Historical Population Register (HPR)

The Norwegian Research Council has funded the construction of a historical population register for Norway. Cf press release. 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 project outline can be downloaded here.

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. Cf DNF-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 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.

Wiki-page for the project.

The project is managed by the Norwegian Historical Data Centre at the University of Tromsø with the following partners:

The National and Regional Archives of Norway (Arkivverket)
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Statistics Norway
Norwegian Computing Center
The Norwegian Institute of Local History
BSS-database (Busetnadsoge)
The University of Bergen
The University of Oslo
The University of Stavanger
The Demographic Database at Umeå University
The Historical Sample of the Netherlands
The Minnesota Population Center

Dr Kåre Bævre launched the register idea at the annual meeting of the Norwegian Demographic Society in 2006. Last ned presentasjon


Line Eikvil, Lars Holden, Kåre Bævre: Automatiske metoder som hjelp til transkribering av historiske kilder. Last ned notat fra Norsk regnesentral oppdatert oktober 2010

Rapport fra HBRs forprosjekt

George Alter, Kees Mandemakers & Myron P. Gutmann: Defining and Distributing Longitudinal Historical Data in a General Way Through an Intermediate Structure Download article from Social Research 2009/3 page 78-114
Hans Henrik Bull: Data and Methods. Download chapter 3 from dissertation Marriage decisions in a peasant society. University of Oslo 2006 pages 25-34
Elisabeth Engberg: 1900-talsmaterial. Rapport från ett utvecklingsprojekt vid Demografiska databasen i samarbete med Landsarkivet Härnösand och Statistiska Centralbyrån. Umeå 2007 download
Sören Edvinsson: POPLINK - a unique resource for innovative research on human societies from a longterm perspective.
Eli Fure: Interactive Record Linkage: The Cumulative Construction of Life Courses. Demographic Research Volume 3, article 11 published 12 December 2000 download
Gunnar Thorvaldsen: Nasjonalt historisk befolkningsregister. Kort presentasjon av prosjektet.
Gunnar Thorvaldsen: Fra folketellinger og kirkebøker til norsk befolkningsregister. Last ned artikkel i Heimen 2008 side 341-359
Gunnar Thorvaldsen: Using NAPP Census Data to Construct the Historical Population Register for Norway Historical Methods 2011/1 pages 37-47.

Further record linkage references

Norwegian Historical Data Centre (NHDC)
Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Teaching
University of Tromsø, N-9037 Tromsø, NORWAY
E-mail: rhd-web@sv.uit.no
Updated: 31 October 2013