legal changed names - general

Herbert Lazerow

<Our ancestors that immigrated to America, 1900-1920, came with their European name.   The spouse had the European spelling of the name as well as the children.   When husband/father naturalized and legally changed his name…  1) did his wife and children automatically became naturalized citizens?>
   Before about 1922, naturalization of the husband also naturalized the wife because husband and wife were regarded as one in loyalties and that choice was viewed as the husband's. (Parenthetically, if a female U.S. citizen married an alien, she became an alien.) The children did not become citizens unless they were specifically listed on the naturalization petition.
  2) did the wife and children’s spelling of the name legally change at that time also?
   One must realize that at that time there were next to no official documents that our ancestors had.  Few had driver's licenses.  Social security does not arrive until 1935, and not until later for the self-employed. So there was little occasion to use a particular spelling of the name. Officially, the name change in the petition probably included wife and children, but it was doubtful that it had any practical significance.
  3) The American born children - would they use the European spellings until dad naturalized?   
     I would assume that everyone in the nuclear family tried to spell the name in the same way to avoid confusion, though in one of the families I am following, some siblings spelled it with a single M and others with a double M.
Herbert Lazerow
Professor of Law, University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park, San Diego CA 92110 U.S.A.
(619)260-4597 office, (858)453-2388 cell, lazer@...
Author: Mastering Art Law (Carolina Academic Press 2015)

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