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onsdag 13. oktober 2010

A huge transcription work carried out by Ketil Firing-Hansen makes it possible to have a snapshot of the population of Sandefjord in 1701. Naturally the material has its limitations: there are 78 people listed, of whom 72 are men: women appear to have been included only when they are economic actors – and hence tax subjects – in their own right. Hence the inclusion of four widows.

More intriguingly, there are two more women included: they are described as “huusquinder”. The author of this blog is not at all sure what a “huusquinde” was – but someone else might be able to contribute an explanation.

It is difficult to know what the overall population of Sandefjord might have been, given that women were not registered, but if one uses the ratio found in the 1801 census, there ought to have been 85-90 women in the settlement giving an estimate of the total number of inhabitants in the region of, say, 160 people.

On the other hand, the graph showing the distribution of ages among men seems to display a deficit of men in the ages from 15 to 50 or thereabouts: the most productive years. One might speculate that this represents men who were absent, for one reason or another, and therefore not counted. If so, up to 35-40 men might have to be added; perhaps 45-50 women, and thus the total estimated population would be as high as 240-250 people: not inconsistent with the population in 1762.

Be that as it may – it is highly speculative. What is not speculative, though, is the undoubted chivalry of the census-takers: among the six women they counted, none had her age revealed. Plus ça change.

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