Getting started on my jure sanguinis journey

Over 25 million Italians have emigrated between 1861 and 1960 with a migration boom between 1871 and 1915 when over 13,5 million emigrants left the country for European and overseas destinations.
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Getting started on my jure sanguinis journey

Postby rst_ » 14 Nov 2010, 15:31

Hi, everybody. Sorry for the wall of text that I'm about to post, but I want to be as clear as possible about my situation.

I've only recently learned about jure sanguinis, and I've been struggling to find out if I qualify or not. I have several Italian lines in my family, but I think that my two paternal lines are the only potentially viable ones. I've been researching as much as I can over the past few weeks, but I'm still unsure. Maybe you guys can help me.

Firstly, I believe that I may qualify through GGGF -> GGF -> GF -> F -> ME. Our family name is Tognarini. On the 1920 census, we're listed as "Tongoringi" [link]. Arthur would have been my great-great-grandfather, and his eldest son Joseph would have been my great-grandfather. According to the census, Arthur came to the United States in 1896, where Joseph was born in 1901. I have been worried about the 1912 rule because the census indicates that Arthur naturalized in 1905 when Joseph was only 3-4 years old, but I've heard that my local consulate (Philadelphia) doesn't enforce it.

Yesterday I discovered that the family is also on the 1930 census. We are listed as "Tognarino" [link] which is why I missed it originally. Joseph by this point had married and is listed as the head of his own household, but for some reason, on this census, he's now listed as having been born in Italy. It says that he came to the United States in 1908, along with his mother and brother, while Arthur is now listed as having come in 1897.

I'm not totally sure what to take from this, since if Joseph was born in Italy it means that he likely naturalized on his own before the birth of my grandfather (in the 1940s), which invalidates that line as far as jure sanguinis is concerned (even if the 1912 rule isn't enforced). However, I don't really understand how Arthur could have immigrated to the US in 1896-1897, with his two eldest children being born in Italy in 1901 and 1905-1906, unless he went back and forth between the US and Italy in order to sire his children (which I guess is possible). More likely I imagine that it's simply a mistake on the 1930 census.

Secondly, I believe that I may qualify through GGGF -> GGF -> GM -> F -> ME. The family name is Mussori. The only census record that I could find was from 1930 [link]. Guy would have been my great-great-grandfather, and his youngest son Joseph (listed as Jos on the census) would have been my great-grandfather. The census indicates that Guy immigrated to the United States in 1902 and was naturalized by 1930, but since it doesn't give a naturalization date I'm not sure if he had naturalized before or after 1922 (the year of my great-grandfather's birth). Of course this family line would be the preferential one to use if possible since it doesn't take a chance with the 1912 issue, but I think it's likely that my great-great-grandfather naturalized before 1922, since 20 years is a pretty long time to wait.

Basically I would love to know where I could go to verify some of this information. Whom should I contact, exactly what information should I request, and what are the approximate costs and wait times? I've read a bit around these forums and might be able to take some educated guesses on where to go, but when it comes to something so important I'd rather not take the risk of requesting the wrong information. Any other advice or information that you guys could provide would be most appreciated.

Once again, sorry for the lengthy message, but thanks a lot for any help that you may be able to provide.

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Re: Getting started on my jure sanguinis journey

Postby johnnyonthespot » 14 Nov 2010, 15:42

One brief note: the more generations you have to reach back, the more difficult it generally is to find a clean line without name and/or other insurmountable discrepancies.

Looking at your second line, first, when was your father born? If before January 1, 1948 (doesn't seem likely, but I have to mention this), then he could not inherit Italian citizenship from his mother. Prior to that date, Italian citizenship was passed only by the father.

Census records are helpful but not reliable sources of information. What you probably most need to do at this point is to try to loacte naturalization records for your Italy-born ancestors. If you give us full names and best-available birthdates, we would be happy to help with that task.

One fairly quick and inexpensive option is to try the National Archives; unfortunately for many parts of the country, NARA only holds naturalization records from the federal courts. Start here https://eservices.archives.gov/orderonl ... chives.gov and click Order Reproductions, then Immigration & Naturalization Records. There is no charge unless they find a record and only a very reasonable charge if they do ($7.50 for non-certified, $22.50 for certified copies). You will need certified copies for your application (if the archives finds anything).
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Re: Getting started on my jure sanguinis journey

Postby rst_ » 14 Nov 2010, 18:42

Thanks for your response.

johnnyonthespot wrote:One brief note: the more generations you have to reach back, the more difficult it generally is to find a clean line without name and/or other insurmountable discrepancies.


Understood, but hopefully it won't be a problem. What could constitute an insurmountable discrepancy?

johnnyonthespot wrote:Looking at your second line, first, when was your father born? If before January 1, 1948 (doesn't seem likely, but I have to mention this), then he could not inherit Italian citizenship from his mother.


