6 Replies Latest reply on Aug 3, 2021 4:29 PM by Phyllis Fassio

    Seeking Naturalization Petition for Piter Szweda

    Phyllis Fassio Wayfarer

      I found Peter Szweda's Declaration of Intent on Ancestry, #151557, in the District Court of Pittsburgh, W. PA on 14 Feb 1939.  I can not find his Petition for Naturalization.  His Death Certificate states was a US citizen.


      Additional Information:

      Peter was born on 29 June 1891 in Michalowki, Lubelski County in Lublin, Poland. On 30 Nov 1912, "Piotr" set sail from Hamburg to NY on the SS Pennsylvania. His final destination was 626 Harman St., Detroit where his brother-in-law, Antoni Dolata, lived. Notated on the immigration record is #6-72239 and 1/13/1939, the date when verification of his legal admission to the US was provided to I&NS. 



      Peter so badly wanted to become a US citizen but was denied twice prior to his Declaration of Intent on 14 Feb 1939.


      17 Mar 1922--Declaration of Intent #29807 in Detroit, MI: Piotr Szweda does not give the correct date of immigration or ship's name  

      11 Dec 1925--Petition for Naturalization #29807 in Wheeling, WV:  Peter Szweda resided continuously in US since 1920 which is five years prior to 1925. He arrived in the US on18 Dec 1912.  He lived in WV since 15 June 1922 which was at least one year prior to 1925.  He erroneously stated that he lived here continuously with the exception of 1 Nov 1921 to 15 Apr 1922. He meant “with the exception of 1 Nov 1918 to 15 April 1920”, the years he fought with the Polish Army attached to the French Army during WWI.  He corrected these dates in the affidavit attached to his 24 May 1938 Petition.  The correct date of his return to the US can also be authenticated using his Elis Island record of 16 June 1920However, on 5 May 1927, his petition was dismissed for “failing to prosecute his petition.”


      24 May 1938--Petition for Naturalization #110305 in Pittsburgh, PA: Peter Szweda immigrated from Hamburg on 23 Dec 1911 [The date is incorrect] to NY under the name Piotr Szweda. He resided continuously in the US for at least 2 years prior to 24 May 1938 and since 8 May 1936 in Allegheny County. Peter attached a sworn affidavit that he was enlisted in the Polish Army from 12 Dec 1918 and honorably discharged on 8 Apr 8 1920. Under special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act, those who served in the U.S. armed forces were eligible to apply for naturalization; however, Peter's service was not with the U.S. armed forces, even though the US sent Navy transports, i.e., the SS Pocahotas, to bring Peter and 20,721 other Polish soldier back to the US when WWI ended.  Also attached to his petition were depositions from Cleveland from 22 May 1933 to 1934; Charleston, WV from May 1934 to Sep 1935 and Ashland Coal and Coke, McDowell County, WV for 4 Nov 1935 to May 1936, presumably verifying his residence there.  However, I cannot find a Declaration of Intent numbered #110305.  Could this be why this Petition was denied on 30 Sep 1938?


      14 Feb 1939--Declaration of Intent #151557, Pittsburgh, PA: Piter Szweda made a Declaration of Intent in Detroit in 1916 but could not recall the number of the declaration.  He correctly states that he immigrated from Hamburg on 15 Dec 1912 to NY on the Pennsylvania under the name Piotr Szweda.  The commissioner of I&N provided Certificate #6-72239 attesting to his lawful entry.   


      Now, the question.  Did he file a Petition and did he finally become a citizen?  Can you help me with this information? 


          • Re: Seeking Naturalization Petition for Piter Szweda
            Phyllis Fassio Wayfarer

            Thank you, Susannah, for your research and reply.  I, too, saw these case files and four more,  all with the same reference #2774-P-137140. I rejected these documents as pertaining  to the Peter in question because one referenced "detention expenses regarding the Legation of Czechoslovakia" and the other referenced "income taxes related to the Legation of Greece".  These crimes sound like they  would  be committed by an international criminal.  The records I've located  for this Peter who worked in Detroit painting cars or in West Virginia and Pennsylvania in the coal mines does not seem congruent with these types of crimes.  Peter's only documented foray back to Europe was when he left  with the other Polish immigrants in 1918  to join the Polish Army in France and then on to Poland. He and  the other soldiers left Gdansk, Poland in 1920 aboard the SS Pocahontas, a US Navy transport ship, returning  to the US and, for Peter, back to his  brother in Detroit. How I wish that number #2774-P-137140 could be linked to one of Peter's Declaration or Petition numbers to confirm this is the Peter Szweda of interest.  Is there any way that the Subject Index to  Correspondence and Case  Files on the Immigration and Naturalization  Service can be accessed? 


          • Re: Seeking Naturalization Petition for Piter Szweda
            Josette Schluter Scout

            Dear Ms. Fassio,

            Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


            We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Indexes to Declarations of Intention and Petitions, 1819- 1951 (M1208) in the Records of the District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009 (RG21) that may include Peter/ Piotr Szweda. Some of these records have been digitized. For more information about these records and to request a search of the index, please contact the National Archives at Philadelphia (RE-PA) at philadelphia.archives@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 RE-PA. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


            In regards to not finding a Declaration of Intention filed with Mr. Szweda’s 1938 Petition of Naturalization # 110305, the petitions states that the affidavits of two verifying witnesses required by law are attached. He did not include a Declaration of Intention when he filed at that time (according to law he didn’t need to with the attached affidavits). The reason for why he was denied would most likely have been given on the Petition denied: List no. 1822-D that the court used to record actions of the court for the day.


            You may also be interested in requesting a name index search from the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (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.


            Many of the Naturalization records created by the courts that NARA holds have been digitized and made available by Ancestry.com. While an index is not available for the Western District of Pennsylvania for the years 1906- 1990, if you have access to ancestry.com or can visit a NARA facility or library that has an institution agreement, you can browse the following collocation: Naturalization Petitions of the U.S. District Court, 1820-1930, and Circuit Court, 1820-1911, for the Western District of Pennsylvania. (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1537, 437 rolls); Records of District Courts of the United States, Record Group 21; National Archives, Washington, D.C. ancestry.com and try to locate the petition yourself.

            We hope that this information was helpful to you and good luck with your research!