Casefile Clues

12 January 2011

Naturalizing After the Fire



I'll be honest. This is one record for which I never really thought to look.

This index card is from the "Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950" which was recently posted on FamilySearch. Thomas Frame was an English immigrant who probably arrived in the 1860s.

My reasons for not looking are not all that great, but they point to some common mistakes genealogists make, so I'll mention them here:

  • Lack of a time-frame or chronology. I assumed Thomas naturalized before the fire and so a record would not exist.
  • I've already traced Thomas to his English origins, so further work in records where he settled is not necessary.
  • The naturalization records probably won't tell me too much for this time period.

The last reason is actually probably still true. But I think I'm going to go ahead and get them. I was wrong about there being no record, so I could be wrong about the record being of little informative value.

We'll have an update here and may discuss Thomas in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues. Is there a misconception you need to go back and revisit?