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Emigration contracts - passenger contracts

2000 - 2006 - 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 all agents had to be authorized by the police before they could act as agents.

According to § 6 in the 1869 act, the agent was to produce a written contract between him and the emigrant, which should contain detailed information about in what manner, and to which destination the emigrant and his clothing should be conveyed. It was also the intention that it should statte whether there were any agreements regarding the feeding and lodging of the emigrant in case the ship should have to remain in port, or if the ship for other reasons could not complete the voyage. It should also contain information about the payment, like how much the emigrant had paid for the voyage, and if any further payment should be paid during the voyage.

It also had a section making it illegal to make agreements that implemented the journey to be paid for in total or partly by the performance of labor following arrival. Such arrangements would result in a punishment in form of a fine for the agent.

The contract had to be shown before the police commissioner, and when shown the police would register the details about the transaction in their registers of emigrants, then signed by the police official. Without the signature of the police the contract was not valid. The contract should also bear the signature of the authorized agent, and be handed to the emigrant who should carry it with him on the voyage. It was made out both in Norwegian and in English so it could be used as a legal document during the voyage. Below is an example of an emigration contract made out between a passenger and the Dominion Steamship Company agent in Trondhjem, Ole Gulager. The contract is printed in both Norwegian and English, I have transcribed the English text, it might not be a good translation, but I have decided to not alter it in any way:

The text:

Dominion Line

...[name of emigrant]......has received of the undersigned, (against payment of passage-money, Including landing money in Quebec, Halifax, or Portland, as specified) Through ticket. for

Children under 12 years
Infants under 1 -
to be forwarded to

in the following manner:
1. By Steam-Ship to Hull, where the separate Steam-Ship ticket is to be given up;
2. By Railway to Liverpool;
3. By Steam-Ship to Quebec, Halifax or Portland;
4. By Railway to destination.

During the whole journey hence to America, passengers will be supplied with good and sufficient food, as well as with suitable lodging; and this arrangement stands equally good in the event of any unfavorable delay or accident interrupting the journey, which in that case will be continued as soon as possible in a satisfactory manner. Passengers must attach a full and plain address to reach their luggage packages. 10 Cubic feet Luggage pr. Steam-Ship and 150 Pd.s. pr. Railway free for each passenger above 12 years old; for children between 5 & / 12 years half the quantity. On arriving in England passengers must not hasten to go on shore, but wait until they are fetched by our Correspondents people, who will make themselves known by showing a list of all the passengers names. Passengers should not have any dealings with Interpreters on the journey. On arriving at America passengers must look after to get their railway tickets to the destination. Passengers should hold this contract, and show it as often as they have occasion but not give it up until they arrive at their destination.

NB, This contract can not be used instead of the forwarding thickets herein described.

A deposit of 20 000 Norwegian Kroner has been made to the Norwegian government as a security due fulfillment of this contract.

Presented the police on .............. 190_
For the Police Commissioner..............
For Dominion Line.............

Tickets and traveling contracts in the Image Gallery

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
  • The Transatlantic Crossing (20. February 2001)
    This article focuses mainly on the transatlantic journey. It is the story of how the Norwegians going to America in the time between 1825 and 1925 would travel. It also gives some insight to the amazing development in how ships were constructed and the transportation arranged to meet the demands of the increasing number of people on the move. Even though this is about the experience of Norwegian emigrants, the experiences and conditions of travel will be much the same regardless of the nationality.
  • 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.

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A selection of articles dedicated to help you in your genealogy search for your Norwegian ancestors. Transcripts and pictures of historic documents in connection with the ships and emigration. Also including articles about Pioneers & Norwegian Settlements Around the World
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This section contains articles describing the transatlantic voyage, the condition of the steerage accommodations and the experience of an ocean travel on an emigrant ship. You will find in-depth studies concerning the emigration process, statistics and facts, and information about the immigration processing centers line Castle Garden and Ellis Island.
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