Saturday, October 22, 2016

Oswald Freeland ~ 1851 Passport Application

As I shared in my previous post about my 4th great grandfather, David Freeland, a fifth cousin of mine shared a privately published family history that indicated that he had one child born after emigrating from Scotland with his wife and older children.

According to the book, son Oswald Freeland was born in Canada after the family arrived there in 1821.

The only document I have found that mentions him by name is an 1851 U.S. Passport application (referenced in the family history). This is the oldest passport application I have in my family database.

NARA Series: Passport Applications, 1795-1905; Roll #37: 23 may 1851-30 Sep 1851. Record for Oswald S. Freeland, 1851.

Some of this handwriting is challenging to read, but I can read the description: Oswald S. Freeland is 28 years old; 5 feet, 10 inches tall; with a hight [sic] + broad forehead. He has dark blue eyes, an ordinary nose, a "rather large" mouth, and a long chin. He has brown hair and a light complexion. The most descriptive (I think) is that after face is "long with moustache + whiskers."

He applied for the passport in New York City on June 7, 1851, stating that he was born in Canada and is a naturalized citizen. I don't know if he naturalized or if he became naturalized as a minor when his father naturalized, but I haven't found a record for either.

As of now, I have found no other record for my 3rd great uncle Oswald Freeland, which makes me wonder if he traveled to settle outside of the U.S. or if he died during his travels.


  1. So excited to see a passport from that time.period. Wow. I don't have any answers to your questions to offer. I just love the mustache detal too. Congrats on your cousin connection and your discoveries. Keep sharing them. I'm enjoying them so much

    1. Devon, thanks for your comment. I have had fun exploring this branch of my family and will try to blog more about what I've found.

  2. What a neat document! I don't have any passport applications in my family records. I guess it is something I should look into! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Passport applications in the early 20th century (sorry, don't have the exact date) include a photograph of the applicant. I hope you have luck finding some!

      Thanks for reading and commenting.