History Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2018-05-17

Domestic Travel Certificates - Inrikespass,

Sweden

Early Travel Documents

A statue from the beginning of the 15th century ruled that everyone migrating within Sweden needed a certificated issued by the parish minister stating whether the holder of the certificate was married or unmarried. The purpose for this was avoiding bigamy. It is not clear in which extent these early certificates was issued before the parish registration act introduced in 1686. During the 18th and 19th centuries these moving certificates served as documents of legitimacy. A parish had, according to a regulation from 1788, the right to deny elderly and people with little capacity for work to settle in the parish. A group of people often rambling on the roads was the artisan journeymen (gesäll). In the middle of the 16th century it became compulsory for journeymen to do a two-year journey (gesällvandring) around the country or abroad to obtain good training with different masters. According to the 1669 order of the guilds these artisan journeys became optional, however in reality they continued as before. The journeymen needed a special travelling certificate titled vandringspass (rambler certificate), which later was succeeded by the gesällbok (journeyman card). According to a regulation from 1844 the gesällbok had to contain information such as profession, name, age, place of birth and previous periods of employment.

Domestic Travel Certificates - Inrikespass

Inrikespass (domestic travel certificates), or vägbrev (road letters) was a travel document similar to a passport needed for domestic travels in Sweden from the 1500's to 1860. King Gustav Vasa directed in 1555 that every merchant had to have a "vägabref eller passebordh" (road letter or travel certificate) when traveling in parts of Sweden where they were not known and they were obligated to present the certificate upon request to avoid detention. The travel certificates were issued in the traveler's hometown. An “inrikespass” was an identity and travel document which ensured the identity of the person carrying it and gave the holder of the document the right to travel to and from the towns stated in the document. Such a document was issued for a journey at a time and had an expiration date and the route was described in detail. In 1603 innkeepers were prevented to lodge people without a domestic travel certificate and drivers on stagecoaches were not allowed to give rides to people without such document. The system with “inrikespass” was a way for the Crown the control people’s traveling on the roads and to obstruct vagrants, troublemakers, thieves, beggars etc. The system with “inrikespass” was abolished in 1860. However, before 1860 you couldn’t undertake a domestic travel in Sweden without such a document. A traveler simply needed the document to avoid detention. 

Benefits of Civil Servants on Official Journeys

A domestic travel certificate contained information whether the holder was travelling in the service of the Crown or as a private person. Until the 1600's civil servants conducting official journeys possessed the right to free board and lodging at inns and at farmer's dwellings.

The Necessity of Travel Certificates

In 1606 and 1638 it was decreed that all travellers to and from Sweden must have a travel certificates or what we today mean by passports. So, the compulsion for travel certificates comprised both domestic as well as foreign travels. Travel certificates was issued by the body of borough administrators (magistraten) in cities and in rural areas by the County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen). Travel certificates for foreign travel could also be issued by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Utrikesdepartementet) or by Swedish embassies in other countries. In Stockholm the certificates were issued by the Office of the Governor of Stockholm. Under special circumstances also regimental commanders, parish ministers, the head of the enforcement district (Kronofogden) or the county sheriff (Länsman) had the right to issue travel certificates. In the beginning of the 19th century a new demand was passed regarding the content of the travel certificates. From now on the certificates had to contain a detailed description of the holder. The rules regarding the right to domestic travel were tightened-up in 1812 for the unpropertied. This was during the period of the great population growth when many had difficulties of providing themselves and the stricter rules for travel certificates for this group of people was a way to obstruct itinerating beggars and vagrants. The local authorities in Sweden were from 1812 obliged to send extracts from the travel certificate journals / logbooks (passjournaler) to the Office of the Chancellor of Justice (Justitiekanslern, JK). From 1812 all domestic travel certificates were issued on preprinted forms which were much more difficult to falsify.

