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MOSAIC: Recovering Surviving Census Records to Reconstruct Population, Economic, and Cultural History


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Main topic



Censuses microdata offer a unique resource for comparative research, because they can be integrated across time and space. The goal of the MOSAIC project is to extend the collection and distribution of historical micro-censuses to Continental Europe, and through this to include regions not covered by large scale data infrastructure initiatives such as  Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) and the North Atlantic Population Project (NAPP).  These regions typically have only partially surviving records, located decentrally in the multitude of local and regional archives. The intention of MOSAIC is to mobilize an intra-European partnership and to generate resources in order to put the pieces back together again.


A historical infrastructure will be built in three steps:

  1. Forming a broad European partnership for historical census microdata to recruit members and collect contributions of all nineteenth-century historical census material that has already been digitized. The goal is to identify already existing data files of historical census microdata, to create a centralized depot for such records, and to integrate the latter into a common file format allowing comparative research across time and space (based on IPUMS and NAPP standards).
  2. Inventories of local surviving census material will be commissioned to add to the stock of data already available in some kind of electronic format. These inventories will be created by local historians visiting and communicating with their own local archives.
  3. Statistical sampling schemes will be designed to create low-cost, high value samples from the universe of all surviving census records. These samples will be representative and scalable. The project´s major strategic line is to start with a wide, but relatively low-density coverage of most of Europe, and then move systematically towards comprehensive and high-density data coverage. The efforts will concentrate on those countries without existing 100-percent-samples of historical microdata.


  • Data collection
  • Data harmonization
  • Data distribution
  • Conferences
  • Workshops


  • University of Graz
    • Karl Kaser
    • Peter Teibenbacher 
  • University of Vienna
    • Markus Cerman
    • Josef Ehmer
  • KU Leuven
    • Koen Matthij
    • Paul Puschmann
    • Mattijs Vandezande
  • Institute for Population and Human Studies (Sofia)
    • Antoaneta Hristova
  • Danish Data Archive
    • Nanna Floor Clausen

    • Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux

  • INED

    • Lionel Kesztenbaum
  • University of Rennes 2
    • Fabrice Boudjaaba
  • University of Bordeaux 3
    • Stéphane Minvielle
  • University of Berlin
    • Sabine Hübner
  • Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg
    • Ulf Brunnbauer
  • Landeshauptarchiv Schwerin
    • Matthias Manke
  • Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
    • Patrick Heady
  • University of Bonn
    • Christian Schlöder
  • University of Frankfurt (Oder)
    • Rolf Gehrmann
  • University of Halle-Wittenberg
    • Georg Fertig
    • Manfred Hettling
  • University of Münster
    • Ulrich Pfister
  • University of Rostock
    • Gabriele Doblhammer-Reiter
    • Stefan Kroll
  • University of Tübingen
    • Jörg Baten
    • Franziska Tollnek
  • Westphalian Society for Genealogy and Family Research
    • Volker Wilmsen
  • Demographic Research Institute Budapest
    • Peter Öri
    • Levente Pakot
  • National Archives Ireland
    • Catriona Crowe
  • University of Padova
    • Gianpiero Dalla Zuanna
  • University of Parma
    • Matteo Manfredini
  • University of Sassari
    • Marco Breschi
    • Lucia Pozzi
  • University of Udine
    • Alessio Fornasin
  • University of Vilnius
    • Dalia Leinarte
The Netherlands
  • International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam
    • Kees Mandemakers
  • Radboud University Nijmegen
    • Jan Kok
  • Utrecht University
    • Marco H. D. van Leeuwen
  • University of Bergen
    • Arne Solli
  • University of Tromsö
    • Gunnar Thorvaldsen
  • University of Bialystok
    • Piotr Guzowski
  • Lisbon University Institute
    • Robert Lewis Rowland
  • University of Cluj
    • Ioan Bolovan
    • Daniela Detesan
  • University of Bucharest
    • Bogdan Mateescu
  • Moscow State University
    • Irina Troitskaia
  • Institute of History, Belgrade
    • Aleksandra Vuletic
  • Centre for Demographic Studies, Barcelona
    • Anna Cabré
    • Albert Esteve
    • Joana Maria Pujades Mora
  • Complutense University of Madrid
    • David Reher
  • Spanish Council for Scientific Research
    • Diego Ramiro Farinas
  • Demographic Data Base - Umea University
    • Maria Larsson
  • National Archives Sweden
    • Mats Berggren
  • Swedish National Data Service
    • Hans Jörgen Marker
  • University of Geneva
    • Michel Oris
  • Istanbul Bilgi University
    • Alan Duben
  • Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure
    • Beatrice Moring
  • Newcastle University
    • Violetta Hionidou
  • University of Cambridge
    • Sheilagh Ogilvie
  • University of Essex
    • Matthew Woollard
  • University of Leicester
    • Kevin Schürer
  • Iowa State University
    • Andrejs Plakans
  • Minnesota Population Center
    • Lara Cleveland
    • Catherine Fitch
    • Patricia Kelly Hall
    • Bob McCaa
    • Evan Roberts
    • Steven Ruggles
    • Matthew Sobek
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
    • Joel M. Halpern

Funding body

Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research


Siegfried Gruber

Contact details

Siegfried Gruber

Links to project