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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Finding Russian Jewish immigration in Naturalization Records

On Jan. 3/09 Irene asked : (Jewish) Grandpa Harry STONE
b. Russia Feb 1887 (WWI draft card, Orchard St)
d. Jan 1945 Manhattan (d cert, W 21st St)
m. Oct 1915 (m cert, civil, he living E 12th St)

4 kids Alice, Lillie, Harry, Wm (1920, 1930 censuses LES) - only censuses found him on. Conflicting arrival dates on censuses (1901, 1905 I think) www.ellisisland.org has 1 (Jewish) Harry STONE, Russian bricklayer, ~ 1905 how to be sure?

MY ANSWER: Hi Irene. You've asked some good questions and given me lots of details so that I can try to help you. You'll notice your query is edited, as I wanted to begin with one question. So let's start with the census. I had a look and in the 1930 census, Harry's immigration year is given as 1895, in 1920 it is 1901. Immigration years are one of the most MIS-remembered years of all, so you can't completely believe what is on the census. Always search a year or two on either side of years given.

In any case, a very important clue in these census records is the information on citizenship and naturalization. In 1920 Harry says he has his first papers (PA) and that he received them in 1915. In 1930 he is naturalized. This means that between 1915 and 1930 there should be naturalization papers for him.

Footnote.com has Naturalization Recordsicon from NARA so I had a look on your behalf. Bingo!

Harry's Naturalization Petition of June 1922 is online, as is his Oath of Allegiance. He gives his date of birth (Feb. 12, 1887), place of birth (looks like Grodno, Russia), his wife's name, date and place of birth, his three children's names, dates and locations of birth and his arrival year and name of ship.

He sailed from Liverpool to New York in January 1898 arriving February 1898 on board what looks like Nicholas II. You can see for yourself by either subscribing to Footnote or simply purchasing this specific document. IT's very reasonable to buy one document and you could get both his naturalization paper and his oath of allegiance.

The source information for Harry's Naturalization Petition is Naturalization New York Southern Petitions for Naturalization of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944.icon This link will take you directly to the search engine for these documents and you can type in Harry's name to see his records.

Before 1906, the declaration of intent generally contains more genealogically useful information than the petition. Petitions before 1906 usually show only a name, former
allegiance, and date of naturalization. This is an interesting example, because in your case, Harry's Petition shows quite a bit of information. You may want to think about a couple of things though -- if Harry is accurate regarding the year he arrived, he was only 9 years old. That means he likely came with family - parents or an aunt or uncle or someone older.

I say "if Harry was accurate..." because before 1906, an immigrant's arrival record did not have to be verified. (after 1906 officials had to locate the actual passenger record before the individual could naturalize). Because Harry's did not need verification, there is the chance he is wrong. But I would use what he says as clues to help you find that ships' passenger list.

I also would think about his name. Harry Stone is not a Russian name. So - try to find out what Russian or Jewish first name might convert to Harry. You mentioned in your email query that family lore states his surname was perhaps originally Sagendorf. I'd hunt under that name too.

JewishGen has resourcess for Grodno which might be helpful to you.

Hopefully my findings have left you some good clues to look in other resources. Good luck! I enjoyed the challenge.

5 comments:

  1. What you are doing is just wonderful. Thank You very much.

    Linda In NC

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  2. Can you tell me how I might locate the ship list for the (Emperor) Nicholas II. I can't find it anywhere online, other than it existed. It's the one my Gfather came on.

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  3. Hi Irene

    The ship name may be incorrect. Remember - if Harry is accurate regarding the year he arrived, he was only 9 years old.

    With Naturalizations before 1906, an immigrant's arrival record did not have to be verified. (after 1906 officials had to locate the actual passenger record before the individual could naturalize). Because Harry's did not need verification, there is the chance he is wrong.

    I suspect his dates of departure and arrival are pretty darn close, if not dead on, because he is so exact (month, day, year)

    But the ship name? Well he could just be remembering part of the name, or something he overheard from whoever he sailed with. It is unlikely in my mind that at his young age on arrival, he would accurately recall the name of the ship.

    You could try variations of the ship name. Different spelling, or rearrangement of words in the name, or part of the name... just use his naturalization papers as clues for further research.

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  4. Lorine,
    I'm fascinated by what you do! Thanks.
    Some of your links are no longer valid. Any chance you could update them? I'd love to have the Naturalization New York Southern link you were using.

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  5. Thanks for letting me know about broken links. I'll have a hunt and see if I can find an updated one!

    Lorine

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