Topics

Are the C-Files from the USCIS worth getting? #general


N. Summers
 

I'm thinking about requesting some C=Files ('C' means the Certificate of Naturalization number) from the US Customs and Immigration Service before their fees increase. Are the files likely to have anything interesting in them? I have found the DOI, Cert. of Arrival, Petition and Naturalization Certificate for many of my relatives on Ancestry. Will there be additional docs in the files?

thank you
--

Nancy Summers

Maryland, USA

 

FINKELSTEIN, BOOKSTEIN, KOENIG/SUKOENIG, LUSMAN, GOLDINER, SAGORODER/ZAGORODER (Radziwillow, Belarus/Ukraine; Ostrog, Poland/Belarus; Warsaw, Poland; Wolinsky, Russia/Ukraine)

LISS / ALPER  (Motol, Russia/Belarus)

LEAF / LIFSCHITZ ( Rechitsa, Belarus)


Teewinot
 

Hi Nancy,

You'd be better off requesting the A-File which contains every document
your ancestor filled out since arriving in the country, including the
naturalization file. Also, don't waste your money. File a FOIA
request. You get the first 2 hours of research and the first 100 pages
for free. Signing the request means you agree to pay up to $25.00 if
they go over the above. I doubt it will. Depending on the situation,
you may get some really interesting information. My grandmother's file
had photos, fingerprints, mentions of other relatives, places of
employment, etc. Go here to start the process:

https://www.uscis.gov/records/request-records-through-the-freedom-of-information-act-or-privacy-act

Jeri Friedman
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
--
teewinot13@...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
RESEARCHING: FRIEDMAN, MILLER, BERKOWITZ (Grodno,
Poland/Russia/Belarus); GEIST (?,Russia); GLICKMAN, KLUGMAN, STURMAN,
KAPLAN, ROTENBERG (Bilgoraj, Lublin, Poland/Russia); LIEB/LEIBOWITZ,
BLAU (Jassy/Iasi, Romania); GALINSKY, GELLIS (Suwalki, Poland/Russia);
KRASNOPOLSKY, SILBERMAN/SILVERMAN (Krasnopol, Poland/Russia)
KOPCIANSKY (?, Poland/Russia); GOLDSTEIN, SCHRAGER (?, Romania);
CYRULNIK (Suwalki, Poland/Russia and Kalvarija, Lithuania)


On 9/4/2020 4:33 PM, N. Summers via groups.jewishgen.org wrote:

I'm thinking about requesting some C=Files ('C' means the Certificate of
Naturalization number) from the US Customs and Immigration Service
before their fees increase. Are the files likely to have anything
interesting in them? I have found the DOI, Cert. of Arrival, Petition
and Naturalization Certificate for many of my relatives on Ancestry.
Will there be additional docs in the files?

thank you
--

Nancy Summers

Maryland, USA

*FINKELSTEIN, BOOKSTEIN, KOENIG/SUKOENIG, LUSMAN, GOLDINER,
SAGORODER/ZAGORODER* (_Radziwillow_, Belarus/Ukraine; _Ostrog_,
Poland/Belarus; _Warsaw_, Poland; _Wolinsky_, Russia/Ukraine)

*LISS / ALPER*(_Motol_, Russia/Belarus)

*LEAF / LIFSCHITZ* ( _Rechitsa_, Belarus)
--
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Jacob Heisler
 

I tried ordering an A-File via a FOIA request, but I was told I was
only allowed to request the file through their Genealogy Program, the
one that is about to cost a lot of money.


On Sat, Sep 5, 2020 at 2:16 AM Teewinot <teewinot13@...> wrote:

Hi Nancy,

You'd be better off requesting the A-File which contains every document
your ancestor filled out since arriving in the country, including the
naturalization file. Also, don't waste your money. File a FOIA
request. You get the first 2 hours of research and the first 100 pages
for free. Signing the request means you agree to pay up to $25.00 if
they go over the above. I doubt it will. Depending on the situation,
you may get some really interesting information. My grandmother's file
had photos, fingerprints, mentions of other relatives, places of
employment, etc. Go here to start the process:

https://www.uscis.gov/records/request-records-through-the-freedom-of-information-act-or-privacy-act

Jeri Friedman
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
--
teewinot13@...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
RESEARCHING: FRIEDMAN, MILLER, BERKOWITZ (Grodno,
Poland/Russia/Belarus); GEIST (?,Russia); GLICKMAN, KLUGMAN, STURMAN,
KAPLAN, ROTENBERG (Bilgoraj, Lublin, Poland/Russia); LIEB/LEIBOWITZ,
BLAU (Jassy/Iasi, Romania); GALINSKY, GELLIS (Suwalki, Poland/Russia);
KRASNOPOLSKY, SILBERMAN/SILVERMAN (Krasnopol, Poland/Russia)
KOPCIANSKY (?, Poland/Russia); GOLDSTEIN, SCHRAGER (?, Romania);
CYRULNIK (Suwalki, Poland/Russia and Kalvarija, Lithuania)

On 9/4/2020 4:33 PM, N. Summers via groups.jewishgen.org wrote:

