JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Locating Naturalisation record 1914 in the US #general

Peter Zavon <pzavon@...>

From: <JonBorchard@...>
A brother of my GGrandfather moved to the US in about 1908 >from Poland
via London, His name was Abraham Couzins.

I know that he became a US citizen in 1914 and at the time he lived in
Reno. He died December 31, 1928 in Oakland , Alameda County, California.

I would like to obtain a copy of his Naturalisation file - would it
still exist and if so would it be held in Reno or Oakland? How do I go
about getting an address to apply to?

Are these files held by locally and centrally in the US??

Yes, they are held both locally and centrally.

Locally, they will be in the records of the court that performed the
Naturalization. If this was a Federal Court, they may have been moved to
the National Archives and Records Administration Branch Archive that
serves the region containing Reno. However, performing Naturalizations
was not restricted to Federal Courts. Any court of record could do that,
including state and municipal courts. Some did it regularly, and others
did not. There are regional indices of Naturalizations for some, but not
all, regions. These may be in Branch National Archives, in regional
Historical or Genealogical Societies, etc

That is where the centrally held files can help. All Naturalizations
performed after 1906 were reported to the Immigration and Naturalization
service and their central index is still in use. It is not open to the
public but it can be and is used by the INS in responding to requests.

Send a Freedom of Information request to the INS in Washington, DC.
Request the entire naturalization file of the Naturalized person. Provide
as much identifying information on that person as possible, to distinguish
him >from others of the same name. Name, date and location of
Naturalization are helpful, but give more if you have it. Information
such as date and place of birth, date and port of entry to the US,
European name (name on passenger manifest), etc can also help. Be sure to
provide some form of proof that he is dead. Living people have privacy
rights that prevent giving you the information you want unless they have
given written permission to do so.

The INS response may be long in coming, and the quality of the copies may
be poor, but if you get a response it will surely include the name of the
court that performed the Naturalization. You can then go to their records,
which are often the original documents, and perhaps get better photocopies.

Peter Zavon
Penfield, NY


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