Finding a passenger manifest

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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johndb4
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Finding a passenger manifest

Postby johndb4 » 23 Dec 2014, 02:22

Hello,

I've been in the process of collecting documents for dual citizenship for the past few years and just finally found this forum. I have been searching for my great-grandfather's manifest for his arrival in the US from Italy.

The 1930 census shows his arrival year as 1908 and his family's arrival year as 1914. I was able to find the family's manifest on the SS CANOPIC from Naples on 24 Feb 1914. I have not yet found my great-grandfather's record, though, which I believe is important in attaining dual citizenship.

Maybe someone has a better method for finding these records. I had a free membership with ancestry but that has since expired. Any ideas? Here is some information I have:
    Name: Pietro Di Benedetto ("Di Benedetto" is sometimes spelled "DiBenedetto", and on the 1920 census as "Bendetter", lol)
    Birth: 25 Nov 1871 in Bisceglie, Italy
    Residence in US: Worcester, MA
    Arrival Date: Probably 1908 (as the 1930 census states), though maybe 1907 (as the 1920 census states)
I imagine Pietro also departed Naples and arrived in Boston or maybe NYC.

Thanks for any thoughts or help anyone can provide.

John

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TerraLavoro
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Re: Finding a passenger manifest

Postby TerraLavoro » 23 Dec 2014, 23:02

We will try a search for you, but the arrival information is not a requirement of the consulates.

Do you have Pietro's official birth certificate from Italy? Do you have his certificate of naturalization, or other acceptable proof of naturalization? The recognition of your Italian citizenship is much more dependent on these documents.
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Re: Finding a passenger manifest

Postby johndb4 » 24 Dec 2014, 02:02

Pietro was never naturalized in the US. As I infer from records, Pietro arrived in the US in 1908 and lived in Worcester. In 1914, his wife, Rosa, and seven children arrived from Naples. My grandfather, Mauro ("Maurice") was born in Worcester in 1916. The 1920 census shows Pietro, Rosa, and the seven oldest children as aliens. However, this census has a few spelling errors and date discrepancies. The 1930 census shows Pietro, Rosa, and the 7th oldest daughter Teresa as aliens. It shows my grandfather as born in Massachusetts. It his highly unlikely that Pietro was naturalized between the 1930 census and his 1932 death in Worcester.

I am in the process of proving that Pietro was never naturalized. I have a Certificate of Nonexistence of Record from USCIS stating that there is no record of Pietro's naturalization. I am awaiting requests made to NARA and the Worcester Court archives to check for any types of naturalization records. I highly doubt they will find any. I do have Pietro's birth and marriage certificates from Bisceglie, and I provide the birth information with my search requests (though I have not found any US documents that actually have his birth date on record).

Anyhow, it seems like every time I contact the Boston Italian Consulate, he informs me that I need some other document. Thus, I am searching for the passenger manifest. It has been pretty frustrating, especially since my older brother completed this process and attained dual citizenship in 2009 but lived on the west coast and worked through the LA Consulate. I was told by the LA consulate that I must work through my own regions consulate and that the consulate offices do not share records. Alas, I need to complete the entire process again with the Boston Consulate.

Thanks for replying to my post. Sorry to complain a little bit in this post. I am grateful for any help the community can offer.

John

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Re: Finding a passenger manifest

Postby TerraLavoro » 26 Dec 2014, 05:43

My citizenship was recognized by the LA consulate, after my father had completed his recognition via the Boston consulate.

When you say that Boston keeps asking for more documents, do you mean that Sig. Corrao is not satisfied that you have sufficient proof that your GGF indeed never naturalized? Has he asked for certified copies of census records that show Pietro's citizenship status as Alien?

In any case, you may have to remain calmly persistent with Corrao until you satisfy his requests for documentation. Your consistent expression of your will to be recognized will eventually help you achieve your result. We are here to help you with all this.
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Re: Finding a passenger manifest

Postby johndb4 » 26 Dec 2014, 18:15

That is encouraging. Was your recognition with the LA consulate aided by your father's previous recognition with the Boston consulate?

I have not yet met with the Boston consulate in person, but I have spoken with him a few times on the phone over the past few years. It seems I am restarting the conversation each time I speak with him. He asks some specifics about what I have, and I lay out my case and the documents I've tracked down. Most recently he requested I search for alien files for Pietro's wife, as further proof that Pietro was never naturalized:
He feels that this will help my case because "if Pietro was naturalized, then his wife was probably naturalized at the same time..." so if I prove that his wife was not naturalized, then that is one more piece of evidence that Pietro may not have been naturalized.

