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.




Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society
PO Box 901 Livermore, California 94551



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


Beverly Schell Ales
Anastasia Alexander
Carrie Alexander
G. E. "Robbie" Robinson
Harriett & George Anderson
Judy Person	Harry and Kip West

Addie Martz	
Doug Mumma

Lynn and Linda Owens
Jack Carlisle
Eileen Redman
Leo Vongottfried
Jeannine Parenti
Lois M. Barber
Dana and Martha Garceau

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 

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
Individual        $12.00
Family            $18.00
Life             $125.00
Benefactor        $30.00
Patron            $60.00
Life (Couples)   $185.00

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.


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 


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 

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 

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 

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-

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, 

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 

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.

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 

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 

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

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 

Now I can write in Old Gothic - if they would only come out with a 
program for reading it!

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.

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 

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 

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 

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. 

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". 


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: 
	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.


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 

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


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-
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



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 )


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) 


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 )


An empty tomb or a monument erected in honor of a person buried 

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 ) 


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) 


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)


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 

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) 


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. 


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 

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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