Posted on August 12, 2002 at 08:29:27 PM by Staffan Storteir
As can be read in one of June Pelo's articles about emigration from Finland:
"Before emigrating, it was necessary for the emigrant to get a passport. They needed a church-issued birth certificate and a certificate of non-objection from the police authority. After 1903 men of conscription age had to submit proof of military service. When they had the required documents they went to the port of departure."
During the Russian period - from 1809 when Sweden lost the Finnish War 1808-1809 until 1917 when Finland become an independent nation - when Finland was the "Grand Duchy of Finland" the Russian military or war service was however, to put it mildly, not very popular at least not in Ostrobothnia and many emigrated (illegally) in order to avoid the military service or later on the Russian war service in the WW1. The usual way was to sail with fishermen's boats from the west coast of Finland to Sweden from which the journey continued to a Norwegian port where they went aboard a transoceanic steamer. This traffic got so large dimensions that there were even secret routes that got their own names, the most wellknown was perhaps the Ripela Line, which got its name from the skipper Karl Haglund from Närpes also known as Ripela-Kalle. His emigrant line traffic came to a tragic end in November 1916, when the boat with Haglund and 9 young men were lost in a storm.
It leads to the question: Does it mean that emigrants could go on board the ships in Norway and pass the Ellis Island inspection procedure without ever being required to show a passport which they did not have?
Eight of the young men lost in 1916 came from Ívermark. Already in 1937 there was a small monument raised at Märigrund in Norrnäs, Närpes in memory of these men.
Posted on August 15, 2002 at 12:35:16 PM by Staffan Storteir
At http://sydaby.eget.net/mig/emig/pass1916.htm there is an example of emigrants from Skaftung in Southern Ostrobothnia who traveled the Ripela line. They had no proper passports but were equipped with so called bicycle passports - certificates for owners of bicycles!
It would be interesting to look at a bicycle passport. Is there anyone at this board who has seen one? It is possible to link to an image
from a message at this board, so if anybody has a picture of a bicycle passport from the 1900-20's, please post it to the board!
Emigrant journey with bicycle passports