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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Using Naturalization Records to find Ancestors

Bill's Question:
I have yet to find any of my ancestors through the many lists in Olive Tree. The most elusive at this time are my great grandparents, Michael and Mary McDermott.

Michael and Mary came over, according to the 1910 census, in 1881. They were married in Haslingden, Lancashire, England on 25 April 1881. In the 1881 census in Hapton, Lancashire, England, Michael is living alone in a rooming house of some kind. My assumption is that the census is just prior to the wedding.

In the 1900 and 1920 census, they indicate they came over in 1882. Their first child, John Aloysius McDermott, was born 23 May 1882 in Chicago, Illinois. So, sometime between 25 April 1881 and 23 May 1882 they came over to the US.

I have checked ships to the US from England both on Olive Tree and Ancestry to no avail. Someone said they may have come through Canada. I have yet to find them there either. In addition, I have checked the Castle Garden website. The Ellis Island site would do me no good since the dates do not coincide with the beginning of Ellis Island.

I do find Michael McDermotts coming from England to the US, but none with a Mary. Conversely, I also find many Mary McDermotts on many ships, but none with a Michael. Also, many times the ages do not line up. I know that ages can be misleading, but if I could find one list with both on them that would be great.

I am not sure where to go from here.

Olive Tree Answer: Dear Bill.
Our ancestors do not always make things easy for us; often times, members of the family traveled here at different times. And they may have travelled by different routes. You may never find your Michael and Mary travelling together.

However, you are fortunate that your family was in Chicago. There are many resources for you to turn to.

Michael indicates that he was naturalized; his application may give more details on his emigration date. And if he was naturalized before 1892, the Chicago Voter Registration files will supply details which will assist in finding the exact date of naturalization. Footnote.comicon has Naturalization Records online. Also see NaturalizationRecords.com website for free Naturalization Records and other citizenship papers

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