11 Replies Latest reply on Jun 28, 2016 10:53 AM by J Richards

    Which of 3 Philadelphia Naturalization / Declaration of Intent documents are my GG Grandfather's?  Also trying to confirm whether it was him that was listed on a famine ship as an infant.

      My Great Great Grandfather Phillip or Philip Brogan (1844 - 1898) spent his childhood in County Donegal, Ireland, (Gweedore area / born in Lunniagh) and moved to the U.S., apparently after the Civil War, ultimately setting in Oregon.  His younger brother Thomas (born 1849) left Ireland for the mines in Pennsylvania at age 12, where he worked for 7 years, obtained U.S. citizenship, left and lived in New Zealand and later moved with his wife and many children to Philip's homestead in Antelope, Oregon, in 1892. 

       

      In ancestry.com, I've located three (possibly four) entries regarding my Great Great Grandfather Philip or Phillip Brogan, in the U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s - 1900s. 

       

      Three appear to be Naturalization records / Declaration of Intent.   There is an entry from 1853 and another from 1856, both with the spelling Philip, and another listing in 1868, with the spelling Phillip. The source of at least three of these documents is W.P.A., Project No. 20837.  [Harrisburg:]  Pennsylvania Historical Commission, [1940).  25  vols. in 11.Vol.1.Letter B. 345p., page 261 (same page for each of the three entries).  Source publication code on the three as listed in ancestry.com is 9291.   I believe my GG Grandfather used both spellings of his first name:   Phillip -- on his tombstone.  Philip while in Ireland.

       

      How do I confirm whether some or all of these three records pertain to my GG Grandfather? Also, how do I obtain copies of the ones that do pertain to him? 

       

      Additionally, I'm wondering if my Great Great Grandfather might have briefly come over on a famine ship as an infant and returned to Ireland for his childhood, before later moving to the U.S. to obtain a homestead in Oregon after the Civil War.   The Philadelphia Passenger and Immigration Lists, 1800-1850, Immigration and Travel Lists (and the Pennsylvania Passenger and Crew Lists, 1800-1962), both list an arrival on 3 July 1845 on the Ship Agenora, for Philip Brogan (who was #176 on the list).  The ship departed from Londonderry (and Liverpool), before arriving in the U.S.  Londonderry would have been somewhat close to his townland.  Ancestry.com indicates this information about the ship and the infant is found at:  National Archives Series # 425, Microfilm 62, List 89. 

       

      In trying to determine whether the infant Philip Brogan listed on the Ship Agenora, might have been my GG Grandfather, I will note that there are others on the ship who may or may not have been relatives or neighbors, but not necessarily his parents.  Not all entries are legible.  I see no other Brogans listed, but I do see a M'Gee, which was his Mother's maiden name.  His Mom was Margaret rather than Mary. He might have been about 1 1/2 years old, whereas one list shows that the infant was 2 years old.

       

      In conclusion, I'm really hoping to find out:  (1) if it was him on the famine ship and (2) which of the Naturalization / Declaration of Intent documents are about him and how to obtain the relevant ones.   What is the best way to find all of this out?  Thanks.

        • Re: Which of 3 Philadelphia Naturalization / Declaration of Intent documents are my GG Grandfather's?  Also trying to confirm whether it was him that was listed on a famine ship as an infant.

          No one has responded to my inquiry.   Does anyone who works at the archives ever see these posts?   Any ideas where else I should direct my questions?   (Please see references to specific microfilmed documents and my questions.)  Thanks.  Any help would be appreciated.

          • Re: Which of 3 Philadelphia Naturalization / Declaration of Intent documents are my GG Grandfather's?  Also trying to confirm whether it was him that was listed on a famine ship as an infant.
            J Richards

               Karen, you've described the complexities of Irish genealogical research in the mid-19th century that many of us of Irish ancestry have encountered. Please do not expect archivists to supply an answer to your questions. Their job is to provide access to historical documents, not to try and chase down information that is not in their repository. The minimal amount of information found on manifests and naturalization papers of this time (which you've described in your inquiry) require researchers to dig into circumstantial evidence from other sources.

               In the case of minors coming to America without their parents (which was very common for Famine immigrants as parents may have come over earlier to get established before the children arrived) you have to do in-depth research in the Irish parish where the family was born to determine if the probable guardian accompanying the minor was a relative or close family friend. That can usually be determined by tracking the marriage and baptism records of your ancestors and recording who the witnesses and sponsors were for these events. Granted that many of these parish records have horrible handwriting and are incomplete, but the digitized images (not indexed) are available for free on the National Library of Ireland website. From my experience this is not easy and takes lots of time, but I was able to determine that my 9-year-old ancestor, his 11-year-old brother and two half-brothers under 5 were accompanied by their 14-year-old female cousin/guardian in 1851.

