Note: The Web version of this issue of The Roots Tracer contains all of the words and all of the non-decorative graphics of the original paper version, but does not preserve the original typographical formatting.
ISSN0736-802X THE LIVERMORE ROOTS TRACER VOLUME XIV SUMMER 1995 NUMBER 3
Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society PO Box 901 Livermore, California 94551 TABLE OF CONTENTS VOLUME XIV NUMBER 3 Editors' Notes 558 L-AGS Seminar 558 NGS Conference Report 559 Library Notes 559 L-AGS Publications in the Library 560 News From the Net 561 "Ever Tried a Phonebook?" 562 On Twentieth Century American Immigration Records 563 Bits and Pieces to File 569 Meet the Members Jerree Young 571
LIFE MEMBERS OF L-AGS: Beverly Schell Ales Anastasia Alexander Carrie Alexander G. E. "Robbie" Robinson Harriett & George Anderson Judy Person Harry and Kip West BENEFACTORS: Addie Martz Doug Mumma WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS: Lynn and Linda Owens Jack Carlisle Eileen Redman Leo Vongottfried Jeannine Parenti Lois M. Barber Dana and Martha Garceau
LIVERMORE-AMADOR GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY P. 0. Box 901, Livermore, CA 94551 President Fran SAMANS 510-447-0761 1st VP and Membership Chair Erma McCUE 510-443-1512 2nd VP and Program Chair Katherine BRIDGMAN 510-846-4898 Recording Secretary Harold NORRIS 510-447-6067 Corresponding Secretary David CURRY 510-447-7589 Business Manager Chuck ROCKHOLD 510-455-5911 Roots Tracer Editors Jolene & David ABRAHAMS 510-447-9386 Library Chair Judy PERSON 510-846-6972 Publicity Chair Felicia ZIOMEK 510-847-9260 Livermore Cultural Arts Council Rep Don JOHNSON 510-447-4746 Computer Interest Chair Doug MUMMA 510-447-5164 Historian David LINDSEY 510-447-6351 Publications Chair Leo VONGOTTFRIED 510-447-3597 The Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society is exempt from Federal Income Tax under Section 501(c)(3) (literary and educational) of the Internal Revenue Code and California Taxation Code 237020.
The Roots Tracer is a quarterly publication with articles of interest to the genealogist. Members are encouraged to submit their "Profiles" as well as articles of general interest. Queries are free to members, $ 1. 00 to nonmembers. The deadline for each quarterly is the 15th of June, September, December, and March. Send to: Roots Tracer, P. 0. Box 901 Livermore, CA 94S51 Any book presented to the Society will be reviewed in the quarterly along with the purchase price and address of the publisher. Our Library is located in the Pleasanton Public Library building, 400 Old Bernal Ave., Pleasanton, CA. Meetings are held on the 2nd Tuesday, monthly, 7:30 PM, at Congregation Beth Emek, 1866 College Ave., Livermore, CA. Membership in LAGS is open to any individual, library, or society. Our fiscal year is January 1 through December 31. Membership includes a subscription to the quarterly Roots Tracer. Publications Members Non-Members Postage Surname Index (1994) $9.00 $14.00 $2.00 Livermore Cemeteries (1988) $12.00 $17.00 $2.00 Pleasanton, Dublin Cemeteries (1990) $8.00 $12.00 $2.00 Roots Tracer Index $3.00 $4.50 $1.50 The above publications are available on diskette (IBM or Mac) for the same price as the paper copies. When purchased with a book, they are half price. Members Handbook $4.00 $6.00 $2.00 (Prices subject to change) Send check or money order to: Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society P. 0. Box 901, Livermore, CA 94551 DUES Individual $12.00 Family $18.00 Life $125.00 Benefactor $30.00 Patron $60.00 Life (Couples) $185.00
EDITORS NOTES Jolene and David Abrahams During the early part of May, your editors spent a week in San Diego, attending the National Genealogy Society conference. One of the outstanding presentations that David attended (to an overflow capacity) was a lecture by Marian Smith, historian of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Washington DC. She spoke on 20th century immigration records and what will become of them in the 21st century. Many of her listeners were quite shocked by what she had to say. David has tried to capture the essence of her presentation in an article in this issue. We want to express our thanks to Ms. Smith for assisting us in the editing of the article before we went to press.
