Friday, June 24, 2011

Follow Friday - Immigration and Naturalization

Yesterday we attended a presentation by professional genealogist, Penny Hartzell, on immigration and naturalization.  In a concise manner Penny lead the audience through the three phases of immigration: Phase 1 was 1820 – 1854. This period covers the failure of the German Revolution and the Irish Potato Famine. Phase 2 covers the years 1855 – 1891 when Castle Garden opened in New York harbor.  Immigrants’ entry through Castle Garden was a way for the government to better control the great influx. Many people were being scammed at the docks, left with no money or luggage.  Officials at Castle Garden provided security and assistance for those arriving on U.S. shores.  Many marriages occurred at Castle Garden as immigrants had to be met by someone. Women were especially vulnerable, so they would arrange to have a male waiting for them and a quick marriage performed.  Phase 3 of immigration covers the years 1892 – 1920 and the establishment of Ellis Island. Penny mentioned that during the years 1890-1900 the U.S. had 30,725 immigrants per month.

She then went through three scenarios of what she found and did not find in immigration records giving her audience a good perspective.  She reminded everyone that Italian wives traveled under their maiden name, so when looking for this family, look for the children. 

Canadian border crossing lists began in 1906.

Naturalization indexes and cards are being put online every day, so keep looking. She mentioned,, and of course Ancestry as good sources for immigration and naturalization information.

My Follow Friday entry therefore is Penny shared an immigration form available on this site. The form covers the years 1880 through 1930 and is a good way to track and compile what your immigrant ancestor reports on each census. This Jewish Genealogy site has a wealth of information, and of course, there are many more useful forms shared there.

A couple of years ago I had asked Penny about my great-grandfather’s naturalization documentation. Since the year of his naturalization was 1887 she said there wouldn’t be much of anything. I asked yesterday if that answer was still correct. She said there should be a card for him and that I should take the document I have and go to NARA in New York City, show them the document and ask what they might have in their files.

My husband couldn't wait... so we had to go check and we found the card for my great-grandfather, Patrick Doyle. But as you can see, there is no information there that I didn’t already have. Except for the name, John Carroll. The back of the card just states Great Britain/Ireland. 

Sigh... my family continues to be a trial…but I shall keep looking

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