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Showing posts from October, 2011

Cook County Naturalization: Stories from the Chicago Tribune

Many years ago, I remember seeing a picture of newly naturalized citizens in our local upstate New York newspaper. They were smiling, maybe even holding flags, and I sensed that they had just done something meaningful and significant.  I've always thought of my naturalized ancestors approaching the process in the same sort of way. It wasn't until I did a search for "naturalization" in the Chicago Tribune Historical Archives that I realized there might be more to the story than a person's driving desire to become a citizen. In October 1858, for example, the Chicago Tribune was encouraging two groups of individuals to naturalize--men of age who had arrived under the age of eighteen five or more years previous (they could naturalize immediately without filing first papers) and men who had filed declarations two or more years previous so that the waiting period to file the final papers had passed. Why? Because the 1860 presidential election was coming up and th