L-AGS SEMINAR Mark your calendars! 21 October 1995. Although this date may not be familiar to you, it is important. 21 October is the date that L-AGS and the Livermore and Pleasanton Mormon Churches will conduct a one day genealogy seminar. The seminar will be held at the Mormon Church on Valley Avenue in Pleasanton. The exciting news is that this year we are joined by the Pleasanton Mormon Church. And because of this, it is likely we will have a one day seminar every year instead of every other year. This seminar will feature such speakers as Bette Kot, who will give the keynote address, followed by classes on topics for beginning and intermediate genealogists, how to video and audio record family histories, ethnic research (Hispanic, African-American and Chinese), research in other countries, computer uses in genealogy, demonstrations of computers and software and many other exciting and current topics. Most of the speakers have already been "signed up"; they are all terrific! WANTED: L-AGS MEMBERS. If there was ever a need for you to participate in your Society, it is NOW. Several functional areas need to be filled by L-AGS members. Chairing this event are Jolene Abrahams from L-AGS, Dean Lee from the Mormon Church in Livermore and Garth Ludwig from the Mormon Church in Pleasanton. Come and join us. Call: Jolene at 447-9386, Dean at 447-3497 or Garth at 828-9308. Seminar History: In 1991 the Livermore Mormon Church asked L-AGS to join with them to offer a one day genealogy seminar. We had 125 people pre-register, with another 100 people showing up at the door the morning of the seminar. The feedback was that we had put on a great seminar. In 1993 we decided to do it again. Our pre-registration was greater than previous, but we still had a total of about 225 genealogists attend the seminar. And again, we had a lot of positive feedback from the attendees.
NGS CONFERENCE REPORT Erma McCue The National Genealogical Society held its 1995 conference in San Diego this past May. Since it was so close, (on the same coast!), I decided to attend and take advantage of the opportunity to hear some of the fantastic speakers that were listed on the program. There were four days of sessions from morning to night to choose from. The hardest part was deciding which ones to attend. I chose topics such as "Estates", "Tax Records", "Courthouse Research", "Public Domain Lands", "Evaluating Evidence", "Scandinavian Research Aids", "Irish Research", and "Pennsylvania Research". The speakers were all very professional and knowledgeable. Besides the excellent sessions, there were about 100 exhibitor booths of all kinds set up. You could find out about the latest genealogical books and supplies as well as talk with representatives of many different genealogical societies. There were many computer software booths also. If you missed one of the sessions while you were shopping at the booths, you could always purchase a tape of it at the conference. The conference registrants came from all over the country. It was fun to share information with the person sitting next to you. Each registrant could submit five surnames when they registered. These were all entered into a computer data base and you could search for others at the conference looking for the same surnames as yourself. I have received four letters since the conference from others who are searching the same names. I would highly recommend attending one of the National Conferences. It was a great experience and I even had a couple of hours left for sight- seeing!
LIBRARY NEWS Judy Person Besides the arrival of a number of new genealogy books at the Pleasanton Public Library, this quarter has seen the library orientation of nine L- AGS study group members and eleven new genealogy docents who have chosen their hours and begun their work. The genealogy docents are: BEV ALES, GEORGE & HARRIET ANDERSON, MILDRED DOUCETTE, ELMOND HOLBROOK, DAVID LINDSEY, BEVERLY MORRIS, FRAN SAMANS, JIM SCOFIELD, JOHN WALDEN and KIP WEST. We can be thankful to JOLENE ABRAHAMS who set up the library orientation program. We can do more of this later in the year, if desired. Those who participated expressed confidence and satisfaction at learning their way around. The whole community thanks them, as well as our society, for this contribution of their time and knowledge to help others with this fascinating subject. Also at the Pleasanton and Livermore libraries, you can surf the Internet! Our own George Anderson is an Internet docent on Wednesday mornings at Pleasanton Library from 10:00 AM until 12:00 Noon. George has already helped one small group from LAGS get their feet wet, and I suggest you go into the Pleasanton Library and sign up for his shift for an easy, painless route into lots of genealogy material. If you've been thinking of donating a state genealogy journal to the library, these are the states we particularly need: Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Please get in touch with Judy Person or Chuck Rockhold if you want to make these available. Most are about $20-25 per year.