               When it comes to naturalization records of this time, the amount of info found on these documents can vary greatly depending on the court that processed the paperwork. Pennsylvania State naturalization records of this time are pretty worthless in providing anything other than the name of the individual and the witness. What you have to confirm is that your ancestor was actually living in the county/city at the time where the declaration of intention and final papers were issued and if the requisite time in between those papers was correct for the time period (see the book "They Became Americans" by Loretta Szucs for detailed information on the naturalization process at this time). If the papers were issued in between censuses you may have to use other sources (newspapers, tax records, city directories, etc). to confirm that your ancestor was actually living in the area at the time.

               Many times there are no concrete answers to cases such as yours. You have to use circumstantial evidence, analyze the information and then determine if there is a preponderance of evidence to confirm that a particular record is the one for your ancestor. It forces you to become a genealogy detective. Good luck.

            4 of 4 people found this helpful
              • Re: Which of 3 Philadelphia Naturalization / Declaration of Intent documents are my GG Grandfather's?  Also trying to confirm whether it was him that was listed on a famine ship as an infant.

                Thank you J Richards.   I appreciate your information.    

                I don't have the source documents.  I only have the ancestry.com brief summary about them.   If I may ask a follow up question, how do I obtain the actual documents?   

                3 are on the same page:   W.P.A. Project No. 20837  Pennsylvania Historical Commission, .  25 vols. in 11.Vol.1.Letter B. 345 p., page 261.

                The other (which is somewhat  less likely to be my GG Grandfather) is National Archives Series # 425, Microfilm 62, List 89.

                I live in Oregon.  

                I realize you are saying the content of these (Pennsylvania naturalization records) may be worthless or minimal, but I haven't seen the actual documents, so I don't know if anything more is there to help determine if it is, or isn't, the document of my GG Grandfather.

                Although I've identified the source documents, I'm not sure how to put in a request for the actual documents (or how to view them online or how to access them in whatever manner they are available).   Does the ancestry.com summary usually list all content that is actually on those documents?  (I think it suggests in general, that there may be more information.)

                Thanks for your prior note.  I'd appreciate information on the best way to acquire the source documents while I'm here in Oregon.

                Sincerely,

                Karen Olson

                  • Re: Which of 3 Philadelphia Naturalization / Declaration of Intent documents are my GG Grandfather's?  Also trying to confirm whether it was him that was listed on a famine ship as an infant.
                    J Richards

                       Karen, images of the of the final naturalization papers you're seeking are on Ancestry.com Library Edition (If you have the home subscription to Ancestry I can't confirm that they are included). I stopped by one of the local branches of the Pikes Peak Library District this morning and was able to access those images in about five minutes. They are located within the following database: "Pennsylvania, Naturalization Records from Supreme and District Courts, 1794-1908." (There are two database with the same name, but different dates, so be sure to access the correct one.

                       There are two petitions...one dated 21 Sep 1868 (Petition #147) and another dated 28 Sep 1866 (Petition #7570), The 1868 petition declares that he arrived in New York in 1855, which does not correlate to what you believe to be the arrival of your Phillip Brogan in 1845. The 1866 petition does state that the individual arrived in Philadelphia in 1845, so this appears to be your ancestor. There is a signature on it (if you have another to compare it with) and a Hugh Fox attested that he can vouch that Phillip meets all the requirements to become a citizen.

                       Good luck on downloading the images of the original naturalization (final) papers on Ancestry.com.

                    4 of 4 people found this helpful
                      • Re: Which of 3 Philadelphia Naturalization / Declaration of Intent documents are my GG Grandfather's?  Also trying to confirm whether it was him that was listed on a famine ship as an infant.

                        Wow.   Thank you!          The only thing I heard about my GG Grandfather Philip or Phillip's arrival was that he came to Oregon some time after the Civil War.  (I knew nothing for sure about when his first trip to America was, or whether he was here for any length before heading to Oregon, so I was curious but speculating about the 1845 baby / toddler arrival.)

                        I found a biography in a Wasco County Oregon journal about his younger brother Thomas, born in 1949 (so 4 years younger), and learned Thomas went to the Pennsylvania mines at age 12 "alone" and remained there for 7 years before moving to Australia / New Zealand.   From that, I did begin to think Philip or Phillip would have come through Philadelphia at some point.

