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Agent's authorization

2000-2006 - BÝrge Solem

In 1869 an act was passed in conjunction with the increasing number of emigration agents acting on behalf of the great steamship companies following the start of the mass emigration which had started in the mid 1860-ies. It stated that nobody could act as a commissioner or agent, for conveyance of emigrants 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. Before such authorization could be given, the agent had to deposit a security with the police to cover for the agent's obligations towards the emigrant.

The steamship companies built networks of agents operating all over the county. It was a hierarchy consisting of a "General Agent", normally stationed in Christiania (Oslo), and under him there would be "Head Agents" in the different regions of the country, and under them several "Sub Agents". The general agent had to approve the agents in the network below him, and his deposited security was also to cover any obligation that the sub-agents made on his behalf. Therefore, permission for other persons to do business on behalf of the general agent had to be given in form of a written authorization, which after it had been signed by the Police Commissioner in the district where the general agent's authorization was given, had to be shown before the Police Commissioner in the district where the sub agent intended to do business. The general agent was according to the law, in every manner responsible for the acts of his representatives.

This is an authorization paper for a sub-agent in Stadsbygd near Trondheim. It was issued by the general agent of the State Line in Norway, Chr. Sotaaen, as a representative for the owners "Allan C. Gow & Co. It states that Sotaaen had appointed Christoffer Buan at Raudberget as his sub-agent, and given him permission to enroll passengers on his behalf, for passage to America on the State Line ships. He was authorized to sign contracts and to receive a maximum prepayment of 20 Kroner from each adult passenger. Signed by Sotaaen January 2nd 1884 in Christiania.

In the next paragraph the Police official in Christiania confirms that Sotaaen is authorized as an emigration agent, and that he had paid a deposit of 20 000 Kroner as acquired according to the act of May 22nd 1869. Signed by head of the police in Christiania, Hilmar Krogh on January 2nd 1884.

The police kept registers of authorized agents. The image above shows the entry for J. Krantz, authorized as the general agent of the Dominion Line in 1884. He was authorized to convey emigrants via Hull, London and Liverpool to Quebec, Portland and New Orleans and by railway to the final destination in America. He had deposited 20.000 Kroner as a security. Below is the authorization to work as a sub agent for J. Krantz, the general agent of the Dominion Line.

Other Related Articles :
  • Norwegian passenger act - 1869 (April 2006)
    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.
  • 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
  • Emigration contracts - passenger contracts (2000 - 2006)
    The emigration contracts made out between the emigration agents and the emigrants.

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