The Contents of the Travel Certificates

The travel certificates contained information about the travellers' name, title, occupation and destination for the journey. Age and appearance was also noted in the certificates for travellers who weren't public government officials or civil servants, domiciled or burghers/citizens. The certificates also had an expiration date. The travel certificates were also signed by the person who issued the document, for example the mayor of a city. Current notes were made in the certificates by official clerks in towns the travellers passed during the journey. These notes contained information regarding the traveller's right to continue his or her journey. Travel documents in the shape of a small books, such as modern passports, weren't introduced until the 20th century. As mentioned above, the old domestic travel certificates were from 1812 printed forms in the size of paper. The forms were preprinted but filled in manually. However, there were no standard forms which means they were different depending on where they were issued.

Two inrikesspass from 1848:

The image shows a domestic travel certificate issued for the journeyman tailor Johan Jackob Lundgren on July 15, 1848. The travel certificate grants him the right to travel from Ystad to Malmö and back during a period of 14 days. The certificate was issued by the Ystad Town Hall. The image is shown with consent of Lars Ohlsson.
The image above shows a domestic travel certificate issued for the journeyman cooper Nils Jansson Södergren on July 29, 1848 by the Govenor, City of Stockholm. The travel certificate grants him the right to travel from Stockholm to Sölvesborg. On left-hand side are Södergren's personal data stated. At the bottom left we can see the cost for the certificate, in total 22 Skilling Banco including the surcharge and a stamp duty. The image is shown with consent of Lars Ohlsson.

Inspections of the Travels Certificates

The Swedish Customs supervised the travellers arriving from foreign countries; guarding of the frontier was the duty of the Customs. Swedish quarantine regulations during the 19th century forced travellers to have health certificates (sundhetspass) if they arrived from cholera infected areas. From the 1860’s health certificates were also needed for domestic travels in Sweden. Also the inns registered travellers. At the inns the travellers’ names were taken down in the inns’ registers (gästgiveridagböcker). These inn registers were introduced in 1762 after a royal decree. Not only the traveller’s name was noted in the inn registers but also occupation as well as the name of the inn the traveller previously had stayed at as well as the inn the traveller was to spend the next night in. This check or supervision of travellers continued later with the hotel registers (hotelliggare). This hotel statute was in practice until June 8, 1917. The hotel registers were handed over to the local police department. According to the statute foreign travellers was to be carefully checked, especially where they were coming from and to where they were going. The lists of ”announced travellers” are registers of all the travellers who stayed the night in a town. Each traveller had to deposit his or hers travel certificate / passport at the local police office in the town and the police registered everyone who spent the night there. These listings were often published in the local newspapers. In 1917, during WWI, Sweden made in compulsory to carry passports for foreign travels. In 1929 passports for Swedish Citizens were issued by The Ministry for Foreign Affairs, County Councils (Länsstyrelse), Town Councils, the Police and by Swedish Embassies abroad.

The Abolishment of the Domestic Travel Certificates

The compulsion of having domestic travel certificates for internal travels or a passports for foreign travels was abolished on September 21, 1860. Between 1860 and 1917 people were able to travel in Europe without a passport, at least to countries that didn’t specifically demand passports. However, people who recently had served an imprisonment with hard labor or were given a suspended sentence of imprisonment still needed a domestic travel certificate after 1860 to be able travel in Sweden.

