pre-1906 info #general


Hi Barry,

I'm an old jgenner and also for many years a volunteer at the New England
region NARA. I hesitate to correct you publicly, but I believe you are
only partially right re pre-1906 Naturalization documents. In some
cases (some states) (e.g., Massachusetts) you can get copies of originals
dating back to 1790!!!!

Three regions in the US sent out teams of photographers to every
courthouse in their regions --- as make work for WPA jobs in the 1930s --
and they photographed (using dexigraph white on black equip since xerox
didn't exist) all the pre-1906 records. Those regions were New
England (all 6 states - info now at NARA Waltham, MA, where I work 3-days
a week copying such records for the public), Cook County Illinois (info in
Chicago NARA), and the 5-boroughs of NYC. The cost of a copy of the
original or dexigraph is the same $10. (which can pay for up to 5 sets of
records). In other regions, all that NARA may have is the index cards for
local/State courts and thay may charge for the search for that card, but
they may have the complete files where NA occurred in a US Circuit or
District Court. For other courts you MAY find original Declarations of
Intent and Petitions at the court where NA occurred. (Though many courts
have disposed of them or sent them to State archive facilities.)

Re the content of these: Oversimplifying a bit, the federal law pre-1906
gave no guidance to states as to the questions asked/answered by a court
on declarations of intent or final applications, basically only that the
person must be free, white male over 21, living in the state 5 years, of
good character, and renounced foreign allegiance - so each state (and
each court in the states) used different forms. Most Mass. courts asked
all the questions you mention, but CT and northern NE courts rarely asked
arrival dates/ ships, etc. Some courts recorded date and city of birth -
typical CT records: birth: Ireland 1857.

Sorry to disagree with your submission, but I don't want any of our fellow
jewishgenners mislead or disappointed.

Al Luftman Natick, Mass.

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