where to start?

Determine if an ancestor was ever naturalized and, if so, discuss your consulate's requirements for proving this.

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where to start?

Postby michele66 » Mon Jun 23, 2008 1:06 pm

I am looking for advice on where to start with this whole process. I know all the information I need to obtain dual citizenship, but I am not sure how I can obtain it, nor how easy it will be. The hardest part is that my great-grandfather's name was Salvatore Russo; there are probably a million Salvatore Russos that keep coming up in my searches, and I don't know which is the right one! What I do know about him is that he and my great-grandmother (don't even know HER name) came over from Italy to Vineland, New Jersey in the 1800's to settle. Then my grandfather and 2 other siblings were born. I have no idea my great-grandfather became a naturalized citizen or not, and nobody else knows either. Unfortunately my dad passed away 11 years ago, so I can't ask him either. My dad had a few siblings, but the closest also passed away, and the others don't really speak to us, so it would be hard to get more information. I know I need to start searching in New Jersey, but I am not really sure where. Any direction would be most appreciated, as right now I feel very overwhelmed. I already have an account with ancestry.com, but it has not proven to be very helpful at this point. They can't even find MY birth certificate and I know it exists.......

Thank you...........
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Postby Bandoman » Mon Jun 23, 2008 1:43 pm

I doubt ancestry.com lists birth certificates for living people.

Using that site, your best bet may be to start looking at Census records. Start looking at the Salvatore Russo's that lived in the area you know he settled with children that have names that match your grandfather and his siblings. It might be easier to search using the name of your GF instead. Keep in mind that many names were americanized, so if your grandfather is Giovanni Russo, you might need to search for John Russo. Also, many names were spelled wrong, so you might need to search Guiseppe and Giuseppe, for instance.

If you find a match, that should give you your GGM's name, roughly everyone's birth year, roughly the year they were married (assuming it was a first marriage for both), the street on which they lived, roughly when they immigrated, and what they listed their naturalization / alien status to be after the birth of your grandfather.

Then you can use Ellisisland.org (since they're in NJ, it's a likely port of entry) to search for your GGF using his approximate year of arrival and birth. That should give you the ship manifest from when he arrived.

Then you can have the county in which he lived and the NARA office in Philly search for immigration documents using the information you've found from the Census and the manifest. Simultaneously, you can use the "last place of residence" from the ship manifest to start looking for information in Italy.

I'm no expert, but that's how I'd start.
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Postby michele66 » Mon Jun 23, 2008 3:25 pm

That all makes perfect sense. What complicates matters is that my grandfather's name was also Salvatore Russo, apparently he was a junior. There is no middle initial I know of for my GGF, but I do believe I found the death cert. for my GF, which does list a middle initial. Can't seem to find a death cert. for my GM, but I know where they are buried, so I will call there (it is local) and see if I can get any help from them. I really wish our name wasn't such a common one!

Yes, I would agree (now that I have thought about it) that ancestry.com wouldn't need to keep birth certs. for live persons...... I wasn't thinking. :roll:

Thank you for your suggestions and time. :)
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Postby Finding_Alessandro » Thu Jun 26, 2008 12:36 pm

Maybe, maybe not...

Looking through the census index for 1910, I see a Salvadore Russo in Buena Vista Township (next door to Vineland), age 45. A son (Ralph) and daughter (Maria L.). Wife's name begins with "Fo..". Salvatore and his wife emigrated in 1895.

Look in Ancestry.com for more information for this census record. I'm looking at it through Heritage Quest and it isn't a very good scan of the census. Ancestry.com has much better scans usually. Also check later census years for a Salvadore Russo (born approx 1865) to see if your grandfather is listed later on (1920 or 1930).

