Saturday, February 3, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 5: "Census"

Copyright 2018, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Back in July of 2009, as a newbie blogger I wrote a piece I called "Citizenship vs love".  I decided to revisit that post as part of my participation in Amy Johnson Crow's 2018 version of the 52 Ancestors meme, week 5. "Census".  One of the questions asked was, "What intriguing find have you made in a census?"  I have to say, all these years later, that the story of Eula Lashbrook and her citizenship still intrigues me.  What follows is in part, the original post, and in part some new insights on the whole story.  As always, review, review, review, plays a HUGE part of my research these days.  And so:

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, Black Hawk County, Iowa.

This is Eula Lashbrook Jensen and her second husband Carl Jensen. Carl claims to have come to the US in 1904, as you can see from column 13.  (I have never really found any documentation to support the 1904 year of immigration column for Carl.  The search continues.) He states he has filed his papers for Naturalization as you can see from column 14. However, what really interested me is column 14, and you will see Eula is shown to be an "Alien".

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.  Her direct paternal lineage goes like so:  Eula, born 1890 in Iowa.  Father, George Lashbrook, who was born 1860 in Wisconsin.  Her grandfather, William N. Lashbrook, who was born 1824 in England.  Her great-grandfather was Richard Lashbrook, who was born in England around 1793.  Richard and his wife, Ann, with a pack of kids, left England about 1830, traveling first to the Quebec Canada area, and a year later moved into the Clinton County New York area.  In 1840 Richard filed a Declaration in Clinton County New York.

However, Eula became an Alien, when she married Carl in 1919, even though she was born in Iowa, and her father was born in Wisconsin. Naturalization processes and requirements have changed many times since 1790.  For researchers this means we find ourselves searching the rules that were in effect when our ancestors lived. I ended up here, during one such search. Now, please note, this site will not be sufficient for the legal eagles, but, does help the novices, like Moi.  I believe the law change of 1907 is what applies to Eula's situation:

"Act of March 2, 1907 
1. An American woman – even born in the US – lost her citizenship when she married an alien and takes on his nationality. She could obtain it back if her husband naturalized. 
Total residency in US: 5 years; 1 year in state; 2 years between declaration & petition."

When we pay close attention to those small columns on the census reports we discover really interesting historical lessons and a few oddities as well. 

Paying attention to those small columns brings me to the 1940 US Census enumeration of Carl and Eula. (I did not have the 1940 census when I first wrote about Carl and Eula in 2009.) Here is a partial screen shot, showing Carl C. (indexed by the way at one genie site as Tensen) Jensen.

As I studied this, my eye was drawn to that "4".  Here is another screen shot of the same thing, different view.  I have drawn a sad looking arrow to the "4".

I noted this was in column 16 of the census, but, I had no idea what column 16 was supposed to record, so, off I went again and I ended up here.  I note this is considered an "Abridged" version of the instructions.  After you have fun and learn something by reading along, head over to the bottom of page 8 and the top of page 9.  Yes, here are two screen captures that address column 16 specifically:


I have looked at these paragraphs, and frankly, I just do not see anything about a number.  As a follow up, when I noted that these pages came from an "abridged" version of instructions, I went looking again and found the full deal here.  I see nothing about numbers. Just "Na", "Pa", "Al" and "Am Cit".

So, what does that number "4" mean?? If I had a hunch, I would say the enumerator for some reason recorded how long Carl had been a naturalized citizen.  The search will continue, of course.

And, that is about as far as I have been able to get with this (remembering life and such has a way of getting in the way of research, dang it!).

So, what did these two census enumerations tell me? Well, that I need to do more research, lots more.  And, that naturalization laws have changed many times.  And that review is ALWAYS a good thing.  That even after all these years as a researcher, there is more to learn.  Keep an open mind, watch those thin little columns. Don't be afraid to set aside a search and come back later, even years later.

* Previously I had discovered this and only this 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.

Of course, this is confusing and does not match the 1920 census enumeration that states he arrived in 1904.  Contacting the court directly for a copy might explain away my confusion.  This source quote states he filed an intention in 1910, but, arrived in 1902 or 1922??  (I may have a photo copy of the above at home in my hard copy files, yes, I could have typed it wrong, of course!)

Slugging around in the mud, I am!  LOL

**  #52ancestors


Mel said...

Carol, This is really interesting. I didn't know that women lost their citizenship when they married an alien in the time period you are speaking of. I am trying to think of examples in my tree, but can't think of any. I will be curious what the 4 turns out to be.

Carol said...

I can tell you I was shocked when I saw the Al by Eula's name. I think my next best "attack" to this may be the local courts. I fussed around for some time online and just could not come up with anything, cept frustration. Courthouse research, down and dirty, I think is the answer. I may try to find someone to do that for me.