Thanks for all your suggestions -- exactly what I'd already done!
It sounds like Houston accepted a church record only. As far as I understand, NYC requires a civil birth record -- can anyone confirm this? I didn't have either at my first appointment. I did subsequently find his baptism record, which took some doing.
My GF's marriage record had no indication of where he'd been baptized (and I pestered those poor people repeatedly). I'd already exhausted the closest churches (2-3 queries, donations to 2 churches) and had moved on to all the churches within about 1/2 mile of where they lived in Little Italy.
To make a very long story shorter, I returned to the archives and went through my GF's brother and sister's marriages. By the 3rd one of those, I found a baptism record for his sister (her actual baptism record in Italian from Most Precious Blood Church on Mulberry Street), which had been photocopied along with her NYC marriage record. Of course it was from the very first church I had queried, had the woman on the phone while she was actually searching the book, etc. Over two years had passed. By this time we had good reasons to question my GF's year of birth, which made things much more complicated.
I decided that I needed to go in. Turns out the previous secretary had retired just a month earlier! The new woman couldn't have been nicer, and within about 5 minutes we had the baptism record -- exactly where it should have been in the first place. The listing was under "Crestino" rather than "Cristino." Despite having a correct birth date, the original person passed it by each time. So I will reiterate what I've said before, which is to Just Keep Looking!
The other information that I dicsovered that may be helpful to others is that NYC also has a street index to their birth records at the Municipal Archives. So if you have the address where your ancestor was born and a good idea of the year, you can search there. That helped me find the 1900 Census -- on a page I'd already found over a year before. The names were so mangled that despite having saved it on my computer, I didn't even recognize them when I first saw it.
I was very lucky that my family stayed put. And the fact that families often had a lot of children in those days really helped me in the end as well.
The Houston Consulate accepted the baptismal record along with other documents showing his birth date. I had an old copy of a birth record that had been signed and witnessed, but never filed with the state. It was obviously and old record and the dates all matched...so they took it. Unless they come back and tell me it won't work, then I think it was acceptable. I guess I won't know for sure until I get the letter from Italy.
Yes, but the baptismal record was also accepted. I think she felt like she had enough info. to prove his birth and date with all that. Think about it...they must have BC problems all the time, because at the turn of the century there were no records required in most US states.
You write about the clerk at the NYC consulate looking over your census records...did you offer the records or did they ask for them? I wasn't aware that one had to bring census documents to the meeting.
I was in the same situation where my GF was never issued a birth certificate so I had to petition the court (in another state however) to issue a Delayed Birth Certificate. I would assume each state (and NYC) follow their own rules in this matter, but in my situation, I had to complete an application form and attach as much certified documents as I could to prove my GF was born in the state. Luckily, I had a baptism certificate from the Catholic Church, but also showed his marriage certificates, his social security application and a few census documents that listed the state. A hearing was then set which I had to attend and I was fortunate that my Judge was not a radical conservative, but very understanding. However, during the court case, she did bring up about the Patriot Act (I kind of blanked out but I think she was just telling me that a part of the Act if approved by the Legislature would limit my chances of getting a delayed birth certificate.). She also pointed out that they usually only give such a document to an immediate guardian, but since my gf and ggparents were deceased, that would make me the next guardian. So the moral of the story is dont give up hope...either file for a delayed birth certificate of get a One and the Same court order where the Judge will state that a birth certificate was never issued for your ancestor, but the facts are that he was born at such and such a place.
She did ask me for the Census records (this was in February) and she put 3 of them on my list of what I had to get. I had the 1905 New York State certified by the Court, which showed everyone correctly, although my GF's age is wrong. She wanted me to get it federally certified, which can't be done as it's a state record (not held by NARA). I'm going through the drill and getting an Apostille and hope that will suffice.
I had the 1910 with me, but she also requested the 1900. That one is virtually unrecognizable as to be useless so I don't know what they will think. I brought them to support my GGF's alien status and he (Donato Cristino a/k/a Zenotte Festura on the 1900) is listed as an alien on them all.
I asked what would happen if I couldn't find the 1900 and she just said to bring a "no records" letter. I don't know who that would be from, though, as I don't think NARA does searches.
I think I have to go to Court for the birth record. Since I have the baptism record now I believe it should work out.
.....A hearing was then set which I had to attend and I was fortunate that my Judge was not a radical conservative, but very understanding. However, during the court case, she did bring up about the Patriot Act (I kind of blanked out but I think she was just telling me that a part of the Act if approved by the Legislature would limit my chances of getting a delayed birth certificate.....
I think it's unfortunate that the state with the most Italian-Americans (New York) is making it so difficult for them to achieve what is their birth-right, Italian citizenship. But then again, if you have a judge who mentions the Patriot Act when all you're trying to get is an accurate document, it's no surprise.
And the overuse of a requirement for Census information, is in my opinion, a non-starter. Fortunately for my significant other who worked with Alessio Cei last year at the San Francisco Consulate, he would have only been required to produce Census info if he came up empty on his grand-father's naturalization certificate.
Regarding my own case for Italian citizenship which was processed in 2001, I produced my grand-father's naturalization documents. Had I been required to go back to my GGF, however, there would have been a problem. He never naturalized and I learned recently through the very helpful geneologists in this forum that he went back and forth to Italy several times so I could not have produced a census for him anyway because he was always out of the country during the time the census was taken. So they MISSED him, proving, in my opinion, Census info is not reliable and the New York Consulate is just making things extra difficult most likely at the directive of New York politicians.
Jenna, I agree 100% with everything you say, but the bottom line for me is that I still have not found the correst or standard procedure to register a Delayed Birth Record in NYC! It's definitely NOT through vital records (for a deceased person). The lady at the Consulate says that people regularly do it, and it has always seemed to me a rather simple matter once you have the back-up documents. Yet after asking 2 attorneys I'm still not sure how to proceed.
I don't think it can be done and she probably mis-spoke, not realizing that you had to have it created yourself. Since it's a state document, I would just get an apostile and submit it like that. By the way, my sig other's father had a birth certificate created for himself in Oklahoma in 1941 so he could join the army and it was registered -- but that was because the owner of the document was living.