Passports are not only documents that are used to travel from one country to another, but in the early days of our country, passports were permits to authorize travel through Indian and foreign-held lands. The southern states east of the Mississippi were for a long time held by the French or Spanish, and by law, only those persons issued passports were allowed to enter these territories.
These passport records have the largest body of data relating to the pioneers in the Southeastern United States. Prior to 1824, the Secretary of War was responsible for the conduct of the Government's relations with the Indian tribes and for issuing passports for travel through their land. Passports were supposed to be issued only to those giving assurance of good conduct; it was essential that troublemakers be kept out.
Applicants seeking passports were expected to furnish references of good character. Some persons arriving at the embarking point without the necessary papers were bitter toward Indian agents who tried to detain them until the proper documents were obtained. Some of the reasons passports were necessary were for trade, travel, debt collection, recovery of stolen houses or slaves, and removal of property of white intruders.
By the early 1800s so many people arrived in Louisiana from the American states that the Spanish government complained about lack of passports.
From 1824 until 1849 passport issuance was transferred to the newly created Department of the Interior. The issuance of passports (passes) dwindled quickly in the face of rapidly diminishing boundaries Passports became just a footnote in history, but can still provide valuable information about the movements of individuals in time.
Southeastern Colorado Genealogical Society, Inc.
P.O. Box 1407
Pueblo, CO 81002
Our monthly meetings are held on the first Saturday of the month with a Genealogical Studies class at 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm and our Program from 2:00 pm - 3:00 PM
You do not have to be a member to attend - Everyone is welcome.
Call 719-250-5782 for more information or to schedule a ride.