09 July 2012

Online and Freely Accessible Icelandic Censuses, 1703-1910



With all the talk of the 1940 US census and so many of us doing research in those records, I thought it an opportunity to remind ourselves that the US is not the only country to have taken a census and to have put it’s census records online!

I recently learned that Iceland National Archives has put digital versions of many censuses online with more to come.

This first edition of the National Archives' new census website provides the first digital version of the censuses of 1840, 1845, 1850, 1855, 1860, 1890, 1901 and 1910. Previously the censuses of 1703, 1835 and 1870 were made available. Only a part of the censuses of 1901 and 1910 are ready for issuing but it is hopeful that they will be ready for publication in their entirety within a year. These, and the census of 1855, have not been proofed completely as yet. Information on the Eyjafjarðar, Thingeyjar and Múla counties from the census of 1870 was lost a long time ago and that census is therefore not complete. The censuses of 1762, 1801, 1816 and 1880 will be added shortly.

Do read about the history of the census by clicking on “Icelandic censuses” and then learn the details of each census by clicking “on specific censuses.”

To access the census, select “Individual search” from the top menu.  For the simple search put in a Name, and/or Farm/house, and/or Parish/County and select the years of interest or “search in all censuses.”  The advanced search has fields for you to enter as much or as little as makes sense.

And, no, I didn’t translate this from Icelandic nor did I have Google do it.  When you land on the website, click on the “British flag” button icon in the upper right corner and you will be taken to an English-language interface.

Not having previously researched in Iceland, I put in the name of John for the 1835 census “hoping” that some entries would be found.  Below is what I saw.  If I clicked on a name, summary information for that individual is provided.  If I clicked on the Farm/house, then I saw all of those listed in that household which is very helpful in constructing the family.





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