L-AGS PUBLICATIONS IN THE LIBRARY George Anderson Users of the L-AGS Library (at the Pleasanton Public Library) will find a new guidebook on the counter next to the genealogy stack. It is a looseleaf binder containing five L-AGS publications that can help patrons make the best use of our collection. The first four publications are for sale to the public, and for sale at a discount to L-AGS members. Diskettes in either Macintosh or IBM format are also for sale for the first three publications. "Catalog of the Pleasanton Genealogy Library, comprising holdings of the Gayle Pipes Memorial Library of the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society and genealogical holdings of the Pleasanton Branch Library of Alameda County." The title of this booklet contains half again as many words as the number of pages in it! This catalog is a subject-indexed listing of the 605 books in the genealogy collection at the Pleasanton Library. It is intended as a finding aid for the books - not as versatile as the Alameda County Electronic Catalog, which contains the same information, but more convenient for browsers at the stack. "Database for the Pleasanton Genealogy Library," a new publication by L- AGS. Covers the same 605 books as the "Catalog" described above, but with complete bibliographic information for those who want to know more details about the books. "Catalog of the Vertical File of the Gayle Pipes Memorial Library of the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society," just published on June 18, 1995. A "vertical file" in library jargon is a collection of papers, booklets, pamphlets, clippings and other minor publications kept in filing folders. Packrats among L-AGS members have been contributing to our vertical file for 15 years, and the material has finally been cataloged. Thanks are due to volunteers Charles Michels and Regina Schaefer for keyboarding the data on the 406 separate items. The subject index contains 532 entries. Whenever you visit our library, be sure to look at the vertical file - it contains a surprising amount of useful information. "Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society Members' Handbook." This is the current version of the book given to all new L-AGS members, and purchased by many veteran members. For nonmember patrons of the library, it is especially useful for the description of the benefits of belonging to L- AGS. It is also a good source of information about other local genealogical libraries. "Genealogy Microforms at the Pleasanton Library" is a four-page excerpt from the Spring 1993 Roots Tracer, describing our microfilm and microfiche collection, which is often overlooked by users of the library. A catalog of our periodical collection will be added soon. The reference desk at the library also has a binder containing the first, fourth and fifth of these publications. The trouble with paper guidebooks like these is that they quickly get out of date and are hard to update, compared to electronic catalogs. Already the first catalog described above, which was compiled in December, 1994, needs to be updated with the 30 new books that have been added to the collection since then. Patrons of the library are advised to consult the electronic catalog in addition to these publications.
NEWS FROM THE NET George Anderson So far, twelve L-AGS members that I know of have visited the Pleasanton Library to get checked out on the Internet. The typical reaction has been, "That's interesting, but I didn't find anything." The reaction is valid, because in spite of the hoopla about the Internet, there is no vast golden pot of genealogy data out there just waiting to be scooped up. What there really is on the Internet is a small pot of data (small compared to what is at the Mormon Library, or Sutro, or San Bruno) combined with a large and rapidly growing network of genealogy sites offering indexes, library catalogs, gazetteers, maps, interest-matching services for surnames and localities, how-to information, and query-and- response services. These are all finding aids, which are crucial to genealogy, but do not substitute for the digging after the finding phase is done. What there is also on the Internet is a lot of free software, free-wheeling discussion of genealogy issues, E-mail traffic (my favorite Internet use) and, increasingly, vendor ads. Why is there not more actual data on the Internet? We need go no further than our own club to answer that: Why have we in L-AGS not posted all of our cemetery data, and surname lists, and library catalogs on the Internet? The reason is that we compiled this information partly as a fund-raiser for the club and to post it would be to cut off some of the income that we need for such things as new books. Having said that, I think it is worth asking: should we reconsider that decision? Might it not be better to get a wider dissemination of our surname list and thereby gain our members more contacts with unknown kin, than to restrict the contacts to those who buy the book or see it in a library? Anecdotes are a lot more interesting than philosophizing. Here are some examples of my recent experiences on the Genealogy Superhighway (the Root Route?). I linked to the WWW home page for the North of Ireland Family History Society, and entered the name of the small town, Ahoghill, where my Grandfather Anderson was born. Among the list of those who had indicated an interest in this little place was one American. When I brought up his name, it was none other than James Schuyler, a L-AGS member who lives in Redwood City! I called him, and found that we apparently do not have any relatives in common. I have subsequently joined the NOIFHS. Here is an example of something that probably could not happen if it weren't for the Internet. I needed Hebrew and Arabic fonts for my Macintosh, to publish a booklet for our Friendship Force club, a delegation from which was to travel to Israel in April. After considerable surfing around the Internet, I found a site in Berlin that had not only a collection of Arabic fonts, but the "right-to-left" word processor that is needed to make use of them. I downloaded all of the files, but couldn't make the editor work. So I posted a help-needed message and within a few hours I had a message from Bergen, Norway, with the answer to my problem. The editor works fine and the fonts are beautiful - true calligraphy, as most Arabic printing is. In the end, the Friendship Force delegation decided not to include Hebrew and Arabic in its booklet, so it was an unneeded but enjoyable exercise. However, there was some useful genealogical fallout from the experience. Among the sites offering foreign fonts I found was the Yamada Language Center Font Archive at the University of Oregon. The WWW address is http://babel.uoregon.edu/Yamada/fonts.html They offer a font for Old Gothic handwriting, as used in Germany and Scandinavia until fairly recently. If you have ever tried to do research in the church and civil records of those countries, you know what a challenge the old handwriting is. The font is called "Kroeburn." Here is a sample, spelling "August Heinrich Dreseler," one of our son-in-law's ancestors:
Now I can write in Old Gothic - if they would only come out with a program for reading it!
