My GGF's naturalization (or lack thereof)

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My GGF's naturalization (or lack thereof)

Postby amt2012 » 19 Apr 2012, 20:36

Ok here is the story:

My great-grandfather (maternal grandfather's father) immigrated to the USA in 1912. My maternal grandfather was born in 1935. My mother was born in 1954. I qualify in terms of geneology; however, I am not certain about the status of my great-grandfather's naturalization. The USCIS provided no record of naturalization. My great-grandfather is not on the 1920 census, he is on the 1930 census and he is listed 'Na' or naturalized. I have searched some sections of the 1940 census (the first census after the birth of my grandfather), and I have yet to find his name.

Are there any consulates that accept merely the "Statement of No Records" from the USCIS?

Obviously the 1930 census results are a huge obstacle to my application. My great-grandfather did not receive a Social Security Number until 1962, which makes me wonder if he ever naturalized. He was self-employed so there would have been no motivation as both his wife and children were born in the USA.
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Re: My GGF's naturalization (or lack thereof)

Postby JJ313 » 21 Apr 2012, 18:40

My first question is at what age was your GGF when he immigrated to the US? If he was a minor it is possible that he received US citizenship through his father. If this is the case you will have to search for your GGGF.

A search of only USCIS is not sufficient. All consulates will require at a minimum a search of USCIS, NARA and the local county courts where your ancestor lived.

Census records are often inaccurate when it comes to citizenship, however they are required by some consulates. I know that Detroit does not require census records. Which consulate jurisdiction are you in?

The requirements for obtaining a SS# were much different in the early '60s. Pretty much all that was required was an application. So having or not having a SS# will not prove or disprove citizenship.
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Re: My GGF's naturalization (or lack thereof)

Postby amt2012 » 22 Apr 2012, 00:43

My GGF came to the U.S. at age 17, in September 1912, and he came by himself. He had some contacts in the States because he went up to Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania (the coal region) and worked in the mines for several years before working his way back to Philadelphia, where he spent the rest of his life. Any suggestions on where to look for naturalization records in Philadelphia for the years 1912-1930? In your opinion is it probable that he would have naturalized by 1930?

I guess no chance they will push up the earliest year when a female relative can pass on citizenship? My GGM absolutely received citizenship from her father, but my grandfather was born in 1935, well before 1948 cut-off.
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Re: My GGF's naturalization (or lack thereof)

Postby amt2012 » 22 Apr 2012, 00:45

Oh and I live in NYC
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Re: My GGF's naturalization (or lack thereof)

Postby JJ313 » 22 Apr 2012, 03:23

In all likelihood your GGF was an emancipated minor but to be on the safe side I would search for your GGGF naturalization. If you are positive that your GGGF never immigrated then don't bother searching for him. You should search NARA in Philadelphia and the court of common pleas for the first judicial district.

It is difficult to say whether or not your GGF naturalized. The census records required no proof of naturalization only a response to the question. Your GGF could have naturalized but the only way to know for sure is to search the records. The NY consulate does require census records in cases where there is no naturalization.

The 1948 rule is not likely to be changed however there have been a few court challenges to the rule.
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Re: My GGF's naturalization (or lack thereof)

Postby jennabet » 22 Apr 2012, 11:50

......Any suggestions on where to look for naturalization records in Philadelphia for the years 1912-1930? In your opinion is it probable that he would have naturalized by 1930?......

My opinion is that yes, your GGF would have been naturalized by 1930. My grand-father came to Philadelphia by himself at age 16 in 1910. By 1915, he was age 21 and no longer a minor and had moved permanently to Delaware at which point he had five years (while maintaining the same residence) to file a declaration of intention.

He filed his Declaration of Intention in 1917, his Petition for Citizenship in 1919 and he took his Oath of Allegiance in 1923, as immigrants had ten years from date of declaration of intention to complete the entire process. My grand-father completed the process within six years.

I found my grand-father's naturalization records at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives and I suggest you start there if your GGF lived in Philadelphia. I never had to go the USCIS route to find my grand-faher's records.
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Re: My GGF's naturalization (or lack thereof)

Postby jennabet » 22 Apr 2012, 12:57

.....My GGF came to the U.S. at age 17, in September 1912, and he came by himself. He had some contacts in the States because he went up to Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania (the coal region) and worked in the mines for several years before working his way back to Philadelphia, where he spent the rest of his life. Any suggestions on where to look for naturalization records in Philadelphia for the years 1912-1930? In your opinion is it probable that he would have naturalized by 1930?.....

Are you able to estimate how long your GGF lived and worked in Pennsylvania Coal Country? If he was naturalized in that part of Pennsylvania, his records would not be with the Mid-Atlantic Region and you should look in the local courts in that part of Pennsylvania.

However, you could have a potential problem with the local courts in Central/Western Pennsylvania. My fiancee's GGF was naturalized in Cameron County, PA and we were not able to access his records because the local court there assigned all of their immigration records to a historical society in order for a member of that society to write a book (and make a profit, of course) about the immigrants of that region. Fortunately, a relative who still lives in Cameron County had extracted a "C" number from a copy of that book which she had in her possession. We provided that "C" number to USCIS and they found the naturalization papers on microfiche. Before we provided this number, USCIS had sent us a "No Records" letter.

If your GGF was living in Coal country, he would not be on the 1920 Philadelphia census.
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Re: My GGF's naturalization (or lack thereof)

Postby amt2012 » 23 Apr 2012, 01:23

jennabet wrote:....

Are you able to estimate how long your GGF lived and worked in Pennsylvania Coal Country?

If your GGF was living in Coal country, he would not be on the 1920 Philadelphia census.


I have asked my family members and no one seems to know exactly when he left the Coal region. However it's interesting you mention that about the census, because I could not find him on the 1920 census. All I know is that he married my GGM in Philadelphia in 1923. The years from 1912-1923 are fuzzy.

I will take your advice and make a trip to the NARA office. Thanks for the advice.
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Re: My GGF's naturalization (or lack thereof)

Postby JJ313 » 23 Apr 2012, 03:59

A trip to the NARA office may not be necessary. I was able to initiate searches by email for NARA in New York. Check if Philly will do that before making the trip.

Did your GGF have a draft record for WWI? He would have been required to register and that would indicate his citizenship status. It would have been around 1917.
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Re: My GGF's naturalization (or lack thereof)

Postby jennabet » 23 Apr 2012, 12:30

.....All I know is that he married my GGM in Philadelphia in 1923. The years from 1912 to 1923 are fuzzy.....

Hi, you're welcome.

Marriage to your GGM in Philadelphia in 1923 could be a clue that he had already filed initial papers and wanted to show that he was already married when he took the Oath.

The reason I say this is that my grand-father was living in Delaware when he filed his Petition for Citizenship in 1919 and he married my grand-mother in 1920 in Philadelphia. She had just come to Philadelphia from Italy because she had been arranged to marry my grand-father who was in the process of becoming an American citizen. Apparently, the immigrants thought they had a better chance of everything going smoothly with the naturalization process if they could show they were already married when they took the Oath of Allegiance. Fortunately for me, my father was born to the marriage in 1922, just eighteen months before my grand-father took the Oath.
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Re: My GGF's naturalization (or lack thereof)

Postby jennabet » 23 Apr 2012, 12:35

.....Did your GGF have a draft record for WWI? He would have been required to register and that would indicate his citizenship status. It would have been around 1917....

Just like the census, draft records are not always accurate. My fiancee's grand-father was a dual citizen by derivation and the 1917 census lists him as an Alien. Consulates don't rely much on draft information for this reason.
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