Dear Ms. Summers,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
The Cable Act was enacted in 1922 allowing women their own right to citizenship apart from their father or spouse; prior to 1922 a woman’s citizenship status was tied directly to that male figure and there was no requirement for documentation when citizenship status shifted. Therefore, if Bella’s father received citizenship prior to 1922, while Bella was a minor, she would have derived citizenship from her father, and would not have paperwork documenting that. If the brothers later filed their own petitions for citizenship, they must not have been minors at the time that their father received his citizenship or they too would have received derivative citizenship.
To prove her citizenship later in life, Bella would have needed to show her father’s naturalization record. This could include showing a copy of his paperwork or perhaps just correspondence with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) indicating that they confirmed his status. It also is likely her birth certificate was presented to show her parent/child relationship. Additionally, Bella could have gone to INS to get a certificate issued if there was cause for her to present her own certificate - her certificate would have been called a “Derivative A” certificate.
Bella’s father will have a Certificate File (C-Files) through the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Genealogy Program. If Bella did pursue obtaining her own Derivative A certificate to prove her citizenship status in the disputed death benefits case, it is possible that she also may have a Certificate File. We suggest request an index search through the USCIS Genealogy Program to determine what exists.
We hope this is helpful! Best of luck with your family research!
[Information provided by Elizabeth Burnes, Subject Matter Expert]