"EVER TRIED A PHONEBOOK?" George Wiestow Helon 43 George Street Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia 4670 For eleven years I have been researching my family's history. On my father's mother's side I have had some luck in tracing them (the Zielinski's) back to Budki Niesnanowski (pow. Kamionka Strumitowa) in 1873, and I have acquired - at some considerable but necessary expense - some 22 birth certificates relating to them(1). On the other hand, my father's side has been an exhaustive, expensive and frustrating experience. My paternal grandfather's military records give his birthplace as Pawlow, pow. Radziechow (i.e. Ukraine) and my father was adamant that the Helon clan was from the Radziechow area. Fortunately, I still have a living grandmother, Genowefa Helon, nee Zelinska, (born 22 January 1912 in Budki) whom I had met in Otawa, woj. Wroclaw on my trip to Poland in November, 1992. She told me that her husband (my paternal grandfather) Michal Helon (born 13 October 1914) had only "worked" in Radziechow and that after their marriage on 25 February 1936 they returned to the Zielinski estates at Budki where they lived until the whole family (including my great-grandfather Pawel Helon) was deported to the Soviet Union. Throughout my searching, I have found next to nothing on the Helon family, let alone the surname itself. With only the five members of my own family bearing the surname in Australia and one uncle in England, I thought that maybe my family was descendent of Jews killed during World War II; after all, the name Helon appears in the Bible(2). Worse still, I thought the name must have been changed. Obviously the surname Helon seems rare, that is, of course, until I discovered the actual location they were from. Suddenly I discovered that instead of being like a lone piece of cheese to thirty or so rats, it was vice-versa! So how did I go about this discovery? First I went to my state Telecom office and asked for all their Polish phonebooks. Then I spent six hours in absorbed reading and photocopying, all this for half a dozen names. When I returned home, I got out my trusty "PGS Polish Letter Writing Guide" and composed six very brief letters which I addressed to all those whom I located. I enclosed a brief Pedigree Chart, sent off my letters and crossed my fingers. After just three weeks, I received three replies back which contained photos and extended Pedigree Charts - from cousins I never knew I had! After ten years doing it the hard way, I found that the family Helon is dominate in Jaroslow, woj. Rzeszow, Poland, where they have lived for over 150 years--not in the Ukraine where I was led to believe. "Ever tried a phonebook?" ------------------------ 1. For a list of certificates, copies of same, or a Pedigree Chart, send a self-addressed envelope and an International Draft for $20 Australian made payable to G.W. Helon. 2. 01d Testament -- "Numbers," 1:9, 2:7-8, 7:24-30 and 1,0: 16 Originally published in the Bulletin of the Polish Genealogical Society of America, 984 N. Wwaukee Ave., Chicago IL 60622, Vol. 1. No. 2, Spring 1993. Supplied by Jeanne Tanghe in the hopes of helping fellow Polish genealogists and historians.
ON TWENTIETH CENTURY AMERICAN IMMIGRATION RECORDS David Abrahams While attending the National Genealogical Society conference in San Diego, I had the pleasure of hearing a presentation on 20th century Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) records by Marian Smith. Ms. Smith is employed as an historian by the INS; her presentation was quite educational, and I have tried to capture the essence of her presentation below. Since its inception in 1891, the INS has kept a variety of records about our immigrant forefathers. Anyone entering the United States legally, or applying for naturalization after September 27, 1906, would have their records on file with the INS. Included in the INS files are Passenger Manifests (arrival records), Visas, Naturalization C-Files, Identification Cards, Registry Records and Alien Registrations. I will attempt to describe these records below, and then follow with information on how to retrieve copies from the INS. Passenger Manifests - These are arrival records showing the name of the ship, port of arrival, arrival date and persons, and all pertinent information to make sure that the immigrant was legally qualified under the immigration laws to enter this country. Newer Passenger Manifest sheets may have more information than older ones. After World War II, the sheet manifests were phased out in favor of card manifests. Passenger Manifests have been collected by the INS since 1892. Those manifests dating from 1892 through about 1947 are on microfilm at the National Archives and are available to researchers. While in Washington DC recently, I looked up the arrival records of some of my family members. I knew that my grandparents left Germany for the United States, via Southampton, England. I also knew the name of the ship and that they arrived in New York in May, 1936. From the Morton Allen Ship Directory, I found the date that the ship arrived in New York. From there, I was able to find the correct microfilm and read through it until I found the ship and their information. The record sheets are actually two 11 X 17 inch pages laid out end to end. They contain the names, age, sex, marital status, occupation, whether or not they can read - and what language, nationality, race, place of birth, VISA NUMBERS, place issued, last permanent residence, name and address of nearest relative or friend in their original country, final destination, and if going to join relatives, their names and address. Quite a lot of very useful