Norway: Arrivals/Departures (Innflyttede/Uttflyttdede)
The modern system of checking in at the local office of the Folkeregister was first made mandatory in 1946. Cities and some of the larger communities began registering the inhabitants as early as 1905.
In the time period of 1661-1814, it was the wish of the administration to control social and geographical mobility. Each person who wanted to go to another locality for work or some other reason was required to obtain a pass. Various types of passes could be obtained from different authorities. In 1805 it was the policemen in the cities and the sheriffs in the country who solely could issue a pass. The entire process of using passes was done away with in 1860.
Long before there were Folkeregister offices, there was a country-wide network of priests who kept tabs on the movements all the residents. There was no place in the church records to record these movements until 1814, but the priest was the state official who had this responsibility.
The servant class was the most likely to be seeking work wherever they could find it. The law in 1687 stated that when a stranger came into the parish, the local farmers were to report this to the priest. The priest was to note their name, birthplace, where they resided in the parish, and who they worked for. Later laws required that the person, himself, must report to the priest when moving from parish to parish.
When a servant had finished his work and was to move from the parish a certificate was needed from the priest. He was to present this certificate to the priest in the parish he next resided. If a person who had completed his work for a local farmer was apprehended outside of the parish without a certificate, he would be seized and punished.
The priest was to certify that they were free from military service or their work contract and if they were free to be married. In addition the priest would sometimes note the last time they had the sacrament.
Each person was expected to go to alters at least once each year. This was the occasion when a priest could check to see if they had the proper papers. Some of the Communicant records will state the last date a person was a communicant.
When confirmation became mandatory in 1736 it was the duty of the priest to issue papers without cost either right after confirmation or on demand. Before going to alters, all strangers and servant class people had to personally show their papers to the sexton.
1. ”Prestearkivenes kilder om flyttinger, by Oddleif Lian, arkivar, Statsarkivet i Kristiansand. http://digitalarkivet.uib.no/sab/flytting.htm