Monday, September 20, 2010

Restoration of Pre-fire Naturalization Records

38163 Petn of D H Schwahn to restore record of naturalization

In a previous post, I mentioned finding the entry above in an 1881 Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and I promised to follow up. I asked the Circuit Court Archives to have the file brought in from the warehouse and I returned to view it last Friday.

The file held no surprises. Mr. Schwahn naturalized in 1865 and all record of his naturalization was destroyed in the Chicago fire in 1871. He petitioned the court to have the record restored and it was.

So, what do we learn from the documents? First, that Mr. Schwahn was very likely naturalized, as stated, on or about 1 November 1865. Second, that he had "resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for and during the full term of five years last preceding said 1st day of November" and "more than one year immediately preceding the said date in the State of Illinois." We also learn that he renounced allegiance to "the Emperor of Germany whereof he was heretofore a subject." In other words, we learn that he was from Germany and that he arrived in the United States 1860 or earlier. We also learn that nearly twenty years after he was naturalized he had reason or desire to have note of it restored to the Court records. In some cases, this information might provide valuable clues to follow up on.

A typescript of the document is given below.

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In the matter of the petition of }
D.Henry Schwahn for the restoration } Petition
of the record of his naturalization }
as a Citizen of the United States }

And said matter having come on this day to be heard upon the petition filed herein, and upon proofs, and evidence heard in open Court and it appearing to the Court therefrom, the Court finds:

That on or about the first day of November AD 1865 said petitioner appeared in this Court and showed to the Court that he had resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for and during the full term of five years last preceding said 1st day of November and more than one year immediately preceding the said date in the State of Illinois, and that during said term of five years, he had sustained a good moral character, and appeared to be attached to the principles contained in the Constitution of the United States and well disposed to the good order, well being and happiness of the same, and that two years and upwards had elapsed since said petitioner filed the declaration of his intention to become a citizen of the United States, according to the provisions of the several acts of Congress heretofore passed on that subject.

That thereupon said petitioner in open Court took and subscribed he oath required by the laws of the United States, to support the constitution of the United States and to renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign Prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignty whatever, and more particularly all allegiance which he in any wise owed to the Emperor of Germany whereof he was heretofore a subject.

That thereupon an order was entered by this Court finding all the foregoing facts, and ordering that the said petitioner be, and he was thereby admitted to all and singular the rights, privileges and immunities of a naturalized citizen of the United States, and that it be certified to him accordingly.

That thereupon a certificate of such naturalization was issued to said petitioner out of this Court under the seal thereof and signed by the Clerk of this Court.

That afterwards and on the 9th day of October 1871 the records of this Court including the record of the said order, and also the said certificate of naturalization issued to said petitioner were totally destroyed by fire without the fault or neglect of said petitioner and that said defect cannot be supplied by any certified copy of said order or certificate, and the loss or destruction thereof, unless supplied, may result in loss or damage to this petitioner.

That the substance of said order was as herein before set forth

And the Court being now fully advised in the premises, it is ordered adjudged and decreed by the Court that the substance of the said order of naturalization as herein above set forth, be and the same in hereby restored of record.

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