2 Replies Latest reply on Sep 1, 2021 9:41 AM by Alice Lane

    Looking for records of Estefana Soto

    Sylvia Gradias Newbie

      I am looking for records about my grandmother, Estefana Soto, I know she came from Sonora, Mexico legally into the USA before Arizona became a State. I think she is a Yaqui Indian. I am looking for verification, I look Native American, just trying to find my roots. Thank you.

        • Re: Looking for records of Estefana Soto
          Zachary Dabbs Scout

          Dear Ms. Gradias,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Copies of 1864 Population Schedules for Arizona Territory, ca. 1864 - ca. 1864, Population Schedules for the 1870 Census, the Population Schedules for the 1880 Census, the Population Schedules for the 1890 Census; the Population Schedules for the 1900 Census, and the Population Schedules for the 1910 Census, the Population Schedules for the 1920 Census, the Population Schedules for the 1930 Census, and the Population Schedules for the 1940 Census in the Records of the Bureau of the Census (Record Group 29) that may contain information about Estefana Soto in Arizona.  The 1940 Census schedules are digitized and available using the Catalog. For more information about the non-digitized schedules, please contact the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) via email at archives1reference@nara.gov.


          Another potential source of information is naturalization records, though such records frequently omit immigrant women as their status was frequently determined by that of their husbands from the mid-19th century until the 1922 Married Women's Act. Please see the article Women and Naturalization, ca. 1802-1940 by Marian L. Smith on NARA’s website for details.  In general, naturalization during Estefana Soto’s time period was a two-step process overseen by U.S. courts that took a minimum of five years. After residing in the United States for two years, an alien could file a "declaration of intention" ("first papers") to become a citizen. After three additional years, the alien could "petition for naturalization" (”second papers”). After the petition was granted, a certificate of citizenship was issued to the alien. These two steps did not have to take place in the same court.


          Prior to September 27, 1906, any "court of record" (municipal, county, state, or Federal) could grant United States citizenship. Often petitioners went to the court most geographically convenient for them. As a general rule, the National Archives does not have naturalization records created in state or local courts. Records from state and local courts may be at the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records.


          Beginning September 27, 1906, the responsibility for naturalization proceedings was transferred to the Federal courts. If a naturalization took place in a Federal court in Arizona, naturalization indexes, declarations of intention (with any accompanying certificates of arrival), and petitions for naturalization will usually be at National Archives at Riverside (RW-RS) at riverside.archives@nara.gov. No central index exists. To ensure a successful request with RW-RS, please include: the name of petitioner (including known variants); date of birth; approximate date of entry to the US; approximate date of naturalization; where the individual was residing at the time of naturalization (city/county/state); and country of origin.


          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 RDT1 and RW-RS. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          In most cases, the National Archives will not have a copy of the certificate of citizenship. Two copies of the certificate were created – one given to the petitioner as proof of citizenship, and one forwarded to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).


          The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) took over responsibility for naturalization proceedings in 1991 and 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). C-Files may be requested through the USCIS Genealogy Program.


          In addition, we suggest you contact the Bureau of Vital Records for the State of Arizona and the Arizona State Archives to request searches for death and marriage certificates respectively. You may wish to note any name variants or broaden your search for the surrounding years. The FamilySearch Research wiki for Arizona Vital Records may be useful in this endeavor as well.


          Regarding Estafana Soto’s membership in the Yaqui tribe, we suggest reviewing the NARA Native American Heritage webpage, NARA Resources for Genealogists webpage, and the FamilySearch Research wiki for Indigenous Peoples of the United States Genealogy, particularly the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and Indigenous Peoples of Arizona pages.


          Please note that the records in the custody of NARA regarding individual Native Americans often only detail those persons living on the reservations or being administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). If an ancestor was Native American and left the reservation or did not have interaction with the United States Government as such, they will not be recorded in NARA’s records and tracing their genealogy may be difficult. In addition the U.S. Government did not fully recognize the Yaqui tribe until 1978 and so it may be difficult to confirm Estefana Soto’s Yaqui heritage through BIA and other Federal records. We suggest that you contact the Bureau of Indian Affairs Salt River Agency and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe for information regarding potential sources of documentation.


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


          1 person found this helpful
          • Re: Looking for records of Estefana Soto
            Alice Lane Pioneer

            Hi Sylvia,

            Welcome to History Hub


            All of the following information was found on familysearch.org. It is a free website you just need to register to use and then come back here and click on the links 1,2,3


            1. 1910 Census.......Estefana Soto shown as widow living with son-in-law and family

            Cirino Gonsalus, "United States Census, 1910" (familysearch.org)


            2. 1920 Census...Estefana shown as widow living alone, not a US Citizen

            Estefana Soto, "United States Census, 1920" (familysearch.org)


            3.The following is a list of Abbreviations found on a United States Census

            United States Census Abbreviations • FamilySearch


            Alice Lane

            Research Volunteer

            1 person found this helpful