24 Replies Latest reply on Jul 30, 2021 8:05 PM by Susannah Brooks

    Seeking birth certificate for deceased father

    Stacy Dietzler Adventurer

      Seeking birth certificate in Warsaw, Poland 1926 for Deceased Father. In the process of trying to obtain dual citizenship in U.S. & Poland. I'm not able to locate my deceased father's birth certificate from 1929 or any family records of their existence prior to immigrating to the U.S on 5/16/1939 via the Aquitania. I've reached out to the U.S Embassy in Krakow and waiting to hear back regarding any Polish passport or visa documents. Through ancestry.com, I've located the ship manifest and naturalization certificate but nothing else in Warsaw, Poland. I have to show some documentation that my father was a Polish citizen and I'm hitting roadblocks.

        • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
          Zachary Dabbs Scout

          Dear Stacy Dietzler,

           

          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

           

          We suggest that you contact the National Digital Archives of Poland, ul. Hankiewicza 1, 02-103 Warszawa, Poland. The email address is nac@nac.gov.pl.

           

          You may also find NARA’s Resources for Genealogists, as well as the History Hub Blog titled Suggestions and Advice for Family History Researchers. Also, the FamilySearch Research wiki for Poland Genealogy may be useful.

           

          Another potential resource is the Immigration and Naturalization Service, their records may provide additional documentation and/or details that may support your research. All INS records are now overseen by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS maintains duplicate copies of court records (including the certificate of citizenship) created from September 27, 1906 through March 31, 1956 within Certificate Files (C-Files). Beginning on April 1, 1956, INS began filing all naturalization records in a subject’s Alien File (A-File). C-Files and certain A-Files may be requested through the USCIS Genealogy Program.

           

          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

           

            • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
              Stacy Dietzler Adventurer

              Thank you for this info. Eight months ago, I retained a service in Poland to help with my search and unfortunately, no records have been found since Prewar documentation is almost non-existent. They contacted several agencies including The National Digital Archives of Poland on my behalf. I also contact the USCIS - FOIA and they denied my request for a copy of my deceased father's naturalization certificate even though I submitted a copy of his death certificate that I recently obtained as well as a clean copy of his naturalization certificate from ancestry.com

              USCIS referred me the U.S Genealogy and they weren't helpful either. There are living family members to help with my search and this has been a frustrating and sad process not being able to complete my family ancestry and quest for dual citizenship.

                • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                  Sabine Gorgas Scout

                  Hello Stacy,

                   

                  I found this thread too late after I already answered in the other thread.

                   

                  To obtain records you should write to the Civil Registry Office in Warsaw.

                  Address you can find here:

                  https://archiwum.mswia.gov.pl/pl/form/148,Adresy-USC-w-Polsce-Addresses-of-Civil-Registry-Offices.html

                  https://archiwum.mswia.gov.pl/en

                   

                  As far as I understand the information you also need to proof a justified interest to get the birth certificate of your father, what means you should also proof that you are his daughter.

                  https://pl.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/local-resources-of-u-s-citizens/vital-records-from-poland/

                  https://www.gov.pl/web/mswia/urzedy-stanu-cywilnego

                  https://www.gov.pl/web/mswia-en

                   

                  Should the records from the Civil Registry Office be destroyed in WWII they will tell you. Maybe your father was baptized, so there could be records with the church. For that you need to know the address where they lived in Warsaw. I would try to contact then the churches in that area. These newer records are probably not online yet.

                   

                  Hope it helps a little.

                  Sabine

                    • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                      Stacy Dietzler Adventurer

                      Thank you Sabine for your reply and links which I have shared with the service I am working in so they can cross-reference if they haven't already contacted those agencies. I was able to obtain my birth certificate and my father's death certificate as well as an ancestry.com copy of his Naturalization Certificate. We are having an extremely difficult time finding any documents of my father or his immediate family including where they lived in Warsaw until May 1939 and without those critical documents, I'm not sure where else to search. My ancestors are of Jewish decent so unfortunately, we have no churches that would be relevant to my search. Appreciate your help and fingers crossed, something may turn up!

                        • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                          Sabine Gorgas Scout

                          Hello Stacy,

                          unfortunately I have no experience with the Jewish genealogy at all, but I can imagine that it is not easy because of the entire situation in Warsaw in the 1930's and 40's. Did you contact the several Jewish Institutes and Organizations in Poland or the US or maybe in Germany? They should know where all the still existing records could be.

                          Maybe you can provide the name of your father so I can try to find your information in ancestry and look from there, when you do not want to write it here.

                           

                          I have no idea whether you can post to me directly without publishing it here.

