Italian Greatgrandfather married American

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Italian Greatgrandfather married American

Postby geografia » Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:34 am

My Italian great grandfather married an American before they both gave birth to my grandfather. The two actually traveled to Italy while she was pregnant and my grandfather was born, and spent the first 6 months of his life, in Italy. Upon their return to America, Ellis Island records indicate that all three were recognized as American citizens.

Yet, I have applied for naturalization records of both my great grandfather and grandfather, but they do not exist. Nor was my grandfather's birth apparently recorded in Italy, but I do have his baptismal record from the church in which he was baptized.

Did marrying an American automatically cause my great grandfather to lose his Italian citizenship? If not, then the line is not broken as far as I can tell...
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Re: Italian Greatgrandfather married American

Postby RomaBound » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:53 am

Your great-grandfather was born Italian.

Where did he marry; was it in the US? He would not have automatically lost his Italian citizenship merely by marrying an American; at some point he would have had to apply for naturalization.

Your grandfather was born in Italy. This is a tough one; I am not familiar with the relevant laws, but I imagine it would have been possible for your great-grandfather (Italian) and your great-grandmother (American) to "choose" which way to register the birth of their child. If they registered the birth in Italy (which it appears that they might not have), your grandfather would have been Italian; on the other hand, I believe they could have chosen to register the birth at the US Embassy/Consulate in Italy as an American through his mother. Frankly, it would not surprise me if this was the case. You might try contacting the US Embassy in Rome (http://rome.usembassy.gov/english/) inquiring about this possibility.

If it turns out that your grandfather's birth was registered as American, you should probably ask your consualte for guidance. It is possible that they would still recognize his "Italian-ness" although I really do not think so.

If your grandfather was registered as an Italian, then another problem comes into play. If your great-grandfather naturalized *after* the birth of his son but while the son was still a minor, the son (your grandfather) would have been automatically naturalized along wtih him and thus lost his Italian citizenship.
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Re: Italian Greatgrandfather married American

Postby geografia » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:33 pm

RomaBound,

Thank you very much for your response. I will contact the US embassy in Rome as you suggest. I have requested naturalization papers from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services for both my greatgrandfather and grandfather. I provided them with as much detailed information as I could (e.g., dates of birth, places of birth, even passport number for GGF and social security number of GF). In each case, the USCIS was not able to locate any naturalization documents. I think this is good news for now. The US embassy is the next step; hopefully, if it helps, there won't be any record there, either!

Thanks again!
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Re: Italian Greatgrandfather married American

Postby RomaBound » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:58 pm

>> The US embassy is the next step; hopefully, if it helps, there won't be any record there, either!

Actually, I think the ideal situation would be if the US Embassy comes up with a birth certificate. Here's why:

If your grandfather's birth was registered at the US Embassy, it would be the same as any other son of an Italian citizen born on US soil - he would have inherited Italian citizenship from his father and there would be no concern about the possibility that his father (your great-grandfather) naturalized while he was still a minor.

So, based on the conversation so far, my feeling is that the best case is as follows:

a) Grandfather's birth was registered at the US Embassy in Rome as an American citizen
b) Great-grandfather did or did not naturalize - it doesn't matter, so long as any naturalization took place after your grandfather's birth.
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Re: Italian Greatgrandfather married American

Postby geografia » Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:37 pm

Awesome - thanks again!

I sent an email to the US embassy; hopefully they will respond with some information or direction of whom to contact. Okay, now I hope that they really DO have a record!

:-)
Best,
Mark de Socio
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Re: Italian Greatgrandfather married American

Postby uwlaw » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:28 am

I have a somewhat different perspective. If your GF was born in Italy and registered at the US consulate, it wouldn't be the same as if he was born in the US. The reason that most of the people on this board have (or hope to have) dual citizenship is due to the operation of the special protections afforded by Article 7 of the Italian Citizenship Law of 1912. Article 7 required that the foreign citizenship be one that was granted jure soli -- by virtue of being born on foreign soil -- and not by virtue of being born to a foreign parent. Children who were granted foreign citizenship jure sanguinis by virtue of having a foreign parent did not fall under the protections of Article 7. As such, so long as your GF was born in Italy, I don't see any way that Article 7 applied, regardless of where the birth was registered.

That said, assuming that all this took place after 1912 (which isn't clear from the facts provided to date), your GGM would have -- in the eyes of Italy -- became an Italian citizen immediately and automatically upon marrying your GGF. (Article 10 of the 1912 law). I'm not aware of any provision of US law under which a man naturalized automatically by virtue of marrying an American citizen. Thus, unless your GGF undertook the naturalization process, the birth of your GF would have been -- again, in the eyes of Italy -- the birth in Italy to an Italian citizen with two Italian parents. It is a mystery why his birth apparently wasn't registered.

In any event, I think you're then working within the framework of proving that your GGF didn't naturalize while your GF was a minor. If he did, your GF would have lost his Italian citizenship by virtue of Article 12 of the 1912 law, since he wouldn't be protected by Article 7 (see above). It wouldn't matter that your GF didn't naturalize with him (already possessing US citizenship through your GGM), since the authorities hold that loss of Italian citizenship by a father results in the contemporaneous loss of citizenship by their child if the child acquires or already possesses a foreign citizenship other than one granted jure soli. As noted above, your GF's American citizenship wasn't granted jure soli, but jure sanguinis. You may also have to prove that your GF didn't naturalize himself (which, of course, he couldn't have as he was already an American) between the age of majority and whenever your parent was born.