I believe that I am OK on this count. My grandmother herself wasn't even born until after 1948.

johnnyonthespot wrote:If you give us full names and best-available birthdates, we would be happy to help with that task.


Given the name discrepancies on the census records, I'm not totally sure how they were originally spelled, but for the first line my ancestor was Arthur Tognarini. The first name may have originally been Arturo. The last name may have originally been Tongoringi (or one of several variations, such as Tognarine, Tognarina, Tognarino, Tongaringe, etc). I don't have any concrete dates regarding his birth, but given the census records, it was likely 1874-1875. If relevant, his wife's name was Omelta or Umilto or something similar.

For the second line, my ancestor was Guy Mussori. I don't know if there were ever any alternate spellings. He gave his birthdate as 14 April 1880 on a 1942 draft registration card [link]. If relevant, his wife's name was Mary.

I'll also give the National Archives a try. If they don't turn up anything, who else may have any potential naturalization records? The county? Do most counties make those available?

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Re: Getting started on my jure sanguinis journey

Postby johnnyonthespot » 14 Nov 2010, 19:05

The Italian telephone directory (landlines only) has 125 listings for Mussori ( http://www.paginebianche.it/execute.cgi ... i&dv=&l=en ), a good sign concerning the spelling. On the other side of your family, the only spelling which seems valid is Tognarini.

For all naturalizations after September 27, 1906, the most reliable sorce of records - no matter what level court may have been involved - is the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service ("USCIS"). The negative factor is USCIS is more costly and orders of magnitude slower to respond than other sources. Start here and request an "Index Search" ( http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/ ... 18190aRCRD ). If the Index Search turns up a citizenship file ("C" File), then you would follow up with a "Records Request" to obtain the actual documents.

Have you found passenger manifests yet? If they arrived after 1906, there will likely be notations on the manifests which will hint at if and when they naturalized.
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Re: Getting started on my jure sanguinis journey

Postby rst_ » 14 Nov 2010, 21:12

johnnyonthespot wrote:The Italian telephone directory (landlines only) has 125 listings for Mussori ( http://www.paginebianche.it/execute.cgi ... i&dv=&l=en ), a good sign concerning the spelling. On the other side of your family, the only spelling which seems valid is Tognarini.


Even though the search query is shown as "Mussori", all of the results seem to be "Mussari". Given that, I decided to search for passenger manifests using that name, and while there were only a couple of results for Mussori, there were nearly 80 for Mussari, which leads me to believe that Mussari was the original spelling.

I came across one in particular that I believe is my great-great-grandfather [link, #19]. His name is listed as Gaetano Mussari. I also found a WWI draft registration card under that name [link]. All of the details seem to match my great-great-grandfather accurately, including the given date of birth, so I would be surprised if this isn't him. I notice that he checked that he was naturalized on the draft card, which is disheartening since that was four years before the birth of my great-grandfather. Are these cards as potentially inaccurate as the census data?

I also searched for my other line and found an Arturo Tognarini in an 1897 passenger manifest for Le Bretagne [link, #183]. I found an Umelta Tognarini, who lists Arturo as her husband (I think—it's a little hard to read), in a 1908 manifest [link 1, link 2, #4]. Under her name is her child, Guiseppe Tognarini. His age isn't easy to read, but it looks like 6 1/2 years, which would match up with my great-grandfather Joseph perfectly. It also lists their nationality as Italian, meaning that the 1930 census looks accurate, at least in that regard.

If it's true that Joseph was born in Italy, and assuming that he didn't naturalize on his own until at earliest after the birth of my grandfather (if at all), would I then begin my line with him instead of Arturo as previously intended?

I think that my situation looks bleaker now, but I'm determined to find out for sure by locating any potential naturalization records. I'm a little confused by the difference between NARA searches and USCIS searches. The former is quicker and more cost-effective, it would appear, but what differences exactly do they offer in results? Is the USCIS search more likely to find something? Sorry, I'm slightly confused by this point.

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Re: Getting started on my jure sanguinis journey

Postby ForzaItaliaPgh » 15 Nov 2010, 00:15

Ciao rst,

Here's what I'd do. I'd start with my Italian born ancestor's and get their Naturalization Certs from USCIS even though it costs more than going through NARA. You'll need those docs to present your case at the consulate. Once you get the info from the USCIS you'll know if either line can provide a valid path to citizenship. If one (or both) are viable, then track down the Italian birth certs - these can be difficult to get, I was lucky as I had my GGF's birth cert when I started. Once you have the birth certs and the naturalization records, then you can collect the rest of the docs and see where your problem areas will be. We pretty much all have issues on these old docs, some important, some not so, but at least you'll know if you qualify or not.

Of course, there are other ways of cracking this nut, but that is what I'd do.

Ciao.

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Re: Getting started on my jure sanguinis journey

Postby johnnyonthespot » 15 Nov 2010, 01:33

rst_ wrote:Even though the search query is shown as "Mussori", all of the results seem to be "Mussari".


