Massachusetts Archives


Office of the Secretary of State: Application certificates for passports

Part of: Massachusetts Office of the Secretary of State

Application certificates for passports, 1815-1854.

2 document boxes; 9 file folders (partial document box)
Call no.: SC1/126X

Scope and Content: The Massachusetts state secretary provided certificates of citizenship and passports for seamen and travelers. Although an act of Congress, Aug. 18, 1856, prohibited nonfederal officials from issuing passports, Massachusetts continued to authorize passports per St 1857, c 224, because federal law made no provision for citizens or seamen of color. When this exclusion was corrected after the Civil War, St 1869, c 365 repealed the issuing of state passports, at the request of the U.S. secretary of state and the Massachusetts attorney general. –Application certificates for passports were statements of identity signed by the applicant or sponsor, sworn before a notary or other public official, and filed with the state secretary.
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically
Notes: Files for 1833, 1835-1848 lacking
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