As with most things, it will ultimately be up to the Consulate. However, if they apply the law, I think they'll find it difficult to point to any provision of the 1912 law under which your GF would have lost his Italian citizenship -- assuming you can prove the non-naturalizations above.
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Re: Italian Greatgrandfather married American

Postby geografia » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:04 pm

uwlaw,

Thanks for your input. I didn't mention it before, but my grandfather was born in October 1911. To make things even more 'sticky', the family then returned to the USA in May 1912. Do you know when the Italian Citizenship Law of 1912 was enacted? If it doesn't apply given the timing of events, does this drastically change things?

Thanks again!
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Re: Italian Greatgrandfather married American

Postby uwlaw » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:41 pm

Actually, it was 13 June 1912. Isn't it amazing how these date all work out sometimes, and don't work out on others? It's like baseball -- a "game of inches."

In any event, I haven't cuddled up with the law of 1865 (the predecessor of 1912), but as long as your GF was an Italian citizen on birth, I don't think it would change the analysis as to what happened thereafter since you look to the law that was in effect at the time to determine the impact of any particular fact.
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Re: Italian Greatgrandfather married American

Postby geografia » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:45 am

So far so good. I've sent a Request for a Report of Birth Abroad to the US Dept of State Bureau of Consular Affairs. I'm sure it may take awhile, but I hope they may have a record of my GF's birth.

I have new question stemming from new information. My GGF - of whom I have yet to find any evidence that he ever naturalized - had a U.S. passport. Does this mean that he definitely naturalized at some point before being able to get a U.S. passport, or was his marriage to an American enough for him to become a U.S. citizen and therefore eligible for a U.S. passport?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Italian Greatgrandfather married American

Postby uwlaw » Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:31 pm

I'm not aware of any law which granted automatic US citizenship to a husband upon marrying a US female citizen. In fact, most of the laws in the early 20th century were more focused on whether the female US citizen lost her US citizenship upon marrying a foreigner (a woman marrying a foreigner did before 1922, and did thereafter if she moved abroad). As such, the fact that your GGF possessed a US passport is pretty conclusive evidence that he did in fact naturalize in the US.

So I think the analysis is the same -- you'll need to prove that the naturalization of your GGF occurred after your GF was no longer a minor (which I believe was then 21 as defined under Italian law). At least now you know that there should be naturalization documents out there somewhere. It's generally easier to find documents that exist, as compared to those that don't! :)
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Re: Italian Greatgrandfather married American

Postby geografia » Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:31 pm

uwlaw,

Thanks again for your replies. This is definitely NOT good news; he had his passport while my GF was still a minor - this much is certain. Today I sent in a G-1041 form to the USCIS with all of the information I have regarding my GGF, including a copy of his passport and death certificate. We'll see what turns up...

Thanks again!
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Re: Italian Greatgrandfather married American

Postby zagnut » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:21 am

You might wish to search NARA, USCIS for GF's naturalization as well. As uwlaw points out, he may have naturalized at later date despite having his birth registered with the US embassy in Italy. This happened to a number of Italian Americans around 1940 when war fever was rising- some Italian Americans who were born in Italy and technically were US citizens (parents naturalized, etc) re-naturalized to avoid Enemy Alien status.

Doesn't affect your case, but 1912 law took effect 1 July 1912 (see article 20).
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Re: Italian Greatgrandfather married American

Postby geografia » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:26 pm

zagnut,

That's a good idea, thanks. Better to cast a wide net. I don't believe my GF ever naturalized or ever needed to, but having a certificate of no record couldn't hurt...
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Re: Italian Greatgrandfather married American

Postby geografia » Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:12 am

UPDATE

The US State Department responded with no information regarding my GF's birth being registered, or not, with the US Embassy in Rome when he was born; instead, they have pointed me to the National Archives and Records Administration. I haven't contacted them yet but will do so shortly. Also, I received a letter from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services stating that no naturalization records were located for my GGF after searching multiple variations of his name. In my search request, I even included known addresses and a photocopy of a passport issued to my GGF in 1929. I can now apply for a Certification of Non-existence of a Naturalization Record for my GGF.

Further, I have a copy of the shipping manifest when my GGF, GGM and GF (6 months old) all returned to the USA in May 1912. My GGM and GF are listed as U.S. Citizens; my GGF is listed as a U.S. Alien. So he definitely did not naturalize before my GF was born.

Is it possible for a resident alien to obtain a U.S. passport? I suppose it really doesn't matter if no naturalization records can be located. (?)
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Re: Italian Greatgrandfather married American

Postby geografia » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:36 pm

From the Italian Embassy in Washington website:

"WAYS TO BECOME AN ITALIAN CITIZEN

AUTOMATICALLY 1. by having an Italian parent(s); 2. by being born in Italy: including cases in which the parents are unknown, stateless or do not transmit their own citizenship to their child according to the legislation of the State to which they belong, as well as children found abandoned in Italy and for whom it is impossible to determine status civitatis (citizenship); 3. through paternal or maternal recognition while the child is a minor (in cases in which the child recognised is no longer a minor, he/she is obliged to elect to become a citizen within one year of recognition); 4. by adoption, both if the foreign minor is adopted by an Italian citizen by means of the Italian Judicial Authorities, as well as in the case in which adoption is granted abroad and made effective in Italy through a writ, issued by the Juvenile Court and registered with the Civil Registry. If the adoptee is no longer a minor he/she can become a naturalised Italian citizen after 5 years of legal residence in Italy (see How to Apply: Naturalisation)."

#2 is key. My grandfather was born in Italy (to an Italian father and American mother). So he was an Italian citizen. Damn it, I really need to get his birth certificate!!
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