Naturalization question

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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kat2412
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Naturalization question

Postby kat2412 » 11 Jan 2011, 10:55

Hello everyone! :D

I am trying to trace my Italian heritage back to my great grandfather to apply for dual citizenship but am confused about naturalization laws regarding dual citizenship..here is how I am tracing the lineage..

great great grandfather - Antonio Tomasino born in Italy, immigrated around 1888
great grandfather - Giuseppe Tomasino born in Italy immigrated in 1899 at age 12
grandfather - Anthony Tomasino born in US
father - Michael Tomasino born in US
me - born in US

Antonio went to the US before Giuseppe, his son. I have found a census record from 1910 stating that Antonio was naturalized in 1888 and in a census from 1920 says Giuseppe was naturalized in 1917 and then a census from 1930 shows Giuseppe put the date of his naturalization as 1901, if I'm reading it correctly. Does their naturalization make me ineligible for dual citizenship? I do not understand the law/rules pertaining to naturalization and what exactly I need to prove and how? Any help I would appreciate.

Thank you!!

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kat2412
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Re: Naturalization question

Postby kat2412 » 11 Jan 2011, 11:15

I am wrong, about the 1930 census showing a 1901 date for naturalization. But the 1920 and 1930 census indicate Giuseppe was naturalized.

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Re: Naturalization question

Postby johnnyonthespot » 11 Jan 2011, 11:38

There is a lot going on here ...

Let's start with Giuseppe, who arrived in the US at age 12. On a very good day, you could try to present documents showing that he never naturalized or that he did so after the birth of Anthony. If you could pull that off, you would be good to go.

Adding Antonio into the mix, problems arise. If Antonio became a US citizen at any time prior to Giuseppe's 21st birthday, then Giuseppe lost his Italian citizenship at the same time through derivitive naturalization. If Giuseppe was not in the US at the time his father naturalized, then he would have become a US citizen the moment he stepped foot on US soil (assuming that he was still under the age of 21).

The fact that all of this occurred prior to July 1, 1912, adds an additional burden with many consulates.

On the face of it, it does seem that you are out of luck. It is possible that the records you found do not accurately portray the naturalization status of Giuseppe or Antonio; people did lie about these things for various reasons. I would tell you to continue your research until you find absolute proof of date of naturalization; be forewarned though, for naturalizations before September, 1906, finding documentary evidence can be extremely difficult.
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Re: Naturalization question

Postby johnnyonthespot » 11 Jan 2011, 11:43

In case it is not clear: your goal is to prove that Giuseppe still had Italian citizenship at the time of Anthony's birth. What happened after Anthony's birth (regarding Giuseppe's naturalization) does not matter, except to say that if Giuseppe naturalized after 1910'ish, the records should be relatively easy to find.
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Re: Naturalization question

Postby kat2412 » 11 Jan 2011, 18:21

Ok, I have a maybe dumb question. Were not all immigrants required to naturalize when they came over? I thought naturalization happened once immigrants arrived and I thought they didn't have a choice. So then does that mean once someone naturalized, they renounced Italian citizenship? I thought those were 2 separate things.

I have all 4 of my great grandparents on my father's side being from Italy, but then I would need to trace the lineage through grandmother's father to find a different male in the line if I could not gain citizenship through Giuseppe Tomasino, otherwise, as I understand it, I would need to try and trace the lineage through either one of my great grandmothers, which is not desirable? correct? Is it a problem that I am going through a woman (grandma) when trying to trace her lineage even if it is back to her father, do they prefer no women in the lineage at all? does this make sense? If this is so, I could go through my grandmother's brother perhaps? Thank you for clearing up this confusing issue for me.

kat2412

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Re: Naturalization question

Postby johnnyonthespot » 11 Jan 2011, 21:39

kat2412 wrote:Ok, I have a maybe dumb question. Were not all immigrants required to naturalize when they came over? I thought naturalization happened once immigrants arrived and I thought they didn't have a choice.


Absolutely not. Many never became US citizens; also in may cases the male did naturalize but his wife did not. This was often done because the men found it easier to get decent jobs if they could show that they were US citizens or at least in the process of becoming citizens.


So then does that mean once someone naturalized, they renounced Italian citizenship? I thought those were 2 separate things.


For our purposes, they are one and the same. Even today, when a person becomes a US citizen, he is required to renounce under oath allegiance to any other country/leader. It is less meaningful today, since other countries (including Italy) now ignore this type of renunciation, but that is another matter altogether.

I have all 4 of my great grandparents on my father's side being from Italy, but then I would need to trace the lineage through grandmother's father to find a different male in the line if I could not gain citizenship through Giuseppe Tomasino, otherwise, as I understand it, I would need to try and trace the lineage through either one of my great grandmothers, which is not desirable? correct? Is it a problem that I am going through a woman (grandma) when trying to trace her lineage even if it is back to her father, do they prefer no women in the lineage at all? does this make sense? If this is so, I could go through my grandmother's brother perhaps? Thank you for clearing up this confusing issue for me.

kat2412


You must find a direct line from yourself to an Italian ancestor. You cannot go sideways, through an uncle, for example.

If there is a woman in the line, her child must have been born on or after January 1, 1948 because prior to that date Italian citizenship was passed only through the father.

If you were born on or after January 1, 1948, then you can use a lineage which includes your mother; if you were born before that date, you can only go through your father's line.

Similarly, if your father or mother was born prior to the above date, then you must eliminate his/her mother from the potential lines.

If this doesn't make complete sense, come back with the birth years of yourself, your parents, and your grandparent and we can talk further about your options.
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Re: Naturalization question

Postby kat2412 » 11 Jan 2011, 22:53

me- 1984
father- 1949
grandfather- 1921
grandfather's father- 1886
grandfather's mother-1892
grandmother- 1925
grandmother's father- 1890
grandmother's mother - 1895

These naturalization documents, I would need to look for them in NARA or USCIS? What is the best way to search for these naturalization documents? Would I want to make separate requests for: Joe Tomasino, Guiseppe Tomasino, Joe Tomaino, Guiseppe Tommasino? If all these names are the same person but spelled these many ways on different documents I've seen. I do have his birth date, birthplace, immigration year, military draft card, will having that info narrow the search so I only need to search once? If I make the request, and they can not find the naturalization records..am I done? Would I need to keep looking?

Thank you for the help Carmine! Even if it is bad news.. :(

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Re: Naturalization question

Postby jennabet » 12 Jan 2011, 01:47

........If Giuseppe was not in the US at the time his father naturalized, then he would have become a US citizen the moment he stepped foot on US soil (assuming that he was still under the age of 21)........

Carmine, if Giuseppe's father naturalized after 1912, in 1913, for example, and Giuseppe was still a minor when he stepped off the boat from Italy onto US soil, he would not have been automatically naturalized via derivative citizenship because he did not meet the requirement of living with his father when the naturalization took place. Giuseppe would only have been naturalized if he actually moved in with his father and stayed until age 21.


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