The Censuses of Males of 1663-66 and 1701
The census of males of 1663-66 counts among the world's oldest, and came about on the initiative of Titus Bülche, the Royal Commissary of Churches in Norway. The census of males consists of a collection of counts of male inhabitants performed by parsons and bailiffs. Initially, only men above 12 years of age were included, while the lists from 1666 also encompass those younger than 12 years old. Even though this was a census of males – a tally of male inhabitants – some women were included, as well. These were women running farms on their own. People in towns were not included in the tallies.
The census of males represents a rich source. We find the names of farms and the land rent paid, the names and ages of tenant farmers, their sons, their servants and cotters. While these lists may contain several errors, the information can be verified by comparing the data between the various tallies. Based on the census of males of 1663-1666, it has been calculated that approximately 450,000 people lived in Norway in 1665.
The 1701 census of males was performed by ministers, town bailiffs and magistrates, but only one list exists for each district. Counting the women was not deemed necessary this time either. Nor were boys less than one year old included. This census of males contains the same information as the previous tally. Absent sons are also listed. The records of the 1701 census of males have been lost for large parts of the country, particularly in the areas south of Dovrefjell.