Photographs of Released Prisoners

freed prisoner
Kriminalpolisen i Malmö FIa:7 (1882-1882) Image 154 / page 143 (AID: v97414.b154.s143, NAD: SE/MSA/00453) Link.

As a researcher, it is often easy to find many written documents about one’s ancestors. On the other hand, it is often difficult to know what they looked like or to find a portrait. If you happen to have an ancestor who was a criminal, you may be in luck. Many of the earliest Swedish photographs show prisoners.

You will find a number of volumes titled, “Portrait of released prisoners” in the archive Kriminalpolisen i Malmö. These volumes include portraits of prisoners released from prisons throughout Sweden for the period 1876-1910. You can find a name searchable register of the released prisoners on the Swedish side of our website by clicking here.

In the picture above we see the laborer, Carl Jakob Åström, who was released from Långholmen prison in 1882. While the photo is in black and white, a physical description of the prisoner is written to the left of the photo. Here we see that Carl has brown hair (här: brunt), blue eyes (ögon: blå), straight nose (näsa: rak), ordinary mouth (mun: ordinär), pale skin (hy: blek), 5.45 feet tall (höjd: 5.45 fot) and a strong body build (kroppsbyggnad: stark). On the top of the page you will find more details about Carl’s life along with information about the crime that he committed. In this case, it was his fourth time for stealing.

Read the blog entry in Swedish.

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Passports – Not Only for International Travel

Up until 1860 a passport was required in Sweden for both domestic and international travel.  For a person traveling to another place in Sweden where he or she was not known, a passport was required and it needed to be shown if someone asked to see it. These passports were recorded in passport journals (passjournaler).

We have photographed some of these passport journals for Blekinge, Gotland, Gävleborg and Västernorrland counties.  You can find these passport journals by going to ArkivDigital’s online search window, clicking on advanced options, and selecting the archive type, country cabinet (landskansli).  We have also published name indexes for the passport journals for Gävleborg and Västernorrland counties.

For Gävleborg, you will find the passport journals in the volumes named passport journals and you will find name indexes for these journals in the volumes named registers.  If you select Gävleborg läns landskansli, you will find the name indexed registers for the years 1767 – 1858 in the PassReg. Volumes 1 to 10.

gavle name imageGävleborgs läns landskansli PassReg:10 (1842-1858) Image 460 / page 83 (AID: v638342.b460.s83, NAD: SE/HLA/1030001)  Link

Above is an example from one of the Gävleborg’s name indexed registers.   In the above image, we can see that Carl Erik Frunk received a passport granting him and wife Brita Kristina Hillgren permission to travel from their home in Gävle to a neighboring city, Söderhamn.  You can see the original record in the volume f0r 1850 on page 189 or at the following reference:  Gävleborgs läns landskansli BXIIIa:10a (1842-1858) Image 1000 / page 189 (AID: v637649.b1000.s189, NAD: SE/HLA/1030001)  Link

In Västernorrland you will find passport journals and here the volumes are named passliggare instead of passport journals and the name indexes are in the register volumes.

In addition we have photographed passport journals for Blekinge and Gotland counties but these are not name indexed. For Gotland, we have photographed passport applications (passansökningar)  as well as incoming passport journals (inkomma pass).

The image below shows a passport that was received in Gotland from Kalmar county. The image shows a maid (pigan) Carin Larsdotter from Bredsättra parish on Öland who received permission to travel to Gotland to seek service work (tjänst).  In addition the passport states that her age is 19: she has blue eyes, dark hair, a straight nose, an ordinary mouth and chin and is short in stature.

kalmar pass

Länsstyrelsen i Gotlands län, Landskansliet EXa:13 (1837-1839) Image 1330 (AID: v482151.b1330, NAD: SE/ViLA/20146)  Link

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