An Unusual Certificate

I found a most unusual certificate yesterday.

A good amount of my genealogy research in the US is attempting to find the origin location of immigrants. One of the best documents for doing this is naturalization records. It’s best if they naturalized after 1906 when the federal government standardized the forms, providing much more information.

Many of the documents I see contain a certificate of arrival along with the declaration and petition. Someone had to look through the ship lists and find the immigrant’s arrival. They marked the original ship list page and filled in a certificate saying they found it, the name the person arrived under, the ship, date, and port.

But yesterday, I found something new. It was a certificate of arrival that said a record of his arrival couldn’t be found. This was a first for me.

Ship list not found
Certificate of Arrival – Ship list not found – “No record of his arrival could be found for the reason that the Immigration authorities are unable to locate it from the information furnished.”

Also of interest, the Declaration listed the same ship as his wife’s naturalization years later. (She had no certificate of arrival and I haven’t found her on the ship either.) The Petition listed “SS Unknown”.

An additional detail: he was about 21 years old for his arrival. So it’s not like he arrived as an infant and had no memory of the event. And his naturalization was in 1924.

The next question is, can I find the ship list that the immigration authorities couldn’t find when the guy was alive? Well… I may have already found it. It needs more research to verify if it’s really him.

2 thoughts on “An Unusual Certificate”

  1. I am having a similar problem with two family members; my maternal grandfather and my husband’s maternal grandfather. Both sailed from Liverpool and entered through Canada. Can find neither landing. My MGF shows crossing at Detroit on his papers but cannot find that at all. The other I cannot even find landing. I think they were both part of the railroad package that a Canadian railroad had but no evidence. I know they got here ‘cause my husband and I are both here!!! ;-)

    1. Robert’s brother-in-law also came by train through Detroit and I couldn’t find him either. I once had someone else who came via train from Canada through a port somewhere in New York I’d never heard of before. In some cases, I think we just don’t have easy access to some of the documents. Some ports were more important to the genealogy companies than others. Maybe they’ll get those lesser used ports in time.

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