Treasures Tuesday - A Passport from 1855

Not many families have original passports used by their ancestors in the 1800s. The main reason is that before the First World War a British citizen didn't need a passport to travel to other countries or to be allowed to return to Britain. However, merchants travelling and diplomats usually held them. It was a way of introducing themselves to important people in other countries. It’s possible that you have found evidence that your ancestor had a passport. The irritating thing is that you probably haven't found the actual document and you would like to know what one looked like. One of our treasures here at the SoG is a passport for the Reverend John Cholmeley, issued in London on August 11, 1853. It shows us what passports were like in the mid-1800s.

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