Waiting for or considering a FOIA request? Please consider

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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AnotherCitizenToBe
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Waiting for or considering a FOIA request? Please consider

Postby AnotherCitizenToBe » 19 Jan 2008, 12:11

I have posted this on another board and found that I am not the only one to have suffered this indignity, so I post it here as well under the "fair warning" guideline.

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There is humor in here somewhere, in the "tragicomedy" style...

When I first began this mission, I asked my mother and a few cousins if they knew whether my paternal grandfather had naturalized. All were "reasonably certain" that he had not. However when I obtained his death certificate it indicated that he was indeed a US citizen.

Having already read the horror stories concerning USCIS Freedom of Information Act requests, I sought out and quickly found that I could obtain certified copies of his naturalization petition, declaration, and oath, from the Westchester County Archives. I received nice, clear, copies just a week or so after requesting them.

Okay, so having some time on my hands, I decided to go ahead and file an FOIA request anyway. I mean, who can say with certainty that the consulate was going to accept the copies I had already attained? I sent off the FOIA request on April 16, 2007, giving complete details and even included photocopies of the documents already in my possession, hoping to make the search go that much more quickly. Just to give you an idea of how ridiculous this process has become, I called to request a status update in early September and was told that my request was "number 57,934 on a list of 82,015 pending cases".

So, guess what arrived in today's mail? Yep. But, here's the kicker: the documents are completely *unreadable*! The copies are incredibly bad; the cover letter even acknolwedges this by saying "The enclosed record consists of the best reproducible copies available. Old documents/records such as these are maintained on microfilm and the quality of the image is dependent on the condition of the original document when it was filmed."

What I received:

Certificate of Citizenship: The only document I didn't already have; this one could have held a special place in my family records however the only part of it that is readable at all is the typewritten data (name, dob, etc) - and even that mostly because I already know what it says. The text of the printed certificate is totally illegible.

Petition for Citizenship: The typewriting is a little more clear on this document, but the form itself is even worse than the certificate, as if that were possible!

Decalaration of Intention: And yet even worse - even the typewriting is barely legible on this one.

I am so glad that I obtained much better, 100% legible, copies from the county archives as I cannot imagine that the consulate would have accepted these as proof of so important a fact as my grandfather's date of naturalization. Not a single one of the documents from USCIS contains a decipherable date.

To anyone reading this who is waiting on an FOIA request, I urge you to cover your bases by seeking out an additional source for these records. I would be really upset tonight if I had been counting on these documents as the final piece of a puzzle only to find that they are totally useless.

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nastygunz
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Re: Waiting for or considering a FOIA request? Please consi

Postby nastygunz » 26 Jan 2008, 18:47

I can definitely agree with you on this I did the same thing, already got all the info I needed, and waited almost 2 years for the FOIA request, was told there was nothing for my grandfather when in fact I already had his information, and got about 3 pages of illegible junk for my grandmother after a 2 year wait, and rude people when you call and check, an example of a bloated, useless, bureaucratic red tape bound goverment entity. I am glad I went ahead and discovered alternative sources instead of waiting for 2 years.

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Re: Waiting for or considering a FOIA request? Please consi

Postby peggymckee » 26 Jan 2008, 22:48

nastygunz wrote:I am glad I went ahead and discovered alternative sources instead of waiting for 2 years.
What are the alternative sources? All the best, Peg
Surnames: Bertellotti - Ridolfi - Marchi

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runningoat5
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Re: Waiting for or considering a FOIA request? Please consi

Postby runningoat5 » 27 Jan 2008, 07:11

I'm having a quite a bit of trouble figuring out how I can go about getting the documents in the manner described above. I have a copy of my GG-Grandfather's Declaration of Intention (can't re-find the online directory that got me to it though) from when he was in St. Louis, Missouri and the document says it is from the District Court of the Eastern District of Missouri.

Any help, even a start, would be awesome. Thanks!
Bryan C. -- Rocket Scientist in Training

Known Family Names: Costanza / Costanzo, Mantia, Luchessi, Maggesi, Cardamone, Ratchford, Petterson, Luddy, Bensinger, Custer, Fritsch / Fritz, Edelman

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Re: Waiting for or considering a FOIA request? Please consi

Postby wldspirit » 27 Jan 2008, 15:00

Could it be this link to the state archives of Missouri??

http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/naturalization/

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PeterTimber
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Re: Waiting for or considering a FOIA request? Please consi

Postby PeterTimber » 27 Jan 2008, 15:47

Dear Wildspirit long time no see..how have you been? Came across this conversation and what I noticed about all these people waiting for documents that never seem to come...doesn't anybody get on the back of their congressman to get things moving??? Constituents are his business agter all. Looking fiorward to hearing from you. =Peter=

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runningoat5
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Re: Waiting for or considering a FOIA request? Please consi

Postby runningoat5 » 27 Jan 2008, 19:47

That looks good but it doesn't return any hits for my ggf's last name. Hmm...
Bryan C. -- Rocket Scientist in Training



Known Family Names: Costanza / Costanzo, Mantia, Luchessi, Maggesi, Cardamone, Ratchford, Petterson, Luddy, Bensinger, Custer, Fritsch / Fritz, Edelman

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runningoat5
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Re: Waiting for or considering a FOIA request? Please consi

Postby runningoat5 » 28 Jan 2008, 00:02

I also looked for a San Francisco or Sacramento version of the site suggested above but it looked to me like all of that information is offline. Is that correct or am I missing something once again :-(

Is is possible to have the Cert. of Nat. in a different location that the Cert. of Intent?

Thanks!!!!!!!!!!
Bryan C. -- Rocket Scientist in Training



Known Family Names: Costanza / Costanzo, Mantia, Luchessi, Maggesi, Cardamone, Ratchford, Petterson, Luddy, Bensinger, Custer, Fritsch / Fritz, Edelman

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vj
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Re: Waiting for or considering a FOIA request? Please consi

Postby vj » 28 Jan 2008, 00:29


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Gildone
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Re: Waiting for or considering a FOIA request? Please consi

Postby Gildone » 28 Jan 2008, 21:54

peggymckee wrote:What are the alternative sources? All the best, Peg


Local county court records. It was not uncommon to file citizenship paperwork in the local county court, at least it was prior to 1930.

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runningoat5
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Re: Waiting for or considering a FOIA request? Please consi

Postby runningoat5 » 29 Jan 2008, 05:46

I will pursue those county records but do you know if it is possible to have filed the naturalization papers in a different side of the country than the Certificate of Intent?

Thank You,
Bryan C. -- Rocket Scientist in Training



Known Family Names: Costanza / Costanzo, Mantia, Luchessi, Maggesi, Cardamone, Ratchford, Petterson, Luddy, Bensinger, Custer, Fritsch / Fritz, Edelman

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Re: Waiting for or considering a FOIA request? Please consi

Postby wldspirit » 31 Jan 2008, 16:02

Hi Peter.... :D Been really busy lately, haven't had time to research...
it's great to have you back!!!!

As for the FOIA...since the invention of homeland security we are starting to see an overly long wait time with request....prior to this the average wait time was four to eight weeks......we should start bombarding our local congressman with letters....

There was also talk about putting further limits on access to public records,
which would hinder genealogy research.....never heard what happened to that effort...... :?
Lee
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