information for the genealogist! Visas - These are a product of the national origin system which was introduced in 1924. The system allowed the United States to limit the number of immigrants entering the country under a "quota" system. The visa application is a Foreign Service form. Prospective immigrants had to apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate in their home country and had to have the approved visa before departing. Minor children normally traveled on their parents' visa. It should be noted that visitor visas were not in the same category as immigrant visas, and were not saved by the INS. When the immigrants arrived, the port inspector took the visa and forwarded it to the INS in Washington for filing. They are filed by port, date of arrival, vessel, and are indexed by name, date of birth and place of birth, and contain much valuable information for family historians. The first category of information contained in visas is the nationality, full and true name, age, sex, race, occupation, a photo, the date and place of birth, marital status and may contain other wonderful information, such as if there is any insanity in the family, etc! The second category of information is the background of the immigrant - his places of residence for 5 years preceding applying for a visa, the names and addresses of his spouse and minor children, and the addresses of his parents or closest living relative in the country where he came from. The third category of information includes the port of entry and final destination, including names and addresses of relatives or friends where the immigrant is going, and whether they are going to stay permanently. Many visas have other documents attached to them. The U.S. immigration law required all other available public records concerning the immigrant that have been kept by the government to which he owes allegiance to be attached. These may include birth certificates (certified copies of originals), death certificates, marriage certificates, military records and police records, and they were stapled to the immigrant's visa. It is very important to note that several years ago, the INS had a regulation altered so that those who can certify or convince the INS that they are family members of an immigrant can have the original documents that were attached to visas returned to them as the rightful owners. The INS will make certified copies for their own use and will record who the originals were sent to. Naturalization C-Files - Once immigrants arrived (legally) in the United States, they usually began the procedure to become naturalized citizens. The first step in this procedure was to fill out a Declaration of Intention. I recently located the naturalization papers for one of my distant cousins. These papers were filed with the court in Bronx County, New York, in 1935, ten months after their arrival. The Declaration of Intention includes the following information: his name, current address, occupation, age, sex, color, complexion, height and weight, race and birthplace and birth date. It also has his wife's name and the date and place of their marriage. Her birthplace and birth date are also shown. The form lists their child and his birthplace and date of birth. And finally, the form shows their last place of residence, where they emigrated from, and the date of arrival. There is also a photo of this cousin and his signature. The next document in the sequence is the Petition for Naturalization. My paper indicates that it was filed in March, 1940, five years after he filed the Declaration of Intention. Once again, his name and current address is shown, as well as his occupation, birthplace and date, place of birth and marriage information. And, once again, his children are shown. But on this form, we discovered that they had another child, who was born in New York! The Petition also has the names and signatures of witnesses who knew the petitioner and that he was of good moral character, etc. On the back of this form is the Oath of Allegiance, which he swore to in open court once the Petition was approved. Each of these documents is numbered. The Declaration of Intention also has the number of the Certificate of Arrival, which is tied to the Passenger Manifest. The Petition for Naturalization has the Declaration of Intention number on it; the Oath of Allegiance has the Naturalization Certificate number on it!! The original naturalization documents were filed in the applicant's local court house. Another official copy of the documents is on file with the INS in Washington. The INS's official copies include naturalizations which occurred in outlying U. S. Territories and possessions, as well as overseas military naturalizations. Remember, the INS does not have records of naturalizations prior to September 27, 1906. Prior to 1922, a woman's nationality was determined by her husband's, or if single, her father's nationality. If an alien woman married a U.S. citizen, she took his nationality; however, if a native-born woman married an alien she lost her citizenship to his nationality! When the husband became a naturalized American, so did his wife. The laws changed in 1922. After 1922, a woman became a person in her own right, and didn't lose her citizenship. If both the husband and wife were aliens, they had to apply individually for citizenship. Minor children who immigrated with their parents are naturalized on their parents' petition; this is called "derivative" citizenship. The children must be under 16 to be listed on their parents petition. Children born on U.S. soil are considered citizens; if they are born at sea, they would assume U.S. citizenship if the