Monday, May 17, 2021

Amanuensis Monday: Passport Application of Mala Blatt - May 1898

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Today I share the passport application for Mala (Mollie) Kellner Katz Blatt the second wife of my second great grandfather, Morris Blatt. She claimed citizenship based on his naturalization. 


MAY 18, 1898
STATE OF Missouri
CITY OF St. Louis

I, Mala Blatt, a NATURALIZED AND LOYAL CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES, hereby apply to the Department of State, at Washington, for a passport for myself.

I solemnly swear that I was born at [Wisniewitz?]. Russia on or about the 10 day of March 1864; that my husband emigrated to the United States, sailing on board the Steamer [Marsala?] from Hamburg on or about the 12th day of June 1888; that he resided 10 years, uninterrupted, in the United States, from 1888 to 1898, at St. Louis, Mo; that he was naturalized as a citizen of the United States before the St. Louis Court of Criminal Correction at St. Louis on the 14th day of May 1898, as shown by the accompanying Certificate of Naturalization; that I am the wife of the person described in said Certificate; that I have resided in the United States, uninterrupted, for 11 years, from 1887 to 1898, at St. Louis, Mo; that I am domiciled in the United States, my permanent residence being at St. Louis in the State of Missouri, where I follow the occupation of none; that I am about to go abroad temporarily; and that I intend to return to the United States within one year with the purpose of residing and performing the duties of citizenship therein.

Oath of Allegiance

Further, I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I take the obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; SO HELP ME GOD

Sworn to before me this 14th day of May 1898
[Signature - Mala Blatt]
[Illegible Signature of Notary Public]

Age: 34 Years
Stature: 5 feet, 6 inches, Eng.
Forehead: low
Eyes: Brown
Nose: Small
Mouth: Small
Chin: Oval
Hair: Dark Blonde
Complexion: Fair
Face: Oval


I hereby certify that I know the above named Mala Blatt personal, and know her to be the wife of the person referred to in the within-described Certificate of Naturalization, and that the facts stated in her affidavit are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.

A. Jacob, 526 Pine St., St. Louis, Mo


1) I do not know why she intended to leave the country, and for how long besides it being less than a year. She gave birth to a son 6 months later. It might be possible she wasn’t aware yet that she was pregnant and postponed/canceled the trip. 

2) This record does indicate my second great grandfather was naturalized, and provides the details necessary to obtain a copy of his records. Since it predates the 1906 statutes standardizing the process, it is unlikely the record contains much more than a signature, date, and origin country. But I have located it in a Missouri Archives database, and will request a copy.

It also provides a date for when he immigrated. I had not been able to find his ship information yet, and it is difficult to read the name of the ship provided on this application, It looks like Marsala. There was an SS Marsala that made the trip from Hamburg to NY on May 2 of 1888, which seems like a good match since he might have arrived in New York about June 12 - the average crossing was 43 days, so it's spot on. I have not found him in any passenger manifests at I will try to get creative with the spelling in the search index since I am pretty certain I have zeroed in on the ship.

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