If you missed last Tuesday’s USCIS History Office webinar, “Married at Ellis Island…., 1892-1924,” you missed a good one. I won’t review all the details, but here are a few tidbits: It’s estimated that perhaps 300 women a year “married at Ellis Island” to their intended spouse in lieu of deportation on the grounds of “likely to become a public charge” or risk of falling into prostitution. The “Record of Detained Aliens” (title may vary) that follows the regular passenger lists for a given vessel (on microfilm or online) may have the notation “married” or similar words as a part of the information for the detained woman. The marriage record will be found in the New York City marriage records for that period which are online on Ancestry.com. A marriage on the alien woman’s date of arrival or during the day(s) she was detained is a good clue that the marriage happened “at Ellis Island” and was a requirement for her admission to the United States.
The Record isn’t Always Where You Expect to Find it.
April 14, 2017, marked the 105th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Its passenger list went down with the ship.
However, some of its passengers were rescued by the Carpathia, and naturally, one would expect to find those persons listed on a passenger list. For many years, the Carpathia (Titanic) list was thought to be lost. In the 1990s, however, the list was discovered.
This list was erroneously filed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service with June 18, 1912, arrivals, and can be found in NARA microfilm publication T715, Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1897-1957, Roll 1883, Vol. 4183, which is online on various genealogy websites. A direct link to the individual Carpathia-Titanic passenger list pages is online at the National Archives website.
Marian L. Smith wrote an article on this rediscovery: “The RMS Titanic Passenger Manifest: Record of Survivors – and Revival of a Record,” Voyage (Journal of the Titanic International Society, Inc.), Volume 29 (1999), pp. 4-9.
The record you seek may not exist … but sometimes it’s hiding in plain sight. It pays to be creative and persistent.
While we normally think of naturalization as a two step process whereby the alien first declares his intent to become a citizen and then petitions for naturalization, there were exceptions to that procedure.
For example, from 1824 to 1906, aliens who came to the U.S. while under age 18 could effectively declare their intent to become a citizen at the same time they filed their petition for naturalization once they had reached age 21 or more and had lived in the U.S. for five years (three of which as a minor). Let the law speak for itself:
So, to summarize: the alien still had to meet the five year requirement for residency, and three years of that had to be while he was a minor.
Many courts used specific forms for these cases that combined declaration of intent language and petition language in one document, and they made sure to include the word “minor.” Some may say the applicant “arrived as a minor,” while others will have the words “Minor Naturalization” emblazoned across the title or as a watermark.
For more on naturalization, see Naturalization Records and Women and Naturalization, Part I and Part II.