Foreign Travels / Emigration

It was stated in the servant statute of 1739 that all servants, such as maids and farmhands, needed domestic travel certificates for travel. For this groups of people, the travel certificates really were certificates of credibility attested by the master they served or by the authorities. A person who unlawfully absconded to a foreign country without coming back to Sweden within one year lost his right of inheritance. A decree in 1768 stated capital punishment for people who unlawfully left Sweden three times. During the first half of the 18th century Sweden introduced many restrictions regarding emigration. One reason to these restrictions was an ambition to promote the increase the population of Sweden. The Swedish authorities wished the population to increase and one way of promoting this was to restrict emigration. No new restrictions of emigration were legislated after the 1820’s but the old restrictions were still in use until 1860 when the compulsory domestic travel certificates and passports was abolished. In the 1840’s also the need of depositing a sum of money when travelling abroad was abolished. From the 1850’s and forward there weren't really any restrictions limiting emigration from Sweden. In 1869 Sweden adopted a law requiring registration of emigrants leaving Sweden; thereby we saw the birth of the passenger lists.  Emigrant agents were thereafter obliged to keep passenger lists, i.e. to draw up emigrant contracts and enter the emigrants into special lists. These passenger lists were then handed over to the Police Departments at the ports of departure. The Police ticked off every passenger on the lists when the emigrants boarded the ships. These passenger lists contained information such as name, age, home parish and destination for each emigrant. Prior to 1869 emigrants were only noted in the parish records; the household examination rolls and the moving-out rolls. There might be notes in military rolls too. Before an emigrant could execute his plan to emigrate he was obliged to obtain a moving certificate (flyttningsbetyg or flyttningsattest). The certificate was issued by the parish minister of the home parish. The moving certificate primarily contained church annotations about the person in question but also information such as vaccination, tax debts, conduct, right to receive Holy Communion and catechism knowledge. From 1884 the emigrants had to present such a moving certificate to the emigrant agent before the emigrant contract could be signed and the ticket paid for. It was a general prohibition for conscripts (draftees) ["värnpliktiga"] to emigrate to other countries without permission. From 1885 fulfilment of conscription was needed to get permission to emigrate. Without a such exit permit you couldn’t get a moving certificate from the parish minister and thereby not be able to buy an emigrant ticket through an emigrant agent. The Police Departments in the Swedish emigrant ports checked that the regulations were followed and that the emigrants were legal emigrants.

Domestic Travel Certificates in Other Countries

Sweden wasn’t the only country using domestic travel certificates or internal passports as they are known as in some countries. The practice of domestic travel certificates has been common in many European countries but was gradually abrogated at the end of the 18th century. The internal passport system of the Russian Empire was abandoned after the October Revolution in 1917, lifting most limitations upon internal movements. However, they were reintroduced by Josef Stalin in 1932 and they are still in use in Russia today. During WWII everyone in Norway had to have so-called "Grenseboerbevis", which contained identification data and information regarding areas the holder of the “grenseboerbevis” was allowed to stay in. In reality these papers were domestic travel certificates. In 1885 the "pass system" was introduced in Canada, to restrict and control the movement of First Nations people within Canada. The First Nations are the various Aboriginal Canadians who are neither Inuit nor Métis. This term is intended to replace the deprecated term "Indians". The “pass system” was instituted at the time of the North-West Rebellion in 1885 and remained in force for 60 years despite having no basis in law. Any First Nation person caught outside their reservation without a pass issued by an Indian agent was returned to their reservation or incarcerated. The North-West Rebellion of 1885 was a brief and unsuccessful uprising by the Métis people and an associated uprising by First Nations Cree and Assiniboine, of the District of Saskatchewan against the government of Canada. In the past domestic travel certificates were used in France. People had to show an internal passport (domestic travel certificate) to change city. Former convicts who had served forced labor, even after having served their sentence, had a yellow passport, which made them outcasts. In the USA domestic travel certificates (internal passports) were used in the Confederate States of America. The Confederate States of America, commonly referred to as the Confederacy, was a confederation of secessionist American states existing from 1861 to 1865. Internal passports were also used for freed blacks in the slave states before the Civil War (1861 – 1865).

Digitizing of the Swedish Domestic Travel Certificates

Genealogiska Föreningen (GF), a genealogy society in Stockholm, Sweden, has an ongoing project digitizing the Swedish domestic travel certificates (inrikespass). In December 2015 they reached 100,000 scanned certificates. The travel certificates are stored as images in a database available at their site (subscription needed). The genealogy society are at the moment building as searchable name index for the certificates. See http://www.genealogi.net/projekt/inrikespass-1700-tal/

Source References

Förvaltningshistorik. 25. Kontroll av resande, in- och utvandring, Beata Losman ”Rätten att färdas fritt”, 2000, Anna-Brita Lövgren Runeberg, Nordisk Familjebok, 1800-tals utgåvan, 841-842 Släkthistoriskt Forum, nr 1, 2016, Sveriges Släktforskarförbund. Wikipedia Top of page
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History Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2018-05-17