I can email you a PDF of the page I found if you're interested.
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Postby michele66 » Thu Jun 26, 2008 12:57 pm

Thank you for your reply. I just found out, however, that I have conflicting information. I gathered my cajones and called an aunt (one of my father's sisters) up in NJ, with whom I haven't spoken to in probably 15 years. Told her what I was doing, and she gave me the information she believes to be correct, which is NOT what I had been given. According to her, my GGF is Joseph Russo, then my GF is Salvatore J. Russo. Salvatore J. was born in NJ in 1897, died 1964. I am going to see if I can get Salvatore's birth cert. to find out if it lists both his parents on it, because without that I can't really go back any further. Beyond Joseph is where it is getting confusing. I am ready to smack my head against the wall.
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Postby Finding_Alessandro » Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:50 pm

That's good news - much more details from your aunt. In addition to his birth certificate, also request Salvatore's SS-5 ($27). It's the form he filled out for Social security benefits (lookup here: http://ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com/). I see Salvatore listed which is a good thing. This will give Salvatore's place of birth and his parent's names.
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Postby Em » Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:58 pm

You may also try seeking help on the forum of www.italiangenealogy.com This is a forum specifically geared to genealogy, and many of the members are either professional or amateur genealogists. They are a helpful group.
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Postby penguin » Thu Jun 26, 2008 2:07 pm

When you are looking on ancestry.com keep in mind that first names are often misspelled or anglicized. I just got an account there yesterday and it took me hours of searching to find a certain family, because I was looking for Francesco when the census record had Frank. Also, I thought my GM was Fortuna when in fact in was Fortunata, and the census record had Fortuno.

Eventually I limited the search by state and year range, then when I moused over a census record I could tell from the ages and names of the children (also somewhat misspelled) that I had found the correct family.
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Postby michele66 » Thu Jun 26, 2008 2:25 pm

Wow, such good help, thank you all! I have 3 questions/thoughts: Penquin, I actually thought of what you said, Joseph would most likely be Guiseppe in Italian, so maybe I should consider looking for Guiseppe on immigration records? Maybe it didn't change to Joseph until AFTER he immigrated.....

Em, I TRIED to get help from them, twice, no response, and that was earlier this week. I created an account and everything, but they didn't respond, and that is how I came to find this great website!

Alessandro, what would I be gaining by accessing my GF's ss# application? Do you think it would have his parent's names on it? That is the information I really need, and I really need to know if his parents, particularly his father, naturalized.......

Thanks again!
Michele
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Postby Finding_Alessandro » Thu Jun 26, 2008 2:40 pm

Alessandro, what would I be gaining by accessing my GF's ss# application? Do you think it would have his parent's names on it? That is the information I really need, and I really need to know if his parents, particularly his father, naturalized.......


It will give his parent's names. Since it was filled out by Salvatore probably in the 1930's or 1940's he should give accurate information. I used the SS-5 to break through a genealogical brick wall by a grandfather that didn't want to talk about his family when he got older. Since he filled out the SS-5 when he was young and not-so-bitter, he gave his parent's names. :) It's also cool to see something that was written by a long deceased relative in their own handwriting.

I would recommend you get it, but if you can get a copy of his birth certificate, then you don't really need this.
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Postby penguin » Thu Jun 26, 2008 2:43 pm

Yes, in addition to Giuseppe appearing as Jose, Joe, Joseph, note that it is frequently misspelled as Guiseppe, and sometimes Giuseppi.
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Postby michele66 » Thu Jun 26, 2008 2:55 pm

ok then!! Boy, I sure have my work cut out for me!!!! :lol:
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Postby ALP70 » Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:03 pm

Finding_Alessandro wrote:I used the SS-5 to break through a genealogical brick wall by a grandfather that didn't want to talk about his family when he got older.


Hi Finding_Alessandro! How long did it take you to get the SS-5 application?

I've been waiting on my request for about a month now, and someone else said 6-8 weeks.
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Postby Finding_Alessandro » Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:38 am

Code: Select all
Hi Finding_Alessandro! How long did it take you to get the SS-5 application?

I've been waiting on my request for about a month now, and someone else said 6-8 weeks.


6-8 weeks sounds about right, if I recall.
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Postby ALP70 » Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:09 pm

Thanks very much. :D
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