                           

                          Sabine

                            • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                              Stacy Dietzler Adventurer

                              Hello Sabine,

                               

                              The Polish agency I have been working with has contacted many agencies in Poland and in Germany on my behalf. I have also contacted agencies in the US. We keep getting negative responses. I have several documents on ancestry. com for my father - Ryszard/Richard Szot (Schott) born 9/13/1926. The most important document I need to have any chance of obtaining dual citizenship is a copy of his birth certificate which we can not locate anywhere. It's just my mother and my sister left in our family and unfortunately, they don't have any documents either. It has been an extremely frustrating and disappointing process and mostly sad as it's as though my ancestors never existed prior to entering the U.S.

                                • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                                  Cheryl Bukowski Wayfarer

                                  Hello,

                                  I am also currently looking for my Polish family members in Poland and how they came to the U.S.  I do understand you are looking for something  different.  You could try the website Jewish Gen. They have a ton of info. They may even let you look up the last place your family lived, their job, ect.  You can also look at the website https://geneteka.genealodzy.pl/index.php. This site will give you how many times your last name appears in Poland and hopefully will give you information on marriages, deaths,  and births.  They do go according to church records but also to court doc. Cindi's list is helpful too. It will give you links to other sites. My family is from Warsaw also and I have Jewish in my blood somewhere. I think that even though Warsaw was destroyed. The Polish Churches stored every record they could and the Nazis keep records also.  It took me years and different name spellings to find my relatives. I hope this helps.

                                    • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                                      Stacy Dietzler Adventurer

                                      Thanks Cheryl for the info which I checked out. My initial searches unfortunately came up empty as I tried several iteration of names and input my father, grandparents and great parents names. Any other tips you can provide as to how you were successful with your search would be appreciated. I can relate to how frustrating and disappointing it can be trying to find any hint of info. I'm so glad you were able to locate your relatives!

                              • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                                Stacy Dietzler Adventurer

                                Many thanks for the links which I have shared with the agency I am working with to cross-reference which they have done so and nothing turned up. They haven't given up and continue to look at all resources.

                          • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                            Alice Lane Pioneer

                            Hi Stacy,

                            Welcome to History Hub

                            I checked the History of the ship the RMS Aquitania but did not find a voyage date of 5-16-1939. Do you have a copy of that to share? The following two items have the information about the ship with the dates of sailing.

                            Cunard White Star Line Passenger Lists 1934-1949 | GG Archives (gjenvick.com)

                            RMS Aquitania Ephemera Collection | GG Archives (gjenvick.com)

                             

                            Also, would you be willing to share your father's name with History Hub?

                             

                            Alice Lane

                            Research Volunteer

                              • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                                Susannah Brooks Pioneer

                                The Aquitania did arrive in NY on 16 May 1939 and there is one Jewish family, whose last residence was Warsaw on board with 2 children approximately the right age.  I am not posting the names, because the person who posted the query seem reluctant to do so.  Their US immigration visa numbers are listed on the passenger list and once NARA re-opens, these records might be available at NARA College Park. 

                                • Visa records from 1910-1940
                                Archives II Reference Branch (RD-DC), Room 2400
                                National Archives at College Park
                                8601 Adelphi Road
                                College Park, MD 20740-6001

                                Also on the passenger list is the name of their nearest relative in Warsaw with her address, which might lead researchers in Poland to Jewish records for that area of Warsaw.

                                  • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                                    Stacy Dietzler Adventurer

                                    Thank you Susannah for your reply and apologies for the delay as I had a difficult time trying to reset my password on this site for the past two days.

                                     

                                    I provided the Polish agency I have retained with the visa numbers as well as the nearest relative to no avail. All of the records in Warsaw were destroyed per the agency and they also found that the family of the nearest relative (my great-aunt) and her family all perished.

                                     

                                    I am not familiar with the NARA. Is this different from the USCIS/FOIA which I have also contacted and was denied a copy of my father's naturalization certificate even though I had a copy of his death certificate, my birth certificate and a good copy of his naturalization certificate from ancestry.com?

                                      • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                                        Zachary Dabbs Scout

                                        Hello Stacy Dietzler,

                                         

                                        Yes, this is different. For more information about Visa Case Files, 1914 - 1940, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at archives2reference@nara.gov.

                                         

                                        Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.

                                          • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                                            Stacy Dietzler Adventurer

                                            Thanks - can you share how NARA is different from USCIS/Geneology? What I am trying to primarily locate is a copy of my deceased father's birth certificate from Warsaw, Poland in 1926? I looked on the NARA site and not sure if I should be asking for other documents?

                                              • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                                                Zachary Dabbs Scout

                                                Hello Stacy Dietzler,

                                                 

                                                The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent agency within the Executive branch; our holdings and resources are separate from those of USCIS. NARA is the depository of the permanently valuable non-current records of the Federal Government.  Our mission is to preserve these records and make them available to the public as much as possible.

