This week I came across a Naturalization Record Index Card for my husband’s great grandmother, Rose La Mantia Murabito. It stated she was repatriated. This confused me a great deal because she was born in Chicago, which is in the United States last I checked. I doubled checked her birth certificate to make sure I had it and it was her. It was. So why in 1939 was Rose being repatriated?
A kind blog reader commented on my post regarding this issue and sent me to a website regarding loss of citizenship due to marriage. This thought crossed my mind before I wrote the post but I could not locate anything specific on this. When researching both my lines and my husband’s, I suppose I just assumed all of the women in our direct lines became citizens. It never occurred to me that one of the women in my tree would have lost her citizenship until I found this index card. Due to this discovery, I took a closer look at my direct lines. Rose was the only woman on either side that was born in the U.S. but married an Alien after 1907. The rest of the women were either married upon arrival; married an Alien after arrival and was naturalized with him; or obtained naturalization on her own.
Today as I dig further into the Naturalization process and the information I thought to be correct, until this case arose, I am learning a lot about the changes in laws. KindredConnections has a fantastic article on the Naturalization Process called “Where are they? Finding Your Ancestors’ US Naturalization Records.” In the article’s section about Women, the author, Karen Clifford, states, “An act passed in 1907 stated that a woman’s nationality depended entirely on her husband’s. This meant that if her husband gained citizenship, so did she. It also meant that if a woman who had been born a US citizen married an alien, she lost her citizenship. She could repatriate only if and when her husband naturalized.”
That completely explains Rose’s case. Isn’t it funny that I have read many articles on Naturalization and listened to speakers, yet never heard or saw this tidbit of information? I guess it is a good example of having blinders on and only seeing or hearing what we need at the time for the research we are doing.
Another great resource I discovered is from the National Archives. There is an informative article on their website from the Prologue Magazine, Summer 1998, Vol. 30, No. 2, called “Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married . . .” Women and Naturalization, ca. 1802-1940 By Marian L. Smith
If you have other great Naturalization Process websites, please post them in the comments section.