently with their names, referring to the farm’s, the commons’ or the woods’ number in the tax list. If parts of a village or suburb or other considerable accumulation of houses is found a an assessed farm’s land, please indicate this in the form’s name field, as described in detail below.

b. In the second field in the special list report the number of inhabited houses, and in the 3rd field the digit one (1) for each independent household.

c. In the next (4th) field enter the names of all the persons who permanently reside at the farm or in the house. If someone usually sleep in one place, but on the other hand perform their business elsewhere, e g an artisan, factory worker or suchlike, he should be enumerated where he he sleeps and not where he does he business. Anyone who is absent temporarily, e g sailing at sea or on other travels either domestic or abroad, is counted with the family from which he is absent.

            Anyone residing temporarily in a place, e g a lodging traveller, should not be enumerated. On the other hand if he has his home in the nation, he is enumerated where he has his home. Thus, noone is listed unless he resides permanently on the location. Mentally ill who reside in mental institutions, should even so be listed among the residents of the mental institutions, and not at their native soil.

d. When completing the 5th field, observe closely that in addition to the information about everyone’s family position, also list the trace or social position for all those who in this respect have an independent position. If someone has several positions or deal in several trades, enter only the which for him (her) is the most important, but this should be specified as accurately and detailed as possible. Thus it is not enough to write about a person that he is an artisan or factory worker, but is should be noted at what kind of craft or factory he is employed, e g if he is a carpenter, shoemaker apprentice, saw mill worker etc. {For a day labourer or worker, include what kind of work he is mostly occupied with, e g lumber yard work, building construction, the unloading of ships, etc.} Also a farmer should be listed as a farm owner, tenant farmer or leaseholder. With respect to a cottager whether he disposes of soil or not and in the latter case from what he primarily lives, how he mainly is employed, e g in an iron foundry, at log driving, road work etc.

e. The ages is listed by the current and not the completed year of age. Thus for new born children enter age 1, and for the one who is in his 26th year, enter 26 and not 25 years.

f. When counting livestock, please note that this is a head count, so that every animal (foal, calf, lamb etc here included) are entered.


For additional explanation of the procedures cf the examples of correctly completed special lists on the back page of this memo. Note that if the information about a person cannot be fitted on one line, several lines should be used.

            When the census taker has entered all the information on the special lists for his district, he must calculate the total sum of inhabited houses, households, population size as well as seed and livestock. This sums are entered in the fields printed on the last page of the special lists. Here the multiple for grain types and potatoes in normal years should also be noted. {In case the town consists of several parts named differently, or of several parishes, or has separate suburbs, fields or other parts under its jurisdiction, whose population size it is useful to know, then any such parth - parish, suburb, urban field or such like be listed with separate headlines and sums in the questionnaire. If agriculture is found inside the town’s borders, also indicate the multiple of the different types of grain and potatoes in normal years.}

            Next the lists should be delivered to the census director as soon as possible, who either himself or with the help of the bailiff inspects the lists in order to check that no farm or cottars place has been neglected, and also that the lists have been properly completed in other respect in correspondence with the questionnaire. He should especially direct his attention to whether the information about social status and trade is correct.



When this test is concluded, the census director himself or the bailiff should prepare a main list, where [data from] the special lists are extracted, containing the total sum of the population on each farm and a summary of the number of inhabited houses and of households as well as population size, seed, crop and livestock. In the fields for the farm name and tax number in the attached form for the main list, enter every single tax assessment list number, as well as places or farm parts in commons or major jointly assessed forest areas, but not cottagers’ places which are part of the assessed fields of a farm. If there is any beach village, out harbour, fishing village, mining community, significant factory or major sawmill or suchlike place where several families for some purpose have settled together in the parish, these should be listed separately right after the farm where they are located. The same must be considered by the census takers in the special lists, if it is not considered more convenient to let the relevant enumerator work out separate special lists for such places. If the parish contains any minor town or suburb to a city or any major collection of houses which could considered to be a suburb, even if it does not have commercial privileges, these are not entered in the main list for the parish, but on a special form specifying the domiciles or street names or numbers, where these are given. For each small town or each such suburb, the school teachers must also prepare separate special lists, where the inhabited houses are likewise entered with numbers or other useful designation. Any parish is listed separately in the list with separate headings and sums. When a parish {town} belongs to several judicial districts, single out the farms which lie in one of the districts and those lying in the other judicial districts, using separate lists.

            In those parts of the nation where the population in addition to Norwegians also consist of Fins or Sami, it each ethnic group is indicated in the special lists as well as in the main lists. Thus, in every parish {town} where the populations is mixed from these folk tribes, the population consisting of Norwegians is to be listed and summed first, next the Fins separately and the Sami separately, and finally the total population in the parish is summarized. For the nomadic Sami, this is to be indicated, while no indication means they are residing permanently. In case of individuals of mixed ancestry, please report if possible which and how many they are; among whose parents one is Norwegian and the other Fin; as well as those among whose parents one is Norwegian and the other Sami, and finally those among whom one parent is Fin and the other Sami. Finally indicate in the field for remarks if the person concerned understands Norwegian. {When all the people in a house belong to these ethnic groups, this must naturally be indicated in the special list.}

            The gipsies and bands of hobos present in any census district, excluding those who have abandoned their itinerant life and settled permanently, should not be listed among the rest of the populations, but in separate lists compatible with the ordinary questionnaires. Note that instead of the number of households, the number of bands is reported, and in the remark field please indicate in what districts these bands or persons mostly stay, whether such bands at all have grown or diminished during the last ten years, and also what information might be given about their present position, physical and moral condition; in case such information might be provided, the gipsies are grouped in two classes:

1) those who have a domicile somewhere and are itinerant parts of the year, or

2) those who have no domicile or permanent residence and so alway travel.


