9 Replies Latest reply on Jan 28, 2021 11:50 AM by Francesca Craig

    Seeking Naturalization of French grandmother

    Francesca Craig Newbie

      I am getting French citizenship, they want to know if my French grandmother was naturalized, if so when, if not they would like a photocopy of her US identity card. She was born in 1848 in Martinique and died in 1939 in Florida. Thank you,

        • Re: Seeking Naturalization of French grandmother
          Cara Jensen Tracker

          Dear Ms. Craig,

           

          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

           

          We suggest that you submit an index search request to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Genealogy Program for records of your grandmother.  if she did not complete the United States naturalization process, USCIS should be able to provide the certification on non-existence (see FAQ section), and although your grandmother won’t have a naturalization record, it is likely that INS did create an A-File that the French consulate would require as part of the dual citizenship process.

           

          Please note that USCIS Genealogy does NOT provide certification of files in their holdings, therefore you will need to keep all correspondence (including envelopes) in relation to their request.

           

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

           

          • Re: Seeking Naturalization of French grandmother
            atccn Wayfarer

            If you'd like to give us some information about her - her name, the names of her husband and children, where specifically in Florida she lived, etc. - we would be glad to take a look for you. Oftentimes, the free genealogical records can give you all the information you need. Thanks!

            • Re: Seeking Naturalization of French grandmother
              Francesca Craig Newbie

              Hello! Her name is Valentine Dorn Vernon, her maiden name was DORN. Born in Fort de France, Martinique (France) on January 29, 1884. She died in Florida. Lived most of her life in Madison, New Jersey (Morris County) and Middletown, Rhode Island. She was married to Grenville Phillips Vernon and had a daughter Valentine Vernon. The 1930 Census on Ancestry has her down as an Alien in the Naturalization column. Thank you!

                • Re: Seeking Naturalization of French grandmother
                  atccn Wayfarer

                  I figured it out! I attached a number of documents to her FamilySearch page, which you can find at this link. (Click on "Sources." You may need a free account. I can also post the pictures here if that would be helpful.) Here are the relevant documents:

                   

                  1. 1920 census. This lists her as a naturalized citizen.

                  2. 1925 Rhode Island census. This also lists her as a naturalized citizen.

                  3. 1921 passenger arrival list. This says she is "American by marriage - November 14 1914."

                   

                  (The 1930 census, which says she is an alien, is just wrong. That happens sometimes; it's not uncommon.)

                  Under the law in effect at the time, an alien who married a U.S. citizen automatically became a citizen herself. You may find this article helpful: archives.gov/publications/prologue/1998/summer/women-and-naturalization-1.html. Since her husband was a native-born American, she was naturalized automatically upon marriage. As the article explains, there is no separate naturalization document in this case: the proof of citizenship is the marriage certificate plus the husband's birth certificate. Do you have their marriage certificate and/or her husband's (i.e. your grandfather's) birth certificate? If not, I'm sure we could help you find them. Do let us know if we may be of any further assistance.

                • Re: Seeking Naturalization of French grandmother
                  atccn Wayfarer

                  It looks like you can order a certified marriage certificate from the New York City Municipal Archives. This is their site. (Ancestry shows that New York issued them a marriage license on 9 Nov 1914, just in advance of their wedding.) If you also need Grenville's birth certificate (to prove that he was a native-born US citizen), you can acquire it from the city of Providence, RI, at this link. (You can also see this record in FamilySearch, but of course it isn't certified.) It's probably a good idea to contact the French embassy/consulate before you start shelling out money: this is a slightly unusual case because there's no formal naturalization certificate. Clarifying their expectations now might save you a lot of hassle later.

                   

                  With respect to passports, Grenville applied for at least three of them. The applications can be found on his FamilySearch page. (One of them even includes a picture.) I haven't found any passport applications for his wife and children. This isn't terribly surprising since passports weren't mandatory at this time: they were useful only for identifying oneself in the foreign country. As such, it was probably only necessary for the head of the house to have one.

                   

                  Don't hesitate to let us know if we may be of further assistance. Best of luck as you work through this process!

                  • Re: Seeking Naturalization of French grandmother
                    Jewell Dunn Wayfarer

                    You have been given some very good information to locate needed documents. Working in an archives I have had several patrons request documents to obtain dual citizenship. Because you are suppling them to a foreign government, there is one subject I have not seen mentioned in this thread. You may want to ask if the French Government requires an apostille along with the certified documents. This is the international equivalent of substantiating legitimacy of the document.  Most Secretary of States or State Vital Records offices can provide the/an apostille service for an extra fee. You do not want to show up at your appointment for dual citizenship without all the required documents.

                     

                    Sincerely,

                    Jewell Dunn

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