Domestic Travel

Certificates -

Inrikespass, Sweden

Early Travel Documents

A statue from the beginning of the 15th century ruled that everyone migrating within Sweden needed a certificated issued by the parish minister stating whether the holder of the certificate was married or unmarried. The purpose for this was avoiding bigamy. It is not clear in which extent these early certificates was issued before the parish registration act introduced in 1686. During the 18th and 19th centuries these moving certificates served as documents of legitimacy. A parish had, according to a regulation from 1788, the right to deny elderly and people with little capacity for work to settle in the parish. A group of people often rambling on the roads was the artisan journeymen (gesäll). In the middle of the 16th century it became compulsory for journeymen to do a two-year journey (gesällvandring) around the country or abroad to obtain good training with different masters. According to the 1669 order of the guilds these artisan journeys became optional, however in reality they continued as before. The journeymen needed a special travelling certificate titled vandringspass (rambler certificate), which later was succeeded by the gesällbok (journeyman card). According to a regulation from 1844 the gesällbok had to contain information such as profession, name, age, place of birth and previous periods of employment.

Domestic Travel Certificates -

Inrikespass

Inrikespass (domestic travel certificates), or vägbrev (road letters) was a travel document similar to a passport needed for domestic travels in Sweden from the 1500's to 1860. King Gustav Vasa directed in 1555 that every merchant had to have a "vägabref eller passebordh" (road letter or travel certificate) when traveling in parts of Sweden where they were not known and they were obligated to present the certificate upon request to avoid detention. The travel certificates were issued in the traveler's hometown. An “inrikespass” was an identity and travel document which ensured the identity of the person carrying it and gave the holder of the document the right to travel to and from the towns stated in the document. Such a document was issued for a journey at a time and had an expiration date and the route was described in detail. In 1603 innkeepers were prevented to lodge people without a domestic travel certificate and drivers on stagecoaches were not allowed to give rides to people without such document. The system with “inrikespass” was a way for the Crown the control people’s traveling on the roads and to obstruct vagrants, troublemakers, thieves, beggars etc. The system with “inrikespass” was abolished in 1860. However, before 1860 you couldn’t undertake a domestic travel in Sweden without such a document. A traveler simply needed the document to avoid detention. 

Benefits of Civil Servants on Official

Journeys

A domestic travel certificate contained information whether the holder was travelling in the service of the Crown or as a private person. Until the 1600's civil servants conducting official journeys possessed the right to free board and lodging at inns and at farmer's dwellings.

The Necessity of Travel Certificates

In 1606 and 1638 it was decreed that all travellers to and from Sweden must have a travel certificates or what we today mean by passports. So, the compulsion for travel certificates comprised both domestic as well as foreign travels. Travel certificates was issued by the body of borough administrators (magistraten) in cities and in rural areas by the County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen). Travel certificates for foreign travel could also be issued by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Utrikesdepartementet) or by Swedish embassies in other countries. In Stockholm the certificates were issued by the Office of the Governor of Stockholm. Under special circumstances also regimental commanders, parish ministers, the head of the enforcement district (Kronofogden) or the county sheriff (Länsman) had the right to issue travel certificates. In the beginning of the 19th century a new demand was passed regarding the content of the travel certificates. From now on the certificates had to contain a detailed description of the holder. The rules regarding the right to domestic travel were tightened-up in 1812 for the unpropertied. This was during the period of the great population growth when many had difficulties of providing themselves and the stricter rules for travel certificates for this group of people was a way to obstruct itinerating beggars and vagrants. The local authorities in Sweden were from 1812 obliged to send extracts from the travel certificate journals / logbooks (passjournaler) to the Office of the Chancellor of Justice (Justitiekanslern, JK). From 1812 all domestic travel certificates were issued on preprinted forms which were much more difficult to falsify.