I'm thinking about requesting some C=Files ('C' means the Certificate of
Naturalization number) from the US Customs and Immigration Service
before their fees increase. Are the files likely to have anything
interesting in them? I have found the DOI, Cert. of Arrival, Petition
and Naturalization Certificate for many of my relatives on Ancestry.
Will there be additional docs in the files?

thank you
--

Nancy Summers

Maryland, USA

*FINKELSTEIN, BOOKSTEIN, KOENIG/SUKOENIG, LUSMAN, GOLDINER,
SAGORODER/ZAGORODER* (_Radziwillow_, Belarus/Ukraine; _Ostrog_,
Poland/Belarus; _Warsaw_, Poland; _Wolinsky_, Russia/Ukraine)

*LISS / ALPER*(_Motol_, Russia/Belarus)

*LEAF / LIFSCHITZ* ( _Rechitsa_, Belarus)

--
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Sally Horn
 

Are A Files actually available for people who become citizens?  I filed both an index and search request some months back for my grandparents on my mother's side who had filed a Petition for Naturalization in 1909, a Declaration of intention in 1914 and were naturalized in 1920.  All I received from USCIS were "Best copies" of the actual petition, declaration and certificate of naturalization.  I did not receive any of the supporting documentation, nor did the response to my request for an index search indicate that there were A files for them .  Do I need to request the supporting documentation files from the State in which they lived and were naturalized?  The Certificate of Naturalization appears to have been signed by the Assistant Clerk of the Superior Court of in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

On the other hand, when I filed an index request for my paternal grandparents who did not become citizens, I was told that there were A files for them.  I have requested those files and will see what they include.

Sally Horn


Marian
 

Hi Nancy,

First, it is US Citizenship and Immigration Services (not Customs).

Second, are C-files likely to have anything interesting in them?  The problem is, as always, it depends on the date and the individual case.  You may hear from one person they got a C-file with a wealth of information, and from another that the file they received had only duplicate copies of the same documents found in court records (except the certificate, more on that below).  Both are telling you the truth.

C-Files for naturalizations after WW II and to 1956 are usually complete, containing all the records maintained by INS about that subject.  Earlier C-files, from 1906 to the end of WW II, should only contain the naturalization records and any additional documents related to that naturalization.  If the process went smoothly for the immigrant in this earlier period the file likely contains only the duplicate declaration, duplicate petition, and certificate of naturalization.  But if there was any issue (about fees, qualifications, problems getting a certificate of arrival, etc., etc.,) there could be additional documentation, including forms and correspondence.  Also, if the naturalized citizen later applied for a replacement certificate, or if a wife or child derived US citizenship through their naturalization and later applied for a derivative certificate, there would be additional records.  Those additional records, if such exist, can likely be found no where else.

Unless you have reason to believe there are additional records in an immigrant's C-file, there is only one good way to predict if the C-file has more records.  You can search the Name Index to Bureau of Naturalization Correspondence, 1906-1946 (National Archives microfilm publication A3388).  If correspondence was placed in the C-file, it should be indexed there and reference the C-file (certificate) number.  Not finding a name in this index does not prove there are no extra records in the C-file, but finding the name in the index does indicate there is something more.

Third, the only document in every C-file that is not found in court records is the duplicate certificate of naturalization.  There are many post-1906 court naturalization records online somehow classified or tagged as "certificates."  I often see naturalization index cards identified on Ancestry as "certificates" but of course they are not.  They are index cards.

Marian Smith


Teewinot
 

I figured they would eventually change the rules, but I didn't think it
had happened yet.

It's obvious that they just don't want to be bothered with genealogy
requests, and charging exorbitant fees is the best way to discourage
people. I, personally, don't know anyone who can afford the current
fees, let alone the new ones, including me. It's a real shame.

Jeri Friedman


On 9/5/2020 8:41 AM, Jacob Heisler wrote:

I tried ordering an A-File via a FOIA request, but I was told I was
only allowed to request the file through their Genealogy Program, the
one that is about to cost a lot of money.
--
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https://www.avast.com/antivirus


Michael McTeer
 

Another possible source is the National Archives. It took repeated requests and about ten years, but I received about two inches of material regarding my great grandmother’s immigration including interviews and statement regarding her 1932 return to the US from Poland when she was detailed and ordered deported. Every piece of paper I received, I would check for other file/reference number and use that to make another request to the Archives. The Archives also had a 1939 letter from my half grand aunt living in St. Louis to the State Department regarding her father in Poland.
Regards, Michael McTeer, Crowley, TX USA 13488
--
SEEKING:KALKOPF, FRYMORGEN, RESZKE, GRYNBAUM (Zarki, Bedzin, Sosnowiec, Poland); LENCZNER, GLIKSMAN, KOPLOWICZ, TRAJMAN (Szczekociny, Poland)


Marjorie Geiser
 

I couldn't find my grandfather's sister's naturalization papers at all, which were from 1945. As a result, I requested an index search, then ordered both records the USCIS found. I did this last year. Because they had just announced calls for comments prior to their rate increase, it took about 3 months, and when they were complete, I did get a CD with the records. Two bits of information I did get as a result was a picture of her and exactly where she was born, which I couldn't find anywhere else.

