We just uncovered over 60 naturalization records for Lebanese immigrants in North Carolina from 1909-1945. Available on our website, these rich documents can provide wonderful genealogical information not only about the naturalized person, but also about their families.
However, the large amount of data can be difficult to sift through, so here are a few tips that will help you read them.
1. Think big! These documents provide an abundance of information! Here’s a list of some of the information you may find:
Name; Birth Date; Birth Place; Physical Characteristics, Occupation, Immigration date; Port of Departure, Port of Arrival, Ship Name, Resident Town, Address, Witnesses or people close to the applicant who vouched for their character, Spouse, Children, Birth dates and birth locations of spouses and children.
2. Each individual may have several records! We’ve grouped the naturalization documents by immigrant but each immigrant’s collection can include a number of different documents. Most often, these documents were created at different times and recorded by different clerks; thus, the information on them can vary:
Certificates of Arrival, Declarations of Intention to Naturalize, Petitions for Naturalization (or Citizenship), and letters pertaining to the legal process of naturalization. Most often, these documents were created at different times and recorded by different clerks; thus, the information on them can vary.
3. Names might be spelled differently! If the immigrant changed his or her name, the original name may appear on an earlier record while an anglicized name may appear on a later record. Sometimes immigrants relocated between filing their Declaration of Intention and filing their Petition for Naturalization. Thus, you may find clues as to multiple places they lived in the United States.
4. Location, location, location! Some of the records may provide more detailed information about locations. For instance, some clerks or immigrants thought it sufficient to list place of birth as Syria or Mount Lebanon while others included the name of the town of birth. Read all the documents carefully, even though they can seem redundant, to get the best information.
5. Were they denied citizenship? Finally, read the last page of Petitions for Naturalization/Citizenship carefully because in some cases, the immigrant was denied citizenship and the document will tell you why.
If you would like some assistance in your research, let us know!
This post was contributed by Marjorie Merod, Researcher and Digital Media extraordinaire!