Volunteers rally to put Norwegian records online
On Feb.2, 2009 FamilySearch International, the University of Tromsø, and DIS-Norge announced a joint initiative to transcribe the 1875 Norway Census for free online access. It is the only Norway census that has not been indexed and the first to be tackled as a global, Internet-based effort. Volunteers who can read Norwegian are being sought to complete the project at www.familysearch.org.
The 1875 Norway Census is valuable to researchers because it was the last national census taken just before the great Norwegian immigration period that started in 1878. Researchers will not have to wait much longer for convenient, online access to the historic census. FamilySearch digitized the census images and is using its Web-based transcription tool and volunteers to create the automated index. The University of Tromsø and DIS-Norge are sponsoring the project, but many more online volunteers are needed to transcribe the 1.6 million individuals found in the tens of thousands of census sheets.
Although FamilySearch has done other major international indexing projects, this is the first one for Norway. “The biggest challenge is the Norwegian handwriting and names,” said Jeff Svare, collection management specialist. “Most of FamilySearch’s current volunteers are not skilled at reading Norwegian names or handwriting. Native Norwegian volunteers would be much more effective and efficient at transcribing the required information from the census sheets,” concluded Svare.