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Visas issued overseas (Riga, Latvia) in 1926 #latvia


Ellen
 

The post about Lodz passport correspondence reminded me of a question I have about visas issued overseas.

My grandparents, with their infant son, went back to Russia from the U.S. sometime in 1925.  They probably stayed with my grandfather's parents in Shklov, Mogilev province in what is today Belarus.  But the political environment was not what they had hoped it would be, and they decided to return to the U.S.  A passenger manifest shows that they traveled from Rotterdam to New York aboard the SS Volendam, arriving on Dec. 4, 1926.  The manifest also indicates that visas were issued for them in Riga, Latvia on Oct. 1, 1926.  

What agency would have issued those visas?  Neither of my grandparents was a U.S. citizen at that point, although my uncle (the infant son) certainly was, having been born in NYC.  Would copies of the visas be available somewhere?  A recent Genealogy Index Search Request that I submitted to the USCIS yielded no information on my grandfather that I didn't already have.

Thanks.

Ellen Morosoff Pemrick
  
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Researching WEISSMAN/VAYSMAN (Ostropol, Ukraine); MOROZ and ESTRIN/ESTERKIN (Shklov & Bykhov, Belarus); LESSER/LESZEROVITZ, MAIMAN, and BARNETT/BEINHART/BERNHART (Lithuania/Latvia); and ROSENSWEIG/ROSENZWEIG, KIRSCHEN, and SCHWARTZ (Botosani, Romania)


Sherri Bobish
 

Hi Ellen,
 
Another thought.  Have you checked if they possibly obtained a U.S. passport for the American born child before they returned to Russia?  You can search the passport application database:
https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2185145
Database covers through 1925.  A passport application may contain valuable information.

Regards,  Sherri Bobish, Princeton, NJ


Marian
 

Ellen, 

From what you describe, your grandparents should have visa records on file with USCIS--the question may be where they are filed, or whether the search results you obtained were accurate.

I cannot check the manifest without the names, but assuming they were issued immigrant visas those documents would have been collected from them upon arrival in the US and forwarded for filing with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS, now USCIS) in Washington, DC.  At that time the documents would become one of the Visa Files, 1924-1944, indexed at INS under the name as it appeared on the ship passenger list.  If either of your grandparents never naturalized, or never interacted with the INS again after 1944, the visa documents should remain in their Visa Files.  USCIS information on Visa Files is found here.

BUT, if they naturalized after March 31, 1944, their Visa File would have been moved to their Naturalization Certificate File, i.e., "C-File."  The C-file, with the visa file contents inside, would then be indexed at INS under the name as it appeared on the naturalization certificate.  

If not naturalized, but they had some other business with the INS after March 31, 1944, they should have an A-File (not simply the alien registration form document, but an actual file).  The Visa File contents would have been placed inside the A-File, then indexed by INS under the name used at registration in the early 1940's.

INS' practice of moving files "up" to other file series (called "consolidation") can make requesting these files or understanding search results confusing.  If one assumes that a post-1944 C-File only duplicates court naturalization records one can miss out on many vital documents.

All that said, there's always a chance your search results were incomplete.  For example, if the only name provided was an Americanized name it may not have brought back a Visa File still indexed under the name as it appeared on the 1926 passenger list.

I hope this helps, you or someone else,

Marian


Renée K. Carl
 

Hi Ellen
The records of the US Consulate for Riga are a robust set of records, though for reasons lost to time, more is available if your surname is at the beginning or end of the alphabet. The consular records are different than the documents for the Visa File that you sought from USCIS and that Marian responded to. I presented on the consular records to the Latvia Research Group at IAJGS in Cleveland. These records are at the National Archives, College Park.
National Archives, U.S. Consulate, Riga (organization description):
https://catalog.archives.gov/id/10510457
National Archives U.S. Consulate, Riga (records):
https://catalog.archives.gov/id/1112572

There is also the collection of House Registers for Riga, these are in browse mode at Family Search - Marion Wehle or Arlene Beare might be able to provide the link or additional information. Even if people staying in a house for a night or two, their names appear on these lists.

Renée Carl,  Washington DC            Latvia names: Ketcher/Katcher/Katsher, Bortz, Budovnitz

Ellen Morosoff Pemrick wrote:
"The manifest also indicates that visas were issued for them in Riga, Latvia on Oct. 1, 1926.  

What agency would have issued those visas?  Neither of my grandparents was a U.S. citizen at that point, although my uncle (the infant son) certainly was, having been born in NYC.  Would copies of the visas be available somewhere?  A recent Genealogy Index Search Request that I submitted to the USCIS yielded no information on my grandfather that I didn't already have."


itencorinne@...
 

Hi Ellen
I researched a couple who immigrated from Switzerland to the United States in 1914. They were not naturalised until 1944 and they had children born in the United States before 1920. They all travelled to Switzerland for a visit of relatives in 1926. I found the passenger manifests for their travel back to the United States in 1926. The parents are on the passenger list for immigrants, the children are on another list for American Citicens. But I couldn't find the children in the Passport Applications Database on familysearch, which ends in 1925. In my case a descendant of the daughter found an old passport of the father. It contains stamps (with dates) from all boarders they crossed on their travel from the United states to Switzerland. 

Regards

Corinne


Ellen
 

Renee,

So it sounds like my best bet would be to write to the National Archives at College Park and request a search.  Those files don't appear to be online.  And I wasn't able to find the House of Registers for Riga on FamilySearch.

Thanks,   Ellen. lnmp@...
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Researching:  LESSER/LESZEROVITZ, MAIMAN, and BARNETT/BEINHART/BERNHART (Lithuania/Latvia)


On Thu, Apr 16, 2020 at 12:25 PM, Renée K. Carl wrote:
Hi Ellen
The records of the US Consulate for Riga are a robust set of records, though for reasons lost to time, more is available if your surname is at the beginning or end of the alphabet. The consular records are different than the documents for the Visa File that you sought from USCIS and that Marian responded to. I presented on the consular records to the Latvia Research Group at IAJGS in Cleveland. These records are at the National Archives, College Park.
National Archives, U.S. Consulate, Riga (organization description):
https://catalog.archives.gov/id/10510457
National Archives U.S. Consulate, Riga (records):
https://catalog.archives.gov/id/1112572

There is also the collection of House Registers for Riga, these are in browse mode at Family Search - Marion Wehle or Arlene Beare might be able to provide the link or additional information. Even if people staying in a house for a night or two, their names appear on these lists.


Renée K. Carl
 

Hi Ellen
None of the consular records I mentioned are online. You have to research them in person. The National Archives will not perform a search for you, they will help you plan your visit and use the records, but they do not perform searches.

The House Registers are available on FamilySearch in the catalog as a BROWSE, not indexed. This is a link to just SOME of the files: https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/3032312?availability=Family%20History%20Library
To see what else is available, or to see other locations and what might be available to browse, go to FamilySearch.org. Under the SEARCH tab, select CATALOG. Enter a place (geographic location), hit enter, and it will list what is available.

Happy hunting!
Renee