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  My ancestor was a passport holder

British passports, in the modern sense, were introduced in 1915. Before this there were few practical restrictions on individuals who wished to travel abroad (provided they could afford to do so). Documents similar to passports were issued by the Scottish crown (prior to the union of crowns in 1603) and by burghs, senior churchmen and noblemen. These were letters of introduction or safe conduct for individuals (mainly aristocrats or their agents) travelling in Europe, sometimes on official business. In general those emigrating permanently before 1915 did not require passports.

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The text above is a summary of an article on passports in the SCAN Knowledge Base. You can read this by clicking here.

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