Regarding the usual fear among the common man that the information collected in the census about seed, crop and livestock, only will be used to increase taxes, the Department must preclude this restrictions on giving such data and increase their reliability by asking the vicar, in case he fears that such wrong delusions are common in your parish, both you and the bailiff and his subordinate census takers should inform the public that the information collected is only intended to gain reliable knowledge about the country’s population and provide enlightenment on its economic resources. Also we ask the vicar, when the census work is completed in his district, to give the Department information on to what extent the bailiff and school teachers have participated in this work, especially about how many days have been spent on the census taking proper, and possibly later to correct the lists. We also want your opinion about the size of any economic compensation to the bailiff and school teachers. Please note that the school teachers will not receive any compensation for conveyance expenses, unless the vicar can testify that the travel was done out of necessity. As soon as the vicar has received this memo, including some off-prints for the bailiff and school teachers, he should acknowledge its receipt by the first mail.

            {As soon as the magistrate has received the copies of this memo, please notify us by the first mail.}

            When the census work is completed, the main list signed by the vicar is to be sent to us as well as the special lists.


Appendix no 4


The humble recommendation of the Department of the Interior on April 7 1866 approved by royal resolution of April 28 about the compensation of bailiffs and school teachers.


By royal resolution on October 11 last year about the taking of an ordinary census at the end of 1865, it was graciously decided that the expenses connected with this census, including compensation to be graciously regulated to bailiffs and school teachers, should be granted from the funds for accidental and unforeseen expenses in the budget. In this Department’s humble proposal as acknowledged by the Norwegian government, on which the royal resolution was based, it was also assumed that bailiffs and school teachers, like in the previous census were entitled to compensation, and we prepared to return to the issue of the size of this on the basis of an assessment of the workload after the completion of the census. On this basis the Department in its memo of October 12 about the census asked all rural census directors to what extent bailiffs and school teachers had participated in the census work; viz how many days they used during the census taking proper and possibly later on to organize the lists. We asked the census directors’ opinion about if they ought to be compensated and then the size of the compensation. We have received this information including suggested compensation from the majority of census directors together with the census questionnaires. According to this, the school teachers mostly took the censuses in the countryside by walking from house to house, filling in the census forms as was supposed in the resolution. The suggested compensation to school teachers is normally regulated according to the salary they receive for teaching , which varies from district to district, but following the assessment of the vicars varies from 48 to 60 skilling per day, sometimes less, however and sometimes more. Som vicars aks for a higher compensation of up to 1 spesiedaler per day, and many point out that bad wether during the census not only delayed the work, but also led to that several census takers had many difficulties, especially in remote and thinly populated districts. Finally several priests report that the time the school teachers have spent on the census, has not reduced the time they are due to teach. The census work done by the bailiffs has varied greatly in extent. In some cases the directors have freed them from any involvement, while in other places they performed nearly all the work not done by the school teachers, sometimes even the collection of the information and the counselling of the teachers. For these we suggest compensations varying from 47 shillings to 1 spesiedaler per day; for some we suggest a fee in cases when the number of days cannot be accurately decided.

            Deciding upon an equal compensations per to school teachers for timed spent census taking, would supposedly not be reasonable according to the above-mentioned. We assume it should be regulated according to the work’s hassle and as mentioned above also according to the pay they get for teaching, although it should probably notwhere be put higher than at 60 shillings., or when the work was especially difficult at 72 shillings per day. For the bailiffs the compensations can usually not be reulated by number of days, since this as reported not alway can be estimated, but usually at salary of 72 shillings to 96 shillings per day must be regarded as sufficient. After the completion of the previous census, following the royal resolution of December 27 1856, the teachers and bailiffs were paid a total compensations of nearly 6200 spesiedaler for the former and about 100 spd for the latter. By comparing the reports from single parishes about this and the previous census, it is found that the work, especially for the school teachers have as expected taken not inconsiderable more time than the previous time; also the suggested daily compensation is somewhat higher. This can for the teachers with some reason be defended with the higher wages they supposedly receive for teaching. It is thus supposed that the compensations, adjusted according to these rules, will total a significantly higher amount that the previous time. However, since we still miss the necessary reports from several census directors, we are unable to tell what the sum will be. But since we together with the requested information already long since have received applications about compensation, the Department believes we should not postpone to humble seek authorisation to accommodate the payment; although in such ways that it for the teachers will not exceed 60 shillings or under especial circumstances 72 shillings per day.

            Finally we remark that besides the mentioned compensation teachers and bailiffs should not be granted a separate per diem for this business, but we regard us authorised through the above cited royal resolution of October 11 to grant travelling compensation for travel done in connection with the census and according to the conveyance law to the bailiffs from whom such bills are received. Also such compensation for school teachers for the travel they really and by necessity have used. In accordance with this we humble suggest:

            That the Department for the Interior graciously is authorized to accommodate that the school teachers and bailiffs who have participated in the census taken according to royal resolution of October 11 last year, to pay a suitable compensation for this, though so that the compensation to school teachers does not exceed 60 shillings per day or where the work is proved to have been connected with special difficulties 72 shillings - including per diem.