Family History Research

Naturalization Records

Saturday I attended the DuPage County Genealogical Society Conference in St. Charles, IL. I heard John Philip Colletta talk about Naturalization Records and Advanced Problem Solving. It was fantastic.

One thing he mentioned was that those declaring their intentions to become citizens were not given a copy of their declaration. It was only in some cases where a person was maybe moving to a new area before final naturalization or wanted the record for a reason that a certified copy was provided.

After Colletta said this, I thought wow, really? This was strange because I have an original certified copy of my husband’s great grandfather’s Declaration of Intention. So now I’m making notes in my conference syllabus to investigate this. The great grandfather died before he was naturalized. Why he would want a copy of his Declaration? Was he planning on leaving Chicago? Did he need it for a specific reason?

Then I did a little research on the topic. I wonder if I mis-heard Colletta when he stated the people did not receive a copy. Maybe he meant before 1906? After 1906, those declaring were given a copy as the paperwork changed. It also raises the question, if the courts were not giving out copies of the Declaration, how could you just walk into another court and apply for final papers? Colletta made it clear several times you could declare and apply for final papers in any court and it did not have to be the same court. What was the process by which they verified you declared your intention?

I will have to look more into that. I did not find that answer in my brief research yesterday. If you have experience with this, please comment.

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Website to Follow: DuPage County Genealogical Society

If you live in the Chicagoland area, I encourage you to pay a visit to the DuPage County Genealogical Society webpage. You can find  a wealth of information here such as online Cemetery, Census, Marriage, and Military records for the DuPage County area. Their meeting schedule is posted as well as classes they offer. The Society offers publications available through their website for purchase. They also have a list of ongoing and new projects for members to become involved in.

I attended the DCGS conference in February and it was fantastic!  It had been a while since I attended anything like that because of busy schedules with my family.  I had the pleasure of hearing Elissa Scalise Powell and John Philip Colletta speak. This was the first time I heard Elissa speak and I learned a great deal about the Research Cycle and the Research Report. Both very helpful to me since I am now beginning to write my family’s history.

I heard John speak several years ago at another local conference and he was just as entertaining and informative this time. I could listen to John speak yearly because while some of the information I hear is “old,” some ideas are “new”.  With each year I find myself in a new place in my research and some of his “old” ideas now have a great deal of meaning for me. If you have not had the opportunity to hear John speak about Naturalization and Immigration records, I encourage you to do so. You will come away with so much knowledge!

The DCGS is a resource not to be missed if you live in the area! I am looking forward to attending their conference again in February 2011.

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