During Spanish rule in Argentina, the government in Buenos Aires kept tight control over individuals migrating to locations within Argentina and elsewhere. Many Irish born were issued passports from 1817 to 1821. These are a prime resource for learning intimate details about those applying. For example, a physical description of the person is given.
These official documents are handwritten in both manuscript pages and in a fill in the blank format. They are in Spanish with the official government seal; usually three and sometimes four pages.
On the first page of the passport would be the petition, reason for leaving, the destination, and personal information. Typically, the personal information, such as physical description and the destination were transferred over to the printed form to be filled in. Exact birth places are sometimes listed. However, most only list the “fatherland” of the person, age, marital status, race, physical description, occupation and current residence. Concerning the birth place, immigrants from the United Kingdom and Ireland tended to be listed as being from England. Also be aware that there is no shortage of people from “N. America” also applied for passports.
These are fascinating records. Since Argentina historically has drawn immigrants from throughout Europe, this makes these passports even more important. Passports were granted for business purposes, travelling through Argentina to settle deeper into the inteior or sometimes for visiting another country to visit family. The reasons are stated in the petition part of the passport. Also, don’t neglect the “N. America” immigrants. This could be a valuable clue in tracing family migration patterns.