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Norwegian passenger act - 1869

April 2006 - translation by Børge Solem
On May 22nd, 1869 a new law was passed, concerning the conveyance of passengers to foreign parts of the world. This law was intended to protect the emigrants against trickery from the emigration agents and the companies they represented. Prior to this, complaints had been going on for several years, and in 1867 the government decided that they wanted to keep control with the activities of the emigration agents. A temporary act was passed in Nay 1867, and the Police Commissioners were given the task of controlling the fulfillment of the given regulations. From then the police started keeping registers of emigrants and agents, and those registers are what we now know as the police emigration records, a treasured source by genealogists. The words in brackets [!] has been added by the translator, Børge Solem, for clarification reasons

Act concerning control of conveyance of emigrants to foreign parts of the world

Ulikshal Castle 22nd. May 1869

We Carl, of God's mercy, King to Norway, Sweden, the Goths and Vendes - Hereby declare: That We have been exhibited, the now assembled proper Parliament's decision of April 1st. this year, in the following terms:

§ 1.

Nobody must act as a commissioner or agent, for conveyance of emigrants from the Kingdom to foreign parts of the world, without a written authorization form the police commissioner at the place where he has his head office, or from where he is conducting his activities.

§ 2.

Before such authorization can be given, the agent must deposit a security at the amount decided by the Police Commissioner, for the minimum of 2000 and the maximum of 7000 Spd.*, in the manner of bondsman surety or by deposing securities. When deciding the level of security, it should be taken to consideration whether the conveyance is to end at the landing stage, or is also to cover the inland voyage, if so the level must not be lower then 5000 Spd. The security covers for all obligations the agent has in relation to the emigrant, or for any violation of this act (See §§ 7 and 10).

The deposited security can not be withdrawn by the agent before his obligations can be assumed to be fulfilled, which is normally not assumed to be before 6 months after the agent has discontinued his business. If he has made arrangements to convey emigrants to countries at the other side of "Cape Good Hope" or "Cape Horn", the time before his obligations are fulfilled is assumed to be 1 year after he has discontinued his business.

§ 3.

If the agent intends to do business on several places, the Police Commissioner on the place where the authorization was first given must be informed, and the authorization paper must be shown before the Police Commissioner in every district where the agent intends to do business.

Permission for other persons to do business on behalf of the agent, must be done by a written authorization, which after it has been signed by the Police Commissioner in the district where the [general] agent's authorization was given, must be shown before the Police Commissioner in any district where the [sub] agent intends to do business as representative for the [general] agent.

The [general] agent is in every manner responsible for the acts of his representatives.

§ 4.

The authorization mentioned in § 1 is valid only till December 31st of the year when it is issued, and can be withdrawn by the Police Commissioner at any time.

The deposited security can at any time be demanded increased within the maximum limit mentioned in § 2.

§ 5.
The Police Commissioner shall report to the Department about every authorization issued, and about any withdrawn authorizations, as well as the amount of security deposited.

§ 6.

The agent is to produce a written contract between him and the emigrant, which must contain detailed information about in what manner, and to which destination the emigrant and his clothing shall be conveyed, whether there is any obligations regarding the feeding and lodging of the emigrant in case the ship due to any misfortune, should have to remain in port, about further transportation in case of shipwreck, or if the ship for other reasons can not complete the voyage. It shall also contain information about the payment details, like how much the emigrant has paid for the voyage, and if any further payment should be paid later during the voyage.

Any other conditions, that for practical reasons should be given further clarification, shall be left up to the King to determine.

Any agreement involving arrangements that implements the journey to be paid for in total or partly by the performance of labor following arrival at the foreign destination is null and void, and will result in a punishment in form of a fine for the agent in accordance with § 10.

The contract shall be shown before the police commissioner, and must bear his signature to be valid; the document shall then be handed to the emigrant who, if possible, should personally be present to receive it.

§ 7.

If any emigrant wishes to make complaints about missing fulfilment of the contract, it should be done immediately to the nearest Consul. If the matter can not be solved with the help of the Consul's mediation, he shall make to his knowledge all facts, and send his report to the Department. There the disagreement will be settled with a binding decision for the agent, within the limits of the deposited security, as far as the responsibility of the agent has not been transferred to the Norwegian Treasury, due to compensations given by the government in the agent's place. If the Treasury has such a claim to put forwards, the case will be transferred to the common court of justice, as the department can then act as the emigrant's counsel.

§ 8.

When the decision of the department has turned against the agent, the emigrant's claim will be covered by withdrawal of funds from the security deposed by the agent.

§ 9.

Any regulations the implementation of this act involves, shall be reported to the King, or those acting as his representatives.

§ 10.

Violation of the regulations mentioned in this act, will be punished, with fines from 10 to 200 Spd., as far as the violation does not also involve violation of other laws, which will normally give a higher punishment, and shall be paid to the police.

When the agent applies for the authorization mentioned in § 1, he must present to the Police Commissioner, the name of a man living at the place where he is doing business, who shall be his deputy, and to who any claims can be directed in his absence, as if he were there himself

§ 11.

The above mentioned regulations regarding emigration agents, is also in force for any broker, shipping agent, or ship's master who are making arrangements to convey emigrants without being represented by an emigration agent. Though, it is permitted to take aboard any ship going to foreign parts of the world, a number of emigrants, not exceeding 20, without the regulations in this law being in force.


Approved by the King, and effected at Ulriksdal Castle 22nd. May 1869

* Spd. - Speciedaler was used as the main currency in Norway between 1816 and 1872. One Speciedaler could be divided in to 5 ort (mark) or in to 120 Skilling. The abbreviation for Speciedaler is Spd. Between 1872 and 1874 the currency was changed from Speciedaler to Kroner. 1 Speciedaler was made equal to 4 Kroner. 1 Krone is divided into 100 øre. The abbreviation used for Kroner is Kr. or NOK.

In 1859 10 Spd. would be just about 11,9 USD
In 1866 10 Spd. would be just about 16,0 USD
In 1867 10 Spd. would be just about 11,8 USD
In 1868 10 Spd. would be just about 11,7 USD
In 1867 10 Spd. would be just about 11,6 USD

100 1867 Spd. is equivalent to 20138 - 1997 NOK which was about 2582 - 1997 USD.

Other Related Articles :
  • Hunting Passenger Lists (1999)
    An article describing how, and where, to look for passenger information about Norwegian emigrants. Featuring: US Arrivals, Records of the U.S. Customs Service, (1820 - ca. 1891), Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, (1891 - 1957), Canadian Arrivals, Canadian records - (1865 - 1935), St. Albans lists (1895-), Norwegian records, Norwegian Police Emigration Lists (1867 - 1973), the Danes, the Swedes, Norwegian church records moving lists (1820 - 1915), British records of transmigrants, The British Board of Trade, Passenger Lists, Outwards, (1890-1960), The British Board of Trade, Passenger Lists, Inwards, (1878-1888 and 1890-1960), Discussion
  • Agent's authorization (2000-2006)
    This are examples of authorization papers issued for a agents representing steamship companies in Norway. They were issued by the general agent in Norway, and co-signed by the police.
  • Emigration contracts - passenger contracts (2000 - 2006)
    The emigration contracts made out between the emigration agents and the emigrants.

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