Family History Research

Madness Monday – The Lithuanian Side of the Family

In a few days I am taking a class at the Newberry Library and wanted to stick around afterward and do a little research. I started updating my research files and began focusing on my husband’s Lithuanian side of the family. I remembered why I don’t spend too much time on them. They are so difficult to trace! I have had more success with my Czech side and Brian’s Italian side.

This is what I am facing:

Alexander Urban b. 1874 d. 1917 married Vincenta Norushas (Norkus?). The family told me Norkus was her maiden name. Yet I found her obituary this weekend which stated Norushas was her maiden name. Does Norkus=Norushas? I understand how the Czechs change the spelling of the woman’s last name after marriage but I am completely unfamiliar with the way the Lithuanians do this.  I cannot locate a ship log for her. I cannot locate a marriage license for her marriage to Alexander or her second husband Vincent William Tatarelis.

Then there are the Kaminski/Kaminsky/Kaminskai and Yasulis branches of the family. Anton Kaminski m. Veronica Yasulis. I have a ship log for both, who arrived separately. I am certain Anton’s log is his because he lists his brother in -law Yurgis Yasulis at 4409 S. Wood Street, Chicago as his contact. I cannot find anything on Yurgis beyond that. I looked at Behind the Name to see if Yurgis became John or another Americanized name. I found Yurgis could be Jurgis. Still, I cannot find anything on Yurgis beyond the ship log and the family stayed in the home after arrival for many years.

Finding Declaration and Naturalization information for Anton has been difficult too. I have searched IRAD with no luck. I keep checking the Cook County Declaration Database for various spellings (this is an ongoing project for the county). And of course the various Census records show him being either seven, five, or four years older than Veronica which makes his year of birth anywhere from 1873 to 1882. His grave says 1873 so my searches typically start there with a +2 or +5 difference to search.

If you have done Lithuanian research, I would love to hear your tips and suggestions. Have you searched something I should avoid because it is a time waster? Did you find a fabulous source? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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Book Review – Women Adrift

I was looking through my bookcase this morning and came across a book I read in a Chicago Women’s History grad school called Women Adrift, Independent Wage Earners in Chicago, 1880-1930 by Joanne J. Meyerowitz. I thought this would be a great book to mention this week since I wrote an article about women and naturalization.

I do not have any women in my family who went off on their own to become “women adrift” but this book was very interesting to read. The chapters walk the reader through what some of the women experienced. Chapter 1 discusses being apart from the family. Chapter 2 is about exercising caution in the big city. Chapter 3 mentions orphans and innocents while Chapter 4 discusses Surrogate Families. Chapter 5 goes in depth about the people who helped these women and Chapter 6 talks about the women being Urban Pioneers.

Meyerowitz addresses issues such as sexuality of this “new breed” of women coming to the cities; what social circles formed and why; the vices that existed in the cities and how the women handled them or fell prey to them; and contains many tables with statistics, several illustrations, and lengthy note and bibliography sections.

Whether you had a Woman Adrift in your family or not, this book is well worth your time to read. You might just see some similarities between these women and second or third generation women of immigrants in your families who branched out on their own after the 1930′s.

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Women and the Naturalization Process

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.

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Follow-up to Mind Boggling Question post

I posted my question on my Chicago Family History blog and someone sent me a link to check out regarding loss of citizenship due to marriage.  It appears that since my Rose La Mantia, a U.S. citizen, married Charles Murabito, an Alien, she lost her citizenship. I have not found any proof that Charles was ever Naturalized, and because Rose applied for citizenship in 1939, six years after he died, I might be correct in that he was never a citizen.

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