U.S. is the first port of call. In the case of my cousin, the only records I found were for the man; his wife did not automatically become a citizen, but the children did. Think about it! Identification Cards - The INS issued Identification Cards not only to aliens, but to citizens as well. There are Seaman ID cards, Immigrant ID cards, Border Crossing cards, Imported Labor cards, etc. Many of the ID cards have photos of the person; those who came as a family may have a family photo attached. Border Crossing cards are scattered throughout the Mexican and Canadian border records. If the researcher had relatives who "commuted" across the border routinely, there is a good chance they had Border Crossing cards. Many ID cards have been saved; those that have are either in the INS index or in the border records. Border crossing records are located at the National Archives. Registry - Registry Records should not be confused with records of Alien Registration of World War II. Registry was the first legalization program of the INS, begun in 1929. It applied to a group of people who were in legal limbo by the 1920's. The 1906 naturalization act stated no one could become a citizen unless they had an arrival record, and entered legally. But some people had no arrival record. Perhaps they came before the government kept good records. Examples are of people coming from Canada in the 1880's, or coming in as seamen and deciding to stay in the United States. If any of these categories of people stayed until after the statute of limitations ran out on their illegal entry into the United States, they were not deportable, but also could not obtain citizenship. Other examples include children who did not know when they came to the United States, and did not know where they arrived. Pressure was put upon Congress to help those who had no arrival records, but had friends and/or relatives who could attest to their qualifications and good citizenship, become citizens. Therefore, the Registry Act passed by Congress in March, 1929, which was a legalization program, took effect. This Act ran through 1940, and it applied to people who arrived prior to June 3, 1921. Congress amended the Registry Act somewhat with the Nationality Act of 1940. The Nationality Act moved the cut-off date from 1921 to 1924, making many more people eligible. After 1940, the Certificate of Registry was called a Certificate of Lawful Entry. If an immigrant had no arrival record and had no criminal record and was qualified in every other way, he could register and get an arrival record created. This is called a "nunc pro tunc" procedure, which means that it is done "now", but is for "then". About 200,000 people registered in this manner. Keep in mind, none of the names in this file show up in original Passenger Manifests. The Registry process included an application form, which was completed by the immigrant and sent to the INS district office. The application asked for the person's name when they entered the U.S., how old they were, their occupation, where did they live before immigrating, where and when did they enter the U.S. and (if applicable) the name of the vessel. The second part of the form asked for their current name, their address and their current occupation. Once the application had been accepted, an investigation was conducted by the local INS office. If the application was approved, a Certificate of Registry was mailed to the immigrant, showing him to be a legal permanent resident. With this record, one could then eventually become a U.S. citizen. Those applications that were approved are all filed at the INS in Washington, DC, by Registry number, and are indexed by name, date of birth and place of birth. They can be searched by the INS for family historians and genealogists. Because they document "then" and "now", many cards in the master index have cross references between original names and current names. Alien Registration - The Alien Registration program began in June, 1940, at the outbreak of World War II. All aliens were required to go to their local post office to register and be fingerprinted. It only took six months for the INS to print out demographic tables to determine where aliens lived in the United States! The Alien Registration program was in effect through 1952. Information on the Alien Registration forms included the person's full name, any aliases, date of birth, place of birth, current address, nationality, sex, marital status, first date of arrival in the U.S., occupation, employer, membership in clubs, any military service and, if they had applied for naturalization, the number of the Petition and where it was filed, and the number of relatives the person had, the person's signature and fingerprint. Everyone got an "A" number, an Alien Registration number, which was an individual identifier. Once the records got to the INS in Washington, the alien got a receipt in the mail. Today these are known as "green cards". HOW TO RESEARCH IMMIGRATION RECORDS - As a genealogist and family historian, you can request a search of INS records under the Freedom of Information Act. This request can be in the form of a letter or you may submit Form G-639. All requests for searches should include the person's full name (with any alternate spellings), date of birth, and place of birth. Information about the person's entry into the United States (date, port, vessel) or his/her naturalization (date, court, certificate number) is also very helpful. When making your request for information concerning family members who arrived prior to 1960, you should request a "manual search of the microfilm index" for your family member. Ask for copies of any