23 February 2011

The Norwegian Royal Family and Court in the 1909 and 1910 censuses

1 December 2010 was a great day for all the genealogists in Norway. That was the day when the National Census of 1910 was finally released. A Christmas present in advance! The genealogists threw themselves into searching as soon as midnight had passed. 

For the first time in 50 years a national census became public. The 1900 census was made available already in 1960. But the 1907 statistics act contained a clause enforcing a 100-year census closure, hence the long wait.

The Digital Archives/National Archives of Norway informed prior to the release:
The National Census of 1910 contains over 2 million persons with residence in Norway. In this census one was particularly interested in the population’s nationality. The government also wanted numbers on Norwegians who had returned to Norway after they emigrated to USA. This census contains information on when they emigrated and when they returned, where they lived in USA and their occupation. 19.000 persons are registered as “returned emigrants”.
The online version of the 1910 Census will be published with all the information searchable, names, addresses, birth dates etc.
One important change compared to the 1900 census was that the complete birth date should be given and not only for those under 2 years as in 1900. It was the sixth national census to take place (earlier censuses took place in 1801, 1865, 1875, 1891 and as already mentioned in 1900). 

One of the first things I checked after the census release was the information about the members of the royal family. I discovered that it was impossible to find any of the royals – King Haakon VII, Queen Maud and Crown Prince Olav! The National Archives informed at its website that for Drammensveien 1, where the Royal Palace was situated (current address is Henrik Ibsens gate 1, the name changed in 2006), one of 3 family lists was missing! From the information given I gathered that the list would be added in February 2011, but on 2 February 2011 I was told that the situation with the missing family list for the royal family was permanent. Obviously lost for good. No particular reason was stated. 

Fortunately the lost family list can be compensated by the municipal censuses. The first municipal census in Kristiania was held in 1863, and between 1867 and 1954 censuses were conducted (with some exceptions) annually. The 1907 statistics act did not affect the municipal censuses, which only have a 60 years closure. 

In other words, we have for many years had access to information about the royal family in the municipal censuses, the only difference is of course that  it has not been digitalised (there is a digitalisation project going on for the 1923 census, see more information here). 

No municipal census was held in 1911 because the national census 1910 had just been carried out, so the closest thing would be the municipal census held in 1909. The Oslo City Archives has kindly provided scanned versions of the family lists for Drammensveien 1, 1909. The first list (pdf file, 161 kB) shows the members of the royal family and some of the staff members. No surprise there - the king is listed in the column «Fullt navn» («Complete name») as «H.M. Kong Haakon VII». Actually the Kristiania [Oslo] citizens were asked to state «Samtlige døpenavne og tilnavne. Det døpenavn, som brukes til daglig, understrekes» («All the given names and call names. The given name that is in daily use should be underlined»). The king obviously dropped to state the names he was given at his christening in 1872 (7 September, to be exact) – Christian Frederik Carl Georg Valdemar Axel). Same thing for Queen Maud (Maud Charlotte Mary Victoria) and Crown Prince Olav (Alexander Edward Christian Frederik). 

Other names on the lists included the butler, A.E. Searle (Arthur Edward Searle), who was born in 1864 and as I understand it worked for the then Prince Carl and Princess Maud of Denmark in Copenhagen before he moved to the Royal Palace in Kristiania when they became King and Queen of Norway in 1905. He died in 1953 and is buried in a common grave at Vestre gravlund (cemetery), cf. the cemetery register Disnorge.no/gravminner (id. 754191). The birth date given in the census (20 September 1864) differs from the date given in the cemetery register (19 September). If I have found the right Arthur Edward Searle in the England 1891 census (Ancestry.com), he was born at Haggerston, London and in 1891 he lived at 16 Portland Road, Marylebone, where he worked for Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar. I am certain that this is the same person listed in An Online Gotha as Prince Wilhelm August Eduard (1823-1902) of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, who was married to Lady Augusta Gordon-Lennox (1827-1904).

The list from the Kristiania 1909 census also shows the name of Annie Butler, b. 17 June 1869, who was the «Bonne» («nanny») of Crown Prince Olav. According to Jo Benkow’s biography Olav – menneske og monark, 1991, she was related to the later Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947), and according to Kjell Arnljot Wig’s interview book from 1977, Kongen ser tilbake, a nephew of her was stationed in Oslo after the war. In Halldis Bomhoff's published diary Sir Thomas Pierce Butler, Bt. (1910-1994), who according to Who’s Who (my notes from the late 1990s unfortunately don’t say which edition) was commander of a «Guards Composite battallion» in Norway in 1945-46. His regiment was the Grenadier Guards, which he later commanded. But this Sir Thomas Pierce Butler was the son of Sir Richard Pierce Butler, Bt. (1872-1955), who had no sister named Annie according to Burke’s, 1970. Anyway, in Halldis Bomhoff’s book Min lille prins. Dagbok fra kronprins Olavs første skoletid, 1992 (Bomhoff was Crown Prince Olav's first private teacher) one can read that Annie Butler left in February 1911. According to King Olav (Benkow: 1991), Miss Butler had to leave her post because she had become a suffragette. King Olav claimed it was his grandfather, King Edward VII, who had got involved and made sure that she had to leave, but this doesn’t match up if she left Kristiania in February 1911, several months after King Edward VII died. 

But I am way off track now! I mentioned that the family list which included King Haakon VII was missing from the 1910 national census. But other lists of people living at Drammensveien 1 survived, including the above-mentioned Arthur Edward Searle as well as Annie Butler. 

The other pdf file (2137 kB) which the Oslo City Archives has provided shows not only the royal family in the 1909 municipal census, but also the many other staff members some of them with families - living at different buildings on the property. Examples are the «slottsforvalter» («Palace Superintendent»), architect Hjalmar Welhaven (1850-1922), and coachman Johan Karlsen Omberg. All in all 57 persons had Drammensveien 1 as their address in 1909.

  • Information at Digitalarkivet.no or Arkivverket.no (direct links provided in the text above), including the National Census 1910
  • Information at the Oslo City Archives
  • An Online Gotha. Saxony
  • Who's Who
  • Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 1970
  • Hvem er hvem? 1912, 1934
  • Bomhoff, Halldis. Min lille prins. Dagbok fra kronprins Olavs første skoletid, Oslo: Gyldendal, 1992, pp. 18-22
  • Benkow, Jo. Olav - menneske og monark, Oslo: Gyldendal, 1991, pp. 53-54
  • Wig, Kjell Arnljot. Kongen ser tilbake, Oslo: Cappelen, 1977, p. 14.  
 Updated on Sunday 6 May 2012 at 00.10 (one half-finished sentence corrected), last time 7 November 2013 (link corrected).

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