                                                 

                                                For more information regarding NARA’s immigration and naturalization records, and how they relate to those held by USCIS, please contact afiles.kansascity@nara.gov. They may be able to help you interpret the responses you received from USCIS and possibly prepare a new request.

                                                 

                                                NARA will not be able to provide the birth certificate you seek but hopefully our records might help you locate other sufficient documentation. A better avenue for locating the certificate, if you or your agent have not already tried it, would be, as Sabine Gorgas suggested, the Office of Vital Statistics (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego) in the town/city where your father was born. We would also suggest requesting a copy of the passport application for your father that was submitted by your grandparents to the local government from the Office of Vital Statistics for the city where they lived and/or emigrated from Poland if you have not already done so. A list of such offices and their respective contact information is available at this link.

                                                 

                                                We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

                                                 

                                                [Information provided in part by Sylvia Naylor, Subject Matter Expert]

                                                 

                                              • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                                                Stacy Dietzler Adventurer

                                                Thank you Zachary for the info which I have shared with the agency I am working with. Appreciate the NARA explanation.

                                          • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                                            Stacy Dietzler Adventurer

                                            Thanks for your reply Alice. Susannah confirmed with me that the info I provided regarding the Aquitania on 5/16/1939 was accurate.

                                             

                                            My grandfather Hersz/Harry Szot (Schott), his wife Sylka/Sylvia Szot (Schott) nee Lakx and their two sons, my father Ryszard/Richard Szot (Schott) and my uncle Mieczysław Szot (Schott) arrived at Ellis Island in NY, USA on the Aquitania May 16, 1939, just before the outbreak of WW2. All four family members are deceased.

                                             

                                            From the documents that I was able to find on the ancestry.com website, namely ship manifest, it seems that they have entered the United States on Polish passports and traveled on US visas. The ship manifest lists Quota Immigration Visa numbers for the whole family: Sec.5 QIV 5864, 5865, 5866, 5867, issued by the US consulate in Warsaw on March 10, 1939.

                                             

                                            The Polish agency I am working with has contacted many resources and I have also requesting assistance in finding documents confirming issuance of such visas and any other documents connected with their immigration, possibly even passports they traveled on. We have also asked that if they do not hold such records, could they please refer me to an institution that does.

                                          • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                                            Stacy Dietzler Adventurer

                                            Update! Long story short - I just got possession of a box of family photos from the late 1800's and early 1900's and color copies of my grandparents and father and uncle's passports that my sister has had for the past four years via a cousin. I submitted to the company I am working with along with a copy of my birth certificate, and notarized affidavit for further searching of my fathers and grandfathers birth certificates. My mother also confirmed my father lived in Lodz which was also helpful info. I'm still waiting for the index search of my father's naturalization certificate which was requested on 11/23/2020 and the USCIS informed the company I am working with that it's taking 200 days to process as of July 19 2021. The search feels more promising now and hopefully, we'll hear from the Lodz archives soon as well as the USCIS to hopefully, process my dual citizenship. I'll keep the group posted. Many thanks for your assistance and guidance!

                                            • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                                              Alice Lane Pioneer

                                              Stacy

                                              I did find the 1939 passenger list, see below. Do you have a family search account? you will need one to see the following 2 items. go to familysearch.org, it is free, but you need to register.

                                              New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957; https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-G5NF-43G?cc=1923888&wc=MFKW-WM9%3A1030104201

                                               

                                              Harry Schott, "New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949" (familysearch.org)

                                              ________________________________________________________________________________________

                                              The following is from findagrave and it shows the burial place of Mieczyslaw who is possibly Richard's  brother who was also on the 1939 voyage.

                                              https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/164432648/mieczyslaw-szott

                                               

                                              Alice Lane

                                              • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                                                Stacy Dietzler Adventurer

                                                Thanks Sylvia. Can you translate this or can anyone on this site translate? What is the 1930 Warsaw directory?

                                                Appreciate your help.

                                                  • Re: Seeking birth certificate for deceased father
                                                    Susannah Brooks Pioneer

                                                    City directories are similar to and the precursor of telephone books.  They listed all employed individuals. and often widows, in a city along with their occupation and address.  The address could be either that of their business or home (many US city directories listed both addresses).

                                                    The entry would be Szott, Hersz. tradesman, Krochmalma 15 (street address).

                                                    This address, that of his sister from the passenger list, and Twarda 6 (address of Nożyk Synagogue) are all within 1/2 mile of each other.  Nożyk Synagogue is the only synagogue in Warsaw that survived the Holocaust.  It is now is both a synagogue and a Museum This might be a place to look for Hersz's sons' circumcision records, if a birth record cannot be found.