and all records resulting from the search. In your request, ask for records pertaining to not only the person, but the "family of" the person. You need to provide as much information as you can. If your family members came to the United States after 1924, specifically ask for a search for a Visa File. If their visa is found with the original attachments, ask to be provided with the necessary form to request a return of the attachments to the family. Send your request to: INS Freedom of Information Act 425 Eye Street NW, Room 5304 Washington, D.C., 20536 Be aware that there is a backlog, and Ms. Smith said to allow six to nine months for a reply! When you receive copies of the Passenger Manifests, all information regarding other families will be blocked out to protect their privacy. However, if you look at the top of the page, you will find the port of entry, the name of the vessel, and the date of arrival. From there, you can go to the National Archives and retrieve the entire sheet, which is preserved on microfilm. If the people you are researching arrived after 1960, you can request a computer index search. And you can send your request to the local INS District Office serving the area where you live Be sure to include "attention FOIA/PA" in the address. At the end of this article you will find a map of the INS districts and the addresses of the District Offices, courtesy of Ms. Smith. AND NOW FOR THE CONCLUSION. Passenger Manifests have been microfilmed and are now located in the National Archives in Washington. They are available to all researchers. Additionally, branches of the Archives located in or near port cities may have copies of arrival records for local ports. These records are permanent. Naturalization records on file at the INS are backup copies of the original court records, which are on file in the various court houses around the country where people filed their forms. Because they are only backup copies, destruction of the records created prior to 1956 is scheduled to begin in the year 2030. Only the index will be retained. Those naturalization records created after 1956 are scheduled for destruction beginning in the year 2019. Visa records are not considered to be permanent records either; their destruction is scheduled to begin in the year 2027. Certificates of Registry are not considered to be permanent records. Their destruction is scheduled to begin in the year 2020. BUT - The fate of the records scheduled for destruction is still up in the air. At this time, it is possible that the Archivist of the United States (the National Archives) doesn't know that the records are there and are so important to genealogists, historians and other archivists, and may need to hear from us in order to at least take a look at the records to determine if he should put forth the time, energy and money that it would take to get the records from the INS and preserve them for future use. Concerned readers should write to the Archivist to advise him of their concerns. The address is: The Archivist of the United States, 7th & Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC, 20408
IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE DISTRICT OFFICES 2 INS Government Center JFK Federal Building Room 1700 Boston, MA 02203 3 INS 26 Federal Plaza Room 14-102 New York, NY 10278 4 INS 1600 Callowhill Street Philadelphia, PA 19130 5 INS Equitable Tower One 100 South Charles Street 12th Floor Baltimore, MD 21201 6 INS 7880 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL 33138 7 INS 130 Delaware Ave. Buffalo, NY 14202 8 INS 333 Mt. Elliott Street Federal Building Detroit, MI 48207- 4381 9 INS 10 W. Jackson Blvd. Suite 600 Chicago, IL 60604 10 INS 2901 Metro Dr. Suite 100 Bloomington, MN 55425 11 INS 9747 N. Conant Ave. Kansas City, MO 64153 12 INS 815 Airport Way, South Seattle, WA 98134 13 INS Appraisers Building 630 Sansome Street. Room 232 San Francisco, CA 94111-2280 14 INS 8940 Four Winds Dr. San Antonio, TX 78239 15 INS 700 E. San Antonio El Paso, TX 79901 16 INS 300 N. Los Angeles Street Los Angeles, CA 90012 17 INS 595 Ala Moana Blvd. Honolulu, HI 96813 18 INS 2035 N. Central Phoenix, AZ 85004 19 INS 4730 Paris Street Denver, CO 80239 20 INS 8101 N. Stemmons Fwy. Dallas, TX 75247 21 INS 970 Broad Street Federal Building Newark, NJ 07102 22 INS 739 Warren Avenue Portland, ME 04103 24 INS A.J.C. Federal Bldg. 1240 East Ninth St. Room 1917 Cleveland, OH 44199 25 INS 4420 North Fairfax Drive Arlington, VA 22203 26 INS MLK Federal Bldg. 77 Forsyth St., SW Room 117 Atlanta, GA 30303 27 INS Carlos Chardon Street Hato Rey, PR 00917 28 INS 701 Loyola Avenue Rm. T-8011 New Orleans, LA 70113 29 INS 3736 S. 132nd St. Omaha, NE 68144 30 INS 2800 Skyway Dr. Helena, MT 59601 31 INS Federal Building 511 Northwest Broadway Portland, OR 97209 32 INS 620 East 10th Avenue Suite 102 Anchorage, AK 99501 38 INS 509 North Belt Houston, TX 77060 39 INS 880 Front St. Suite 1234 San Diego, CA 92188 40 INS 2102 Teege Road Harlingen, TX 78550-4667 Courtesy: History Office, Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1995