I searched for alien files for Rosa using ancestry.com with no results and chose against spending more time and money to continue down that road. Sure, it might be true that married couples were more likely to get naturalized together, but, in my opinion, proving that Rosa (Pietro's wife) was never naturalized has very little bearing on the case of whether Pietro was naturalized.

The consulate has already asked for Census records. He requested every record from 1908 until Rosa passed in 1951. I could not find a 1910 census record for Pietro. The family arrived in 1914. My grandfather was born in 1916. I found the 1920, 1930 and 1940 census. I do not believe the 1950 census is available. The 1920 census lists the whole family (with misspellings) and identifies Pietro and Rosa as aliens. The 1930 census lists the family (correctly spelled) and identifies Pietro and Rosa as aliens. PIetro passed in 1932. The 1940 census identifies Rosa as widowed but does not distinguish whether she is naturalized ("Na"), an alien ("Al"), or having first papers ("Pa"). There is just a faint scribble mark that looks like the number 4. Her age is also incorrect, suggesting that she aged 17 years from the 1930 to 1940 census.

My latest approach to this process is to develop my case as strong as possible and then present everything to the consulate over the phone at once. Here is a list of the documents that I believe prove Pietro's lack of naturalization. I am very open to suggestions of further documents I should acquire.
    Certificate of Nonexistence of Record from USCIS
    Worcester County letter of nonexistence of record
    NARA letter of nonexistence of record
    1930 Census identifying Pietro as "alien"
    1920 Census identifying Pietro as "alien" (though his last name is incorrectly spelled)
    Shipping manifest showing Pietro arrived after 1906 (when USCIS records begin)
As always, thanks for reading,
John

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Re: Finding a passenger manifest

Postby TerraLavoro » 27 Dec 2014, 17:56

Yes my recognition by LA proceeded very quickly, as my Dad had already been registered at the comune a few months before. Boston insisted that it proceed in that order.

Make sure all of the your "nonexistence documents" are appropriately certified, and try to get in to meet Corrao in person, rather than phone calls that result in another assignment for you.

On another point, what is listed as citizenship status on Pietro's death certificate?
TerraLavoro

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Re: Finding a passenger manifest

Postby johndb4 » 27 Dec 2014, 19:01

Meeting Carrao in person would be great. I am under the impression that meetings need to be scheduled in advance and that there is now a processing fee involved with citizenship applications of around $300. Any idea whether it is possible to just show up for an informal conversation with Carrao?

Pietro's death certificate does not mention anything about Citizenship status. In fact, there are many unknowns on the certificate:
    Date of Birth
    Exact age (it just estimates years)
    Social Security Number
    Name of Wife
    Place of Birth (it only specifies "Italy")
Concerning his age, the death certificate says 58 years, but his birth and death certificates indicate he was born on 25 Nov 1871 and died 18 Feb 1932, making him 60 years. From what I understand from my father, my great grandparents knew very little English. I imagine this is the cause of these discrepancies.

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Re: Finding a passenger manifest

Postby TerraLavoro » 28 Dec 2014, 08:04

Yes, appointments do need to be scheduled, and the application fee is currently $382.10 (through 12/31/2014, at which point it will be subject to change a bit, as it is adjusted quarterly to reflect the exchange rate with the euro). Since Corrao schedules appointments himself, you could ask him if he would mind if you came in for a brief review of your documents in person.

Seems like Pietro's death cert. will be no help to you with respect to his naturalization or lack thereof. Death certs. are always the least reliable in that the information they contain is always only as good as what the informant provided.

The LA consulate recognized your brother. What set of naturalization documents did your brother present? Did Corrao tell you specifically that that set of documents is insufficient for your case? Getting him to commit to a specific list of what documents will be definitive is what you need from that meeting.
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Re: Finding a passenger manifest

Postby johndb4 » 29 Dec 2014, 06:59

You make a very good point that I should attain a better idea of which documents Carrao requires for my case. A meeting in person to review documents would be a great help, and I actually have not asked him for one so far. Thanks for the suggestion.

My brother unfortunately did not keep good written records through his process, so I am not positive on the documents he finally submitted. He has told me that I have all of the naturalization documents that he can remember having. Carrao has not specifically stated that the documents I have are insufficient. He just suggested that I attain more documents (Rosa's alien file) after I mentioned over the phone which documents I had.

John

P.S. You seem well informed on this subject. Thank you so much for giving your time to share your expertise. It is very appreciated and helpful.

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Re: Finding a passenger manifest

Postby TerraLavoro » 29 Dec 2014, 18:33

Happy to help, let us know how things progress.
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