1 million emigration records for Norway added to MyHeritage


04 July 2022
MyHeritage has announced the addition of 1 million emigration records for Norway covering the years 1867 to 1973 to its database.

This collection of records was created between 1867 and 1973 by local police departments tasked with assisting emigrants leaving Norway for foreign ports. Accordingly, these records are sometimes referred to as the Norwegian Police Emigration Lists (Emigrasjonsprotokoll in Norwegian). 

These records include, for each emigrant:

  • his or her name
  • gender
  • departure date or year
  •  last known residence

Other details may also appear, depending on the time period: the emigrant’s birth date and birth place, marital status, and declared destination, as well as the ship or shipping line that was to transport them from Norway. Most of the ships during this time period operated as “feeder ships” which carried passengers to larger ports in Europe or the British Isles, where the emigrants would transfer to other ships for their transoceanic voyage. 

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Starting in 1867, the police in Norway were tasked with ensuring that emigrants were being treated fairly, as unethical practices had developed among some of the companies and their agents selling tickets to carry passengers abroad. Emigrants were being placed on dangerously overcrowded vessels and some were being tricked into signing contracts to cover some or all of the cost of their ticket through unscrupulous and abusive labor requirements upon arrival at their destination. The reforms instituted by the Norwegian government between 1867 and 1869 were designed to prevent such predatory practices against emigrants departing from Norwegian ports. 

These records are not “passenger lists,” but rather registers of people declaring their intention to emigrate through purchasing tickets and showing the accompanying contracts required by Norwegian law since 1867. The process of purchasing a ticket included appearing at the police station with an approved agent and an approved contract, which were inspected by the police. Emigrants were entered into these registers as they appeared at the police station, so they are not grouped according to the ships they were to take, the exact date of departure, or the designated destination; they are simply listed by order of appearance. Usually, emigrants departed within a few days of their enrollment in these registers.

Explore the collection at MyHeritage.