BITS AND PIECES TO FILE CONFUSING DEFINITIONS Some terms commonly used in Colonial times have changed in their meanings - for better or worse. ALIAS: did not have a criminal meaning. It usually meant illegitimacy; the surnames of the father and mother were joined. BROTHER: might be an adopted brother, but could also be an in-law, lodger or church "brother". COUSIN: might be a nephew or an uncle. DOMESTIC: could be a wife because she was at home. HOUSEKEEPER: once meant property owner and could be used for a male as well as a female. INMATE: as found in the PN (sic) Archives, refers to a man living in the home of another person but not necessarily in an institution. MOTHER-IN-LAW: could be a stepmother. NEPHEW: might be an illegitimate son, but usually a grandson. NIECE: could be any female relative, but usually a granddaughter. SENIOR: and JUNIOR did not necessarily refer to father and son. If two men in the same town had the same name, the older of the two was "senior" and the younger became "junior" even though they were unrelated. In earlier times a father might have done the same, in naming sons. (From several sources, via CSGA Newsletter, Vol. 11, No.11, Nov 1993 ) HANDFASTING vs MARRIAGE The letters "H/F" may be found beside a person's name on early marriage and birth records. The abbreviation stands for "Handfast." It is basically a sign of the confirmation of a form of "uncanonical", private, or even a probationary form of marriage. Handfasting was a form of announcing a union between a man and woman who wished to live together as husband and wife before receiving the blessing of the church. The couple would stand before a group of peers, hold their clasped hands above their heads and state their intentions. The agreement was good for a year and a day, or until the preacher came to perform the rites of the church. If, at the end of this time, each wished to go his own way, they could do so without ties. Any child born of a handfast was considered legitimate and with inheritance rights. (GS N Cent WA 19:3 9/91) BOUNTY PAID - RETURNED TO DUTY Is this phrase on the records of your Civil War ancestor? Check the length of time they were in service. The usual length of enlistment was 90 days for both the Yankees and Confederates. When this enlistment was up the soldier received "Bounty" if he would re-enlist for another 90 days. In other words the soldier was paid a bonus to stay in. It has nothing to do with desertion or being returned by a bounty hunter. (Doris Weaver, 7/94, SE-Genealogy, via NNY-BBS via CCC GS NL 10:1 1/95 ) CENOTAPH An empty tomb or a monument erected in honor of a person buried elsewhere. While searching cemeteries in Wisconsin I found three grave sites for a cousin killed in WW II. His body was returned after the war. One of these gravesites contains his body the other two are Cenotaphs. (Jeanne Tanghe ) NAME CHANGES Have you considered that your "lost" ancestor may have changed his or her name legally? Approximately 300 people petition the New York City Court each year for a name change. That figure has remained steady for nearly a decade, and that is only New York City! Most wish to re-identify themselves religiously, culturally and occasionally biologically. Others want to reclaim the ethnic names their ancestors shortened in the early part of the century. We are often reminded of the importance of probate court records; this is yet another reason to check court records! (S.F. Chronicle, 20 Aug 1994 via CCC GS NL 10:1 1/95) 105 BOXES OF PENSION FILES FOUND! Recently 105 boxes of pension files were found at the National Archives. Apparently, these files, dating back to the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Seminole War, were not indexed and microfilmed. These files are arranged by account number and are being published in the American Genealogy Magazine by Datatrace Systems, P.O. Box 1587, Stephenville, TX 76401. (Orange Co. GS 9/94 via Napa Valley Wine Press NL Jan. '95) OLD MILITARY NEWSPAPERS Air Force newspapers become "old news" to the average reader once the publication has been reviewed. But "old news" carries within it a small piece of history. That history is available to anyone. The State Historical Society of Wisconsin is the self-proclaimed central depository for newspapers of the Air Force and other services. What began as a small bookcase in the Wisconsin governor's office in 1854 now consists of collections numbering more than 2.8 million printed and microform items on history, genealogy and related topics north of the Rio Grande. The library provides reference and information services in person, over the telephone and by mail. Anyone interested in contacting the historical society via mail should address packages to: James P. Danky, Newspapers and Periodicals, 816 State St., Madison, WI 53706 or call (608) 264-6598. (CSGA NL, Vol.11, No. 3 Mar 1993) CIVIL WAR'S LAST GREAT TRAGEDY On April 27, 1865 the Sultana, a 260-foot wooden-hulled steamboat exploded near Memphis, killing more than 1,800 men. The men, mostly Union soldiers on their way home from Confederate prison camps, died from the explosion or from drowning. On board were 2,400 passengers - six times the ship's legal capacity. Most had been imprisoned at Andersonville and Cahaba. Among the ship's manifest were 791 from Ohio, 501 from Tennessee, 459 from Indiana, 310 from Michigan and 194 from Kentucky. "The Sultana Tragedy" by Jerry O. Potter is a well-documented account of the event. FAMILY TREE TOPPLES AFTER 30 YEARS London - An amateur historian spent 30 years tracing his family tree, then was told he was studying the wrong one because he had been adopted, Britain's Daily Star newspaper said this week. "It was 30 years' work for nothing," said British restaurant owner Ian Lewis. On his quest, Lewis, 43, traveled all over Britain and talked to 2,00 relatives. He even planned to write a book about how his great- grandfather left to seek his fortune in Russia and how his grandfather was expelled after the Bolshevik Revolution and returned to Britain. Despite the disappointment, Lewis said he hasn't lost his taste for family trees: "I will have to start again, but I'm determined to carry on." (Chicago Tribune 4/29/94) Felicia Ziomek
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