The Contents of the Travel Certificates

The travel certificates contained information about the travellers' name, title, occupation and destination for the journey. Age and appearance was also noted in the certificates for travellers who weren't public government officials or civil servants, domiciled or burghers/citizens. The certificates also had an expiration date. The travel certificates were also signed by the person who issued the document, for example the mayor of a city. Current notes were made in the certificates by official clerks in towns the travellers passed during the journey. These notes contained information regarding the traveller's right to continue his or her journey. Travel documents in the shape of a small books, such as modern passports, weren't introduced until the 20th century. As mentioned above, the old domestic travel certificates were from 1812 printed forms in the size of paper. The forms were preprinted but filled in manually. However, there were no standard forms which means they were different depending on where they were issued.

Two inrikesspass from 1848:

The image shows a domestic travel certificate issued for the journeyman tailor Johan Jackob Lundgren on July 15, 1848. The travel certificate grants him the right to travel from Ystad to Malmö and back during a period of 14 days. The certificate was issued by the Ystad Town Hall. The image is shown with consent of Lars Ohlsson.
The image above shows a domestic travel certificate issued for the journeyman cooper Nils Jansson Södergren on July 29, 1848 by the Govenor, City of Stockholm. The travel certificate grants him the right to travel from Stockholm to Sölvesborg. On left-hand side are Södergren's personal data stated. At the bottom left we can see the cost for the certificate, in total 22 Skilling Banco including the surcharge and a stamp duty. The image is shown with consent of Lars Ohlsson.

Inspections of the Travels Certificates

The Swedish Customs supervised the travellers arriving from foreign countries; guarding of the frontier was the duty of the Customs. Swedish quarantine regulations during the 19th century forced travellers to have health certificates (sundhetspass) if they arrived from cholera infected areas. From the 1860’s health certificates were also needed for domestic travels in Sweden. Also the inns registered travellers. At the inns the travellers’ names were taken down in the inns’ registers (gästgiveridagböcker). These inn registers were introduced in 1762 after a royal decree. Not only the traveller’s name was noted in the inn registers but also occupation as well as the name of the inn the traveller previously had stayed at as well as the inn the traveller was to spend the next night in. This check or supervision of travellers continued later with the hotel registers (hotelliggare). This hotel statute was in practice until June 8, 1917. The hotel registers were handed over to the local police department. According to the statute foreign travellers was to be carefully checked, especially where they were coming from and to where they were going. The lists of ”announced travellers” are registers of all the travellers who stayed the night in a town. Each traveller had to deposit his or hers travel certificate / passport at the local police office in the town and the police registered everyone who spent the night there. These listings were often published in the local newspapers. In 1917, during WWI, Sweden made in compulsory to carry passports for foreign travels. In 1929 passports for Swedish Citizens were issued by The Ministry for Foreign Affairs, County Councils (Länsstyrelse), Town Councils, the Police and by Swedish Embassies abroad.

The Abolishment of the Domestic Travel

Certificates

The compulsion of having domestic travel certificates for internal travels or a passports for foreign travels was abolished on September 21, 1860. Between 1860 and 1917 people were able to travel in Europe without a passport, at least to countries that didn’t specifically demand passports. However, people who recently had served an imprisonment with hard labor or were given a suspended sentence of imprisonment still needed a domestic travel certificate after 1860 to be able travel in Sweden.