Grrrr... I get caught on that every now and again; I wish that site did not automatically display alternate spellings.

If it's true that Joseph was born in Italy, and assuming that he didn't naturalize on his own until at earliest after the birth of my grandfather (if at all), would I then begin my line with him instead of Arturo as previously intended?


No, you must still begin with Arturo. In fact, you must investigate both Arturo and Joseph. Here's why: if Arturo naturalized, any of his children who were born in Italy and still minors would have automatically naturalized along with him. As would his wife, if the naturalization was before (some date in) 1922. So, you must prove either that Arturo did not naturaize or that he did so after Joseph reached the age of majority. Secondarily, you must also prove that Joseph did not naturalize on his own or that he did so after the birth of your grandfather.

I think that my situation looks bleaker now, but I'm determined to find out for sure by locating any potential naturalization records. I'm a little confused by the difference between NARA searches and USCIS searches. The former is quicker and more cost-effective, it would appear, but what differences exactly do they offer in results? Is the USCIS search more likely to find something? Sorry, I'm slightly confused by this point.


Many successful applications started out looking bleak, so don't give up just yet. :)

USCIS is the official repository for all US naturalization records dated aafter September 27, 1906. Additionally, USCIS is the only place where you can obtain a copy of the actual naturalization certificate. The downsides to USCIS are a) takes longer and charges more, b) records from USCIS will be redacted - information such as birthdates of all persons named on the document other than the new citizen (spouse and children) will be blacked out.

NARA is much faster (response in a few weeks usually; a few hours if you visit a NARA office) and much less expensive. Also, NARA does not redact. The downside for NARA is that in most parts of the US, NARA holds records only for naturalizations which took place in federal courts. During the time frame most of us are interested in (1900 - 1940), a significant percentage of naturalizations were in state, county, and even local courts. These latter records can often be obtained from state or county archives, but first you need a good idea of the applicable state or county to contact.
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Re: Getting started on my jure sanguinis journey

Postby johnnyonthespot » 15 Nov 2010, 13:04

johnnyonthespot wrote:Here's why: if Arturo naturalized, any of his children who were born in Italy and still minors would have automatically naturalized along with him.


For the record, I am going to add here that if Arturo naturalized prior to July 1, 1912, then all minor children lost their Italian citizenship rights along with him, regardless of whether they were born in Italy or in the US. This is the interpretation of Italian citizenship law LEGGE 13 GIUGNO 1912, N.555 favored by several US-based consulates (including NYC, San Francisco and Chicago for certain) and, I have read, by most Italian consulates throughout the world.
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Re: Getting started on my jure sanguinis journey

Postby rst_ » 15 Nov 2010, 20:36

Thanks once again for your responses.

johnnyonthespot wrote:
johnnyonthespot wrote:Here's why: if Arturo naturalized, any of his children who were born in Italy and still minors would have automatically naturalized along with him.


For the record, I am going to add here that if Arturo naturalized prior to July 1, 1912, then all minor children lost their Italian citizenship rights along with him, regardless of whether they were born in Italy or in the US. This is the interpretation of Italian citizenship law LEGGE 13 GIUGNO 1912, N.555 favored by several US-based consulates (including NYC, San Francisco and Chicago for certain) and, I have read, by most Italian consulates throughout the world.


I understood the 1912 rule fairly well, but are you saying that if Joseph was indeed born in Italy (which now seems likely), even if Arturo naturalized after 1912, Joseph would still have been naturalized with him (assuming, of course, that Joseph was still a minor)? If so, that's new to me, and it will definitely make things more challenging.

On a note related to NARA and USCIS records, since I'm not totally sure which names my ancestors may have used to naturalize, do I submit multiple requests per person with each spelling variation, or should I submit one request per person and merely note the potential spelling variances in the comments section?

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Re: Getting started on my jure sanguinis journey

Postby johnnyonthespot » 15 Nov 2010, 20:46

rst_ wrote:I understood the 1912 rule fairly well, but are you saying that if Joseph was indeed born in Italy (which now seems likely), even if Arturo naturalized after 1912, Joseph would still have been naturalized with him (assuming, of course, that Joseph was still a minor)? If so, that's new to me, and it will definitely make things more challenging.


That is correct. I believe it is true even today that minor children are naturalized along with their father.

On a note related to NARA and USCIS records, since I'm not totally sure which names my ancestors may have used to naturalize, do I submit multiple requests per person with each spelling variation, or should I submit one request per person and merely note the potential spelling variances in the comments section?


The USCIS "order form" has a section in which you can enter multiple "also known as" names. The NARA form is a bit more challenging, but there is a "notes" section in which you can mention alternate spellings, etc. Also, regarding NARA, there are some fields which demand an entry be made, even though you are unlikely to have the information available; just fill the field with x's or 9's and it will be happy. :)
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