Would I do it now? No. Back then, the total cost was $195, which I thought was excessive. Now that the rates have increased, I would go without.

Margie Geiser
Arizona USA

LEVINE/LEWIN, SILBERNAGEL/ZYLBERNAGEL/SILVER, EPSTEJN/EPSTEIN, MOCZYDLOWER/MOCHEDLOVER, ERLICH, GRUNPELTZ, JOSKOWICZ, ZYLBERSZTEJN, SZTABINSKA, WILK


JoAnne Goldberg
 

I'm curious: has anyone successfully gotten records for ancestors who
immigrated in the 1880s (pre-Ellis)? According to what I see online, the
first US Office of Immigration was founded after that. I'm wondering how
much effort I should invest in trying to obtain records if there would
have been no records!
--
JoAnne Goldberg - Menlo Park, California; GEDmatch M131535
BLOCH, SEGAL, FRIDMAN, KAMINSKY, PLOTNIK/KIN -- LIthuania
GOLDSCHMIDT, HAMMERSCHLAG,HEILBRUNN, REIS(S), EDELMUTH, ROTHSCHILD, SPEI(Y)ER -- Hesse, Germany
COHEN, KAMP, HARFF, FLECK, FRÖHLICH, HAUSMANN,  DANIEL  -- Rhineland, Germany

 


Jan Meisels Allen
 

The USCIS rates do not increase until October 2nd. Marjorie said the rates increased.That is incorrect as they do not for another several weeks. So if you are planning to order records this is the time to do so.  This was announced last November when they proposed the rate increase and again July 31 when the final rule was published and again last month as a reminder of the October 2 date for increased fees.

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records  Access Monitoring Committee


N. Summers
 

Thank you so much! this is very helpful.

I discovered that the Naturalization index cards (which I found on Ancestry) show the C-File number, so for those people I wouldn't need to request an index search, (which i think is done primarily to find if there is a C- file ). For several ancestors i'd like to have copies of their naturalization certificates (which I assume are in the C-files), so first I have to request an index search and then request a copy of the C-file  . For pre-1906 naturalizations, I think the documents are with the court at which the naturalization was processed; some courts sent copies to INS>USCIS but others did not.

I also learned that for the post-1906 naturalizations the Petition for Naturalizatin and the grant of  naturalization are on the same document; the Petition is on the front of the page and the Naturalization on the back.  Are there also separate certificates of Naturalization?

Nancy Summers

--

Nancy Summers

Maryland, USA

 

FINKELSTEIN, BOOKSTEIN, KOENIG/SUKOENIG, LUSMAN, GOLDINER, SAGORODER/ZAGORODER (Radziwillow, Belarus/Ukraine; Ostrog, Poland/Belarus; Warsaw, Poland; Wolinsky, Russia/Ukraine)

LISS / ALPER  (Motol, Russia/Belarus)

LEAF / LIFSCHITZ ( Rechitsa, Belarus)


N. Summers
 

On Sat, Sep 5, 2020 at 09:00 AM, Jacob Heisler wrote:
I tried ordering an A-File via a FOIA request, but I was told I was
only allowed to request the file through their Genealogy Program, the
one that is about to cost a lot of money.
According to the FOIA request website, any immigration documents over 100 years old must be requested thru the Genealogy program, which requires payment of a fee. That should mean any documents from 1921 and later are available for FOIA requests. Were your requests for older documents?

Nancy Summers

FINKELSTEIN, BOOKSTEIN, KOENIG/SUKOENIG, LUSMAN, GOLDINER, SAGORODER/ZAGORODER (Radziwillow, Belarus/Ukraine; Ostrog, Poland/Belarus; Warsaw, Poland; Wolinsky, Russia/Ukraine); LISS / ALPER  (Motol, Russia/Belarus); LEAF / LIFSCHITZ ( Rechitsa, Belarus)


Jacob Heisler
 

My request was for someone born in 1904 and immigrated in 1916, but
was only naturalized in 1956 (after naturalization records switched to
A-Files).

On Tue, Sep 8, 2020 at 10:01 AM N. Summers via groups.jewishgen.org
<summ1=verizon.net@...> wrote:

On Sat, Sep 5, 2020 at 09:00 AM, Jacob Heisler wrote:

I tried ordering an A-File via a FOIA request, but I was told I was
only allowed to request the file through their Genealogy Program, the
one that is about to cost a lot of money.

According to the FOIA request website, any immigration documents over 100 years old must be requested thru the Genealogy program, which requires payment of a fee. That should mean any documents from 1921 and later are available for FOIA requests. Were your requests for older documents?

Nancy Summers

FINKELSTEIN, BOOKSTEIN, KOENIG/SUKOENIG, LUSMAN, GOLDINER, SAGORODER/ZAGORODER (Radziwillow, Belarus/Ukraine; Ostrog, Poland/Belarus; Warsaw, Poland; Wolinsky, Russia/Ukraine); LISS / ALPER (Motol, Russia/Belarus); LEAF / LIFSCHITZ ( Rechitsa, Belarus)