Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Naturalization Process

In 1908 and 1909 Sam and Rose Newmark, and their children, immigrated from London, England to the US and settled in St. Louis. (They had spent fifteen years in England after leaving Poland.)

The Newmark men filed Declarations of their Intention to Naturalize in 1910.  Early in my research, I found copies of their declarations in the microfilm section of the St. Louis County Library. The Declaration of Intent is sometimes referred to as "First Papers."  A petition, or "Second Papers" followed.

Philip Trauring at Blood and Frogs: Jewish Genealogy and More recently posted a primer on Naturalization records, including an index of National Archives holdings by state and year.  Since the National Archives indicates that they usually have "Second Papers" and occasionally have "First Papers" in addition, I jumped at the chance to request a copy of my great great grandfather, Samuel Newmark's records, in order to get a glance at the petition.

The turn around was very quick.  I placed the order on Monday, April 11, and I received the CD containing the scanned document this weekend.  Under 7 days.  Alas, all it contained was the Declaration of Intent.

I noted my disappointment in a comment on the Blood and Frogs site, and Philip asked me a question I should have already asked myself.  "Do you know for sure that your ancestor actually completed the Naturalization process?"

No, I wasn't sure.  I checked the 1920 and 1930 census, and lo and behold, under the Naturalization column for Samuel Newmark is the code, "AL."  Which stands for "Alien."  This actually explains a lot, as I was confused why Samuel's youngest son, Israel, filed a Declaration of Intent in 1922, when surely he was naturalized when his father went through the process.  If Samuel didn't complete the process, Israel had to go through it on his own when he turned 18.

So now I have ordered the records for my great grandfather, Barney Newmark. The 1920 and 1930 census indicate he completed the process.  I don't actually expect to learn new information.  I am curious what he put down as his date of birth, as that seems to change from record to record.  I'm also interested in whether he was still living at the same address as when he filed the Declaration of Intent.

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