Norway
The Crossing
USA
Statistics
and year reviews

Norwegian
Censuses

Norway and conditions in Norway prior and during the emigration period

For centuries the population of Norway remained stable. From 1815 the population started growing at a much higher rate, thus with 880 000 inhabitants in 1801, there were now over 1,7 millions by 1865. A growing population means that things will have to be changed, and the solutions in Norway were either emigration, industrialization or changing the way of farming.

Cleng Peerson was "the father of Norwegian emigration". He sailed to America in 1821, and he went back to Norway to take part in the organising of the emigration party of 1825. Later he served as a guide and helper of several Norwegians immigrating to America. Cleng Peerson

Among the first Norwegian emigrants, religion played a vital part in their wish to leave Norway, as the freedom of religion in many ways was limited in Norway. Some of the early emigrants were adventurers or entrepreneurs looking for the possibilities to make more money, and faster. But quite a few of the emigrants were poor, some of them given the money for the ticket by the poor relief. Some of the emigrants were criminals, and that meant the authorities of Norway/Sweden and USA had to set up agreements of how to handle questions concerning criminal emigrants. The convention for the mutual delivery of criminals

We will show you some of the laws, the passports the passport registers and other records concerning the emigration.

In some cases certain people were not allowed to emigrate, and the Police department had registers telling the names of such persons, most of them young men, having fathered children and had not paid the money needed for the up-bringing of these children, or criminals.


Until 1860, everyone traveling from one part of Norway to another had to bring a passport from the Sheriff, or a certificate from the parish minister.

The passports were registered by the Police Department:

In 1860, there was an abolishment of the compulsory use of passports

The newspapers allows us to follow many aspects of the changes in society. Here you may find advertisements and collections of paper clippings. If we move forward in time we can show you the changes in leprocy in Norway leprocy.