Re: Naturalization verification notations on passenger manifests #general

Joel Weintraub

I just want to add some more information about this topic. In 1906
naturalization laws changed in the U.S. so that applicants had to prove
legal entry into the country. In order to do that, clerks at the
immigration ports had to go through the ship manifests searching for the
applicants arrival, and issue a "certificate of arrival", usually to a
court. Because of the possibility of fraud (the same person on the manifest
used by two different people), starting in 1926 the clerks were asked to
record on the manifest verification and certificate of arrival
numbers/information. Thus only starting in 1926 would people who applied
for naturalization would/should show this information on their manifest.

Now, I've gone through three ship manifests (1907: Bremen, Sicilia; 1908:
Grosser Kurfurst) tallying these notations. I have found that although
there are a number of notations that might resemble application numbers, it
isn't until 1933 that I first find two number entries that look like a
certificate of arrival including a date when the information was requested
(e.g. 1933). For these three ships, the most certificate of arrival dates
on their manifests is at a maximum in 1940 and 1941 where there were over 40
requests per year), correlating with record naturalization applications to
avoid the alien registration laws at the start of WW2. As a side note, I
believe the extra pressure on manifests during these years is one of the
major causes of much of the damaged manifests we see today on the scans.

Joel Weintraub
Dana Point, CA

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