Naturalization of Step-Children in the US



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Dear Genners,

Joy Weaver wondered about the mechanics of naturalization of
step-children in the United States.

I had the same issue arise recently and found an article by Marian
Smith that authoritatively answers the question: see

"Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married . . ."
Women and Naturalization, ca. 1802-1940
By Marian L. Smith

http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1998/summer/women-and-naturalization-1.html

The short answer is that the marriage of a naturalized (or natural-born)
US citizen to an alien widow resulted in both her and her minor alien
children acquiring American citizenship automatically, during the period
shown above.

However, per Marian, some of those children still went through the usual
naturalization process themselves on attaining adulthood because it was
much easier to prove their US citizenship that way.

Otherwise, I suppose that such a step-child would have had to produce at
least three documents to prove American citizenship: a birth certificate
showing the mother's name as well as the step-child's name; the mother's
marriage certificate to the step-father; and the step-father's
naturalization certificate. (Possibly the birth father's death certificate
too, and maybe the birth parents' marriage cert?) Some of these documents
might not have been generated or available, some might not have been in
English. Even assuming that they were available and in English, there
could still be proof problems. Given the plethora of names, name
variations and outright name changes that we see on our relatives'
documents, convincing anyone that eg, Jane nee Kirick on one of these
certificates = Jennie nee Chirurg on another, and that Simon = Sam, I can
well believe that many step-children would choose to go through the
naturalization process themselves once they reached adulthood. Then they
could just wave one document to prove citizenship, a naturalization
certificate bearing their current "American" names.

But even in the case cited above, I have found no indication to date that
my relative born in 1902, Sam Taub (originally Simon Levy), went through
the naturalization process himself. His mother claimed American
citizenship for herself and her son as documented in the 1910 and later
censuses. This had to be by virtue of her marriage to Mr. Taub ca 1905
although he had naturalized in the 1890s, well before his marriage to
Sam's mother

In the case of Joy's relative, I would doubt that he went through the
process himself since he stated on a passport application that he was
naturalized by virtue of his step-father's citizenship. Assuming he
received the passport, that is.

Linda Rose Mar
Sunnyvale, California
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