Foreign Travels / Emigration

It was stated in the servant statute of 1739 that all servants, such as maids and farmhands, needed domestic travel certificates for travel. For this groups of people, the travel certificates really were certificates of credibility attested by the master they served or by the authorities. A person who unlawfully absconded to a foreign country without coming back to Sweden within one year lost his right of inheritance. A decree in 1768 stated capital punishment for people who unlawfully left Sweden three times. During the first half of the 18th century Sweden introduced many restrictions regarding emigration. One reason to these restrictions was an ambition to promote the increase the population of Sweden. The Swedish authorities wished the population to increase and one way of promoting this was to restrict emigration. No new restrictions of emigration were legislated after the 1820’s but the old restrictions were still in use until 1860 when the compulsory domestic travel certificates and passports was abolished. In the 1840’s also the need of depositing a sum of money when travelling abroad was abolished. From the 1850’s and forward there weren't really any restrictions limiting emigration from Sweden. In 1869 Sweden adopted a law requiring registration of emigrants leaving Sweden; thereby we saw the birth of the passenger lists. Emigrant agents were thereafter obliged to keep passenger lists, i.e. to draw up emigrant contracts and enter the emigrants into special lists. These passenger lists were then handed over to the Police Departments at the ports of departure. The Police ticked off every passenger on the lists when the emigrants boarded the ships. These passenger lists contained information such as name, age, home parish and destination for each emigrant. Prior to 1869 emigrants were only noted in the parish records; the household examination rolls and the moving-out rolls. There might be notes in military rolls too. Before an emigrant could execute his plan to emigrate he was obliged to obtain a moving certificate (flyttningsbetyg or flyttningsattest). The certificate was issued by the parish minister of the home parish. The moving certificate primarily contained church annotations about the person in question but also information such as vaccination, tax debts, conduct, right to receive Holy Communion and catechism knowledge. From 1884 the emigrants had to present such a moving certificate to the emigrant agent before the emigrant contract could be signed and the ticket paid for. It was a general prohibition for conscripts (draftees) ["värnpliktiga"] to emigrate to other countries without permission. From 1885 fulfilment of conscription was needed to get permission to emigrate. Without a such exit permit you couldn’t get a moving certificate from the parish minister and thereby not be able to buy an emigrant ticket through an emigrant agent. The Police Departments in the Swedish emigrant ports checked that the regulations were followed and that the emigrants were legal emigrants.

Domestic Travel Certificates in Other

Countries

Sweden wasn’t the only country using domestic travel certificates or internal passports as they are known as in some countries. The practice of domestic travel certificates has been common in many European countries but was gradually abrogated at the end of the 18th century. The internal passport system of the Russian Empire was abandoned after the October Revolution in 1917, lifting most limitations upon internal movements. However, they were reintroduced by Josef Stalin in 1932 and they are still in use in Russia today. During WWII everyone in Norway had to have so- called "Grenseboerbevis", which contained identification data and information regarding areas the holder of the “grenseboerbevis” was allowed to stay in. In reality these papers were domestic travel certificates. In 1885 the "pass system" was introduced in Canada, to restrict and control the movement of First Nations people within Canada. The First Nations are the various Aboriginal Canadians who are neither Inuit nor Métis. This term is intended to replace the deprecated term "Indians". The “pass system” was instituted at the time of the North-West Rebellion in 1885 and remained in force for 60 years despite having no basis in law. Any First Nation person caught outside their reservation without a pass issued by an Indian agent was returned to their reservation or incarcerated. The North-West Rebellion of 1885 was a brief and unsuccessful uprising by the Métis people and an associated uprising by First Nations Cree and Assiniboine, of the District of Saskatchewan against the government of Canada. In the past domestic travel certificates were used in France. People had to show an internal passport (domestic travel certificate) to change city. Former convicts who had served forced labor, even after having served their sentence, had a yellow passport, which made them outcasts. In the USA domestic travel certificates (internal passports) were used in the Confederate States of America. The Confederate States of America, commonly referred to as the Confederacy, was a confederation of secessionist American states existing from 1861 to 1865. Internal passports were also used for freed blacks in the slave states before the Civil War (1861 – 1865).

Digitizing of the Swedish Domestic Travel

Certificates

Genealogiska Föreningen (GF), a genealogy society in Stockholm, Sweden, has an ongoing project digitizing the Swedish domestic travel certificates (inrikespass). In December 2015 they reached 100,000 scanned certificates. The travel certificates are stored as images in a database available at their site (subscription needed). The genealogy society are at the moment building as searchable name index for the certificates. See http://www.genealogi.net/projekt/inrikespass- 1700-tal/

Source References

Förvaltningshistorik. 25. Kontroll av resande, in- och utvandring, Beata Losman ”Rätten att färdas fritt”, 2000, Anna-Brita Lövgren Runeberg, Nordisk Familjebok, 1800-tals utgåvan, 841-842 Släkthistoriskt Forum, nr 1, 2016, Sveriges Släktforskarförbund. Wikipedia Top of page