                        I thought the 1845 arrival might be a long shot because Philip spend at least a bit of his life in Lunniagh Ireland and was born in 1844 (supposedly).  But it would make sense to move the infant to a food source to get through part of the famine and perhaps go back later.  It was interesting to learn from you that it was sort of common for children to be on the famine ships without their parents.   

                        I'm going to research the 1850s and 1860s arrivals into both NY and Pennsylvania.  I speculate that he would have gone to Oregon seeking a homestead as soon as feasible once in America (as an adult).  He worked for Captain John Ainsworth in Oregon City before homesteading in Oregon.

                        Thank you so much for making a trip to the library for me and sharing this information!   It was very kind of you.   I'll look into this Library Edition.  My tree is on a friend's ancestry.com account, which they allow.

                        Have a wonderful day!

                        Karen Olson  

                          • Re: Which of 3 Philadelphia Naturalization / Declaration of Intent documents are my GG Grandfather's?  Also trying to confirm whether it was him that was listed on a famine ship as an infant.
                            J Richards

                            Karen, If Phillip Brogan homesteaded, his application file would include a copy of his naturalization papers. In checking the BLM Government Land Office website, a Phillip Brogan did take out a homestead of 160 acres on 1/11/1892 in Jefferson County, Oregon. The transaction was conducted at the land office at The Dalles for the quarter section of land located at Meridian: Willamette, Twp 0095, Range 17E, E1/2 W1/2, Section 14. If this correlates to where you know your ancestor lived I would urge you to order the homestead file from the National Archives (you can do this online). Here's the link to that specific homestead record...unfortunately, the image of the original record has not been digitized on the website as is usually the case, but you have all the info you need to order the record here:

                            Patent Details - BLM GLO Records

                             

                            P.S. I would recommend you read a small, but information-packed book, "They Came in Ships" by John Colletta, to understand some of the important details of what our immigrant ancestors endured in their voyages to America. It also provides a lot of important tips in conducting this research.

                            5 of 5 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Which of 3 Philadelphia Naturalization / Declaration of Intent documents are my GG Grandfather's?  Also trying to confirm whether it was him that was listed on a famine ship as an infant.
                      Patrick Connelly

                      Ms. Olson,

                       

                      Mr. Richards already gave you very good advice so I won't go overboard on additional details.  As far as your original questions is concerned (the citation found on Ancestry.com) it refers to a book "Philadelphia Naturalization Records" by William Filby.  This index was created as a Works Progress Administration project in the 1930s and sought to index Philadelphia County and Supreme Court of PA  records.  There are some U.S. District Court records indexed as well. 

                       

                      What struck me most about your question is that I think you took quite a leap at following the Philadelphia records without much evidence.  Sure, Philip's brother Thomas did come to Pennsylvania, but he was naturalized in Northumberland County (per his 1923 passport application) which has as much in common with Philadelphia as it does with New York City.

                       

                      When searching for naturalization records it is best to work with the evidence you do have and work backwards.  As far as I can see, Philip only appears in the 1880 US Federal Population Census in Wasco County.  That's where you should start.  I took a look for information for you regarding Wasco County naturalization records and found that the Oregon State Archives does have an index to the naturalization records found in many counties.  There were 2 entries for Philip Brogan of Wasco County, one for 1881 and one for 1885.  I would suspect that these are the Declaration of Intention and Petition for Naturalization of your Philip Brogan.  Please contact, reference.archives@state.or.us.

                       

                      Lastly, regarding the Port of Philadelphia Passenger Arrival list; the index from Ancestry.com is incorrect in that it lists Philip Brogan as being 2 years of age.  The original list does not include any ages of the individuals on that vessel.  I would guess that the Philip Brogan listed is an adult.  Hopefully his naturalization records will give you more information regarding his arrival.

                       

                      Good luck with your research.

                       

                      Patrick Connelly
                      ArchivistThe National Archives at Philadelphia

                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • Re: Which of 3 Philadelphia Naturalization / Declaration of Intent documents are my GG Grandfather's?  Also trying to confirm whether it was him that was listed on a famine ship as an infant.
                        J Richards

                        In response to Mr. Connelly's response... the obvious is being overlooked in finding Brogan's naturalization records. As I outlined in a previous post, there is a 99.9% probability that a copy of Phillip Brogan's naturalization papers is filed in his homestead records package referenced here:

                        Patent Details - BLM GLO Records

                         

                        Please order a copy of his homestead records packet from the National Archives to close out this issue!

                         

                        J Richards