MapRom - Mapping the Romani population in 1838 Wallachia

Historical demographic studies and investigation on the geographical distribution of the Romani ethnic minority in Romania, despite an early tradition started in the Nineteenth century, are relatively rare. Those in Transylvania historical province, benefiting from archival documents and research from Austria and Hungary, are substantially richer. In the Danubian Principalities of Wallachia and Moldova, the causes for the lack of such investigations are mainly due to the absence of parish registers which are specific to the catholic church of medieval and pre-modern times, as well as to the absence of censuses of the population conducted prior to the mid-Nineteenth century.
However, it is very important today to have an objective knowledge of the situation of the Romani people, their past and present, in Romania, the country with the largest number of Roms in Europe and to understand whether their living conditions differed considerably from those of the surrounding population and from those of other co-inhabiting ethnic minorities. Our project studied family forms, geographic settlement patterns and socio-economic structure of the Romani ethnic peoples of the southern historical province of Romania, Wallachia, in the Nineteenth century, just before their Emancipation from slavery (mid-Nineteenth century).
The main archival source of MapRom database is the “Census of the population or Statistics of the Principalities (Wallachia and Moldova) of 1838”, ANIC, Fond Catagrafii, part I, Inventory number 501, volumes numbered I/8 to I/107 from the Historical National Archives, Bucharest, mostly unpublished and now digitized and automatized for the first time, in regard to Romani population.
This Census was conducted by the Interior Ministry in February 1838. It is the first preserved Romanian modern census of population and dwellings, which introduced new techniques of reviewing, such as the nominal lists and the great number (24) of demographic attributes, including ethnicity. The unit of observation was the “household”, and the scope was to obtain detailed information about: 1) the settled population by age group, and sex; 2) the number of households and their structure; 3) the number of residential buildings and their distribution according to the material from which they are built; 4) population distribution according to their participation in economic activity; 5) distribution of population by skills and occupations.
Based on this information, the MapRom database presents: statistics of the Roma households per village, number of Roms per village, number of different Romani ethnic sub-groups (Lăieș, Vătraș, Rudar, Zlătar, etc), average Romani household size per village, age distribution, sex distribution, number of Roms per skill, geographic distribution of the Roms (in uplands and lowlands), cultivated land area by Roms per village, etc. We have reconstructed from other sources information about the owners of the slaves.
Over time the nominal lists for four counties (Ialomiţa, Gorj, Mededinţi and Vâlcea) as well as some two rural sub-districts and two towns has been lost, but that for 14 Wallachian counties has been preserved and entered in MapRom. The five volumes of nominal material for the capital city Bucharest (with a very large and multi-ethnic population) was not researched in this project as the census there was complexly different from that of the rural provinces in form and execution, but it is hoped that it can be researched at a later date.
We estimate that MapRom gathers information on between two-thirds and three-fourths of Wallachia’s Romani population.


InsertTool Maprom

Web-based toolset for entering transcripted data in the database


Statistical data derived from the database

Södertörn University

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Dr. Julieta Rotaru