JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Find LEVINE U.S. Naturalization Records #general
A. E. Jordan
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From: Edward Levine
At this point I am trying to locate his naturalization papers in hopesIt would help to have some more basic information. First do you know
where he was living circa 1914? Also how old was he?
Start with the US Census and see if you can find the person and even
though the Census data maybe imperfect, ie age, date of immigration,
etc. but the address is important. Also you can see if it says if he
was naturalized because that is often (but not always) correct.
People did not have provide proof to the census takers.
Know where he lived is critical because he would have naturalized in
the local courts. Starting in 1906 the Federal Government supervised the
process and standardized the process but it was still administered locally.
A person could select to go to any local court and start the process
to naturalize. If he lived in a city like New York City he could go
either to the local court or he could have gone to the Federal court.
In other places the Federal court was not local so they really only had
the option of the local court. However even in he lived in the Bronx
but worked in Manhattan he could have gone to either the court in
Manhattan or the Bronx. Generally the court is at the county level.
It is also important to establish a general age/year of birth. Minors
were naturalized with their parents although the laws changed at
various times either including or excluding wives and children. But
in 1914 a minor would have naturalized with the parents and not had
Also in the 1925 New York State Census they asked which court
specifically a person naturalized. It is not always accurate but it
is another place to look.
You did not explain which papers had the handwritten note. If it is
personal papers that is a clue but if it is on the passenger list it
is a confirmation. Once the Federal government took over supervising
the system they started requiring confirmation of a person's arrival
information. So after an immigrant filed out their "first papers"
ie declaration to naturalize the court then sought a confirmation of
the arrival information. And those confirmations are often written
on the passenger list. So if you find a person's arrival and see a
number written in with a date that is a conformation of the arrival
information. (I recently used those numbers to decode and find a
missing naturalization because we have the date and the file number
can be decoded to figure out which court was processing the naturalization.)
Once you have that information you need to check the various online
databases because different courts are recorded on different sites.
Ancestry has some files, so does Fold3. Also the LDS site FamilySearch
has files and as another poster recently showed in some cases they have
only scanned but not yet indexed the files. Unfortunately it takes
searching and not all of the databases give a lot of clues other than a
person's name. Names generally I would say are recorded as the name
appeared on the final declaration so if the name was changed during the
naturalization use the new name but it never hurts to also check the
birth name if you have it. Morse has links to search some of the
naturalization files on his One Step site as well.
If you can not find the record in any of the various databases you can
go to the court or some courts will do mail order searches.
If all else fails you can try a request to CIS in Washington DC (the
old INS) but personally I would say that is the last resort because it
is slow and they can not always identify the individual you need.
You need to send them very specific information, ie. the age. address,
etc. to help them find the person and always make sure you request that
they check all the different files because they have a variety of
That would be your starting points. I am sure other listers will have
a few other tips to work out a naturalization search.