A USCIS Update

In March of this year, I mentioned that I was sending out for my 2x great-grandfather’s naturalization records to the USCIS. I discussed how that works where you first had to have them search the index for the name if you didn’t have a record number for them, which I did not.

Then about the end of July, I received a letter in the mail stating that the record did exist, some information in it, and how to get the full document. I, of course, wanted the whole thing!

FINALLY – it came!! I nearly did a dance in my driveway! It took me about six months to get this information!

There was a delay in the records (I had been checking up on them through the website) because a Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act request had to be sent out. There was a letter in with the copies of the records that stated that I received two pages in their entirety and one page released in part (you can see the white blank space on the petition for naturalization). That information had to deal with where the two witnesses to the petition for naturalization lived so it was likely a privacy issue. I’m not sure how common that is when requesting these records.

There were three documents that came in the mail (oddly, it came in the mail – when I requested the information I asked for it to be emailed to me):

The Declaration of Intention (dated 18 November 1920)

Stalmacher Declaration of Intention

The Petition for Naturalization (dated 27 November 1922)

Stalmacher Petition for Naturalization

And the Certificate of Naturalization (dated 14 June 1923)

Stalmacher Certificate of Naturalization

I find it interesting that in that three year span, the town John Stalmacher was born in went from Russian territory to Polish territory. In his initial declaration, he said he was born in Suwalki, Russia and he it was his “…intention to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to… The Republic of _____” that part is too faded to read but there is a stamp that reads “Russia or any independent state within the bounds of the former Russian Empire.”(1)“Declaration of Intention,” John Michael Stalmacher, Citizenship File No. C1759741; Naturalization Certificate Files, 27 September 1906 – 31 March 1956, Historical Records Series, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Washington, D.C.

By the petition in 1922, he states he was born in Suwalki Russia and renounces allegiance to the Republic of Poland.(2)“Petition for Naturalization,” John Michael Stalmacher, Citizenship File No. C1759741; Naturalization Certificate Files, 27 September 1906 – 31 March 1956, Historical Records Series, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Washington, D.C. I’ll need to do more research on the town but I can map it out and see that it is on the eastern border of what is now Poland, close to Lithuania. Wikipedia has some information too but I would like to verify it. It does state that after 1915, the area was no longer Polish, which does mean that when John Stalmacher was born in 1891, he was born (technically) in Russia. Weirdly though, it wasn’t part of Russia at the time of his declaration (at least according to Wikipedia). But I do want to read more about that to see what exactly was happening in that area.

Besides that fun tidbit (I have a hometown now!), there is also some fun information on what he looked like. He had  a fair complexion, was 5 foot 4 inches (only an inch taller than me!), had brown hair and blue eyes. Neat information!(3)“Declaration of Intention,” John Michael Stalmacher, Citizenship File No. C1759741.

I also have a where and when he entered the U.S.!

He came in to Baltimore by the first part of July in 1905. Sadly there isn’t a ship named. Which means I’ll have to search for all ships that left Bremen, Germany and arrived in Baltimore that left on the 18th of June and arrived in Baltimore on the 2nd of July.(4)“Petition for Naturalization,” John Michael Stalmacher, Citizenship File No. C1759741.

He would have only been 14 at the time and it’s likely that his younger brother, August, who would have been 10 at the time, was with him. Was it likely that the two came to America by themselves? I would think not but until I find his passenger list, I’m not positive on if their parents (or other older relatives) were with them.

So in the end, it took about 6 months from the beginning to the end of this project. I did get some answers to some questions (like his birth city, which can explain the switching between Poland and Russia as a birthplace) but now I’m left with more questions. That’s always the case though, isn’t it?

 

 

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Sources   [ + ]

1. “Declaration of Intention,” John Michael Stalmacher, Citizenship File No. C1759741; Naturalization Certificate Files, 27 September 1906 – 31 March 1956, Historical Records Series, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Washington, D.C.
2. “Petition for Naturalization,” John Michael Stalmacher, Citizenship File No. C1759741; Naturalization Certificate Files, 27 September 1906 – 31 March 1956, Historical Records Series, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Washington, D.C.
3. “Declaration of Intention,” John Michael Stalmacher, Citizenship File No. C1759741.
4. “Petition for Naturalization,” John Michael Stalmacher, Citizenship File No. C1759741.

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1 Comment

  1. Lisa

    That’s awesome! I can’t wait to hear more of the story!

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