Friday, October 4, 2013

Pursuing Federal Naturalization Records

Inspired by Amy at We Tree, I submitted a request for the naturalization records for my 2nd great-grandfather, Frederick Rendle Croad to USCIS.

The USCIS has records dating back to 1906 so I wasn't sure if they would have any information on Fred or not.  After arriving in the US in 1892, he left a confusing trail of differing naturalization clues:
  • 1) 1900 US Census, Fred states that he has filed his "first papers" 
  • 2) 1910 US Census, Fred states that he is a naturalized citizen
  • 3) 1920 US Census, Fred states that he naturalized in 1911
  • 4) 1930 US Census, Fred incorrectly gives 1896 as his arrival year, states that he is naturalized ("NA") and the year 1915 is crossed out under "NA."
I took a chance and first requested a search of the USCIS index.  About two weeks later I received a reply in the mail which stated that Fred (as Freadrick Randal Croad) naturalized in the Circuit Court at Big Rapids, Michigan on 13 February, 1911.

Also included was his certificate of naturalization number, which I needed today when I submitted my request for his full "C-File."

I was concerned that because of the government shutdown, the genealogy section of the USCIS would be affected, but this does not seem to be the case (their website works fine and they had no problem taking my money).  So, now I wait for Fred's file, which I do not expect to be very thick or detailed.  My biggest question concerning Fred (his naturalization date) has already been answered, so anything else I get out of his file will just be an added bonus.

These records (and the search to see if they even have the records) are not cheap, but I eventually also plan on ordering the files on my great-grandparents.  I already have their naturalization records from their county of residence but I'm intrigued by some of what the USCIS says are exclusive to their files:

"...USCIS C-Files also include several certificate sub-series not duplicated in court records. These unique records relate to: 

  • Additional applications, correspondence, and documents relating to a specific judicial naturalization; 
  • Applications for certificates of derivative citizenship (by wives and children of U.S. citizens); 
  • Applications for replacement certificates of citizenship or certificates of naturalization..."
Since my great-grandfather had to apply twice (there was a question of his character the first time), I'm especially curious as to what extras USCIS might have on him...

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