Thursday, July 2, 2009

Citizenship vs love

As the 4th approaches here in the USA, we begin to get ready to party. Many of us however, also contemplate what it means to be a citizen.

Naturalization processes and requirements have changed a number of times, for researchers this means we find ourselves trying to discover the rules that were in affect when our ancestors lived.

Would you give up your citizenship for love?? There was a time when a lady would lose her American citizenship if she married an "Alien".

This is a snippet of the 1920 U.S. Census, happens it is for Black Hawk County, Iowa, but that really does not matter. (Hint, if you click on the graphic it will open to a larger view.)

This is Eula Lashbrook Jensen and her second husband Carl Jensen. Carl came to the US in 1904, as you can see from column 13. He has filed his papers for Naturalization as you can see from column 14. But, look carefully at column 14 again, and you will see Eula is shown to be an "Alien".

Eula became an Alien, when she married Carl, even though she was born in Iowa, and her father was born in Wisconsin. Eula's grandparents were born in England and in New York. So, by my count she was a second generation natural born citizen (via her paternal lines), but she was an alien in 1920.

By paying attention to those small little boxes on the census reports we may discover really interesting historical lessons and a few oddities as well.

The search continues of course, so far this is all I have discovered about Carl's attempt to become an American citizen:

According to "Black Hawk County, Iowa Petition for Naturalization Book 1", compiled by Black Hawk County Genealogical Society, 1988, we find:

Jensen: Carl Christian
Dist. Ct. B.H. Co. Ia Occupation: Farmer & Road Superintendent. b. 3 Apr 1884, Tollose, Den. Emigrated: ca 11 Oct. 1902 from Liverpool Eng. to New York on vessel Locania arr. 18 Oct. 1922 (??) Intention 5 Mar 1910 Waterloo, Ia. Not married. Denied. Dated: 18 Dec. 1915 B.H. Co., Ia. Nat. # 206.


lindalee said...

So he was denied citizenship? I wonder why. My grandfather had his citizenship taken away. He was born in England and came to the US with his folks as a young boy. When his Dad applied for US citizenship, my grandfather was away fighting in WWI for Canada. Hence, he did not become a US citizen. They took it to court and his citizenship was given back...then unbeknownst to him it was taken away again. He paid taxes and voted and did not find out he was not a citizen until 1960 when he applied for a passport. I did a blog about this insanity. HAPPY 4TH OF JULY TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

Carol said...

Linda, No idea why. After I wrote the blog today, I did a bit more searching. On the 1915 Iowa census, it states, naturalized. On the 1925 Iowa census it shows "No" to the question, are you naturalized. I still have not found any more records or indexes online that show any more on this. And, the search goes on! LOL Happy 4th to you and yours as well.

Sheri said...

Many women who married men who were not citizens didn't realize that they would lose their own citizenship and take that of her spouse. My own 2nd great grandmother did not know this until 1917 when WWI happened and she and her husband had to register as "enemy aliens."

Carol said...

Sheri, Thanks for that comment. Never had entered my mind, but, when you explain it, it makes perfect sense. I hope you got a great document from that registration. Not sure I have seen one, might have to go digging.