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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Using Naturalization Records to find a Ships Passenger List

On Jan 15, 2009 Janet wrote to Ask Olive Tree:
I would be so grateful if you could find my ancestor----on a Passenger List. Carl August Munzner born 3 May 1846 in Zwickau, Saxony, Germany. Upon arrival he changed his name to August Charles Munzner. According to the census, he immigrated in 1870. In 1880 he was living in Baltimore, Maryland

Olive Tree answer: Hi Janet, Your question sounded more like a lookup request, which isn't the purpose of Ask Olive Tree blog. But you gave some census information which allowed me to have a look to see if you perhaps overlooked any immigration or naturalization clues in the census records.

I think I can point you in the right direction to find Carl August.

The 1900, 1910 ,1920 and 1930 census identify citizenship status, with notations showing the individual was an Alien, or had started the Naturalization process or had his final papers. What great clues to help narrow the time frame for
finding the naturalization and ships passenger list records! The 1870 census also provideds a tick mark column to indicate if the individual was a U.S. citizen. There are many valuable clues to naturalization and immigration in the census records

But back to Carl August! A check of the US Census records on Ancestry.com showed that in 1910 he stated he was naturalized. I didn't look any further in the census, I'll leave that up to you. But I did check Footnote.com for their Naturalization Records and there he was. You will find him in the Indexes to Naturalization Petitions to the U.S. Circuit and District Courts for Maryland, 1797-1951icon

You have to be a member of Footnote.com but you can also buy just the one record. The online record gives August Munzer's exact date of naturalization, name of the court and folio and page number so you would be able to get his full record.

Don't forget too that just because the 1900 census shows him immigrating in 1870, does not mean that is correct. An immigration year is often mis-remembered so you should always allow a year or two on either side of the year given.

But finding his naturalization papers may help narrow that immigration year and help you to find his name on a ships passenger list.

Good luck! Let us know here on Ask Olive Tree how your search goes.

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