15 April 2013

A "Copy" of An Illinois Naturalization Made in a Nebraska Court

This is the fourth set of copies I have from the homestead file of Focke and Anna Goldenstein in Dawson County, Nebraska. Hopefully it is the last set I ever get. 

I have:
  • Paper copies made by my great-aunt in the 1970s when her husband was researching his genealogy to join the Sons of the American Revolution (my great-aunt went with him and looked up a few things on her own family).
  • Paper copies I obtained myself in the early 1990s because I was unaware of the earlier set of copies made by my great-aunt.
  • Digital copies from Fold3.com,
  • This set of color images. 
In a post later this week, we will compare these images with those from Fold3.comFold3.com does not have color images and (as of this writing) the only names in the index are to the actual applicant who completed the homestead process But this record has got me thinking of questions for which I do not have answers.

There are three images shown in this post. The larger image is the entire front of the document. The two smaller images are what appears on the back of this one-page document.

Naturalization record of Focke J. Goldenstein, obtained in his homestead application file

Goldenstein had to prove his citizenship before his homestead application could be approved. This document apparently has the actual seal of the Dawson County, Nebraska Court on it.

The document appears to have been one printed on blank forms for use in Illinois. However, if Goldenstein had obtained this copy in Illinois, it should have had the actual seal from Knox County, Illinois, on it--instead of the word "Seal" written on it. In other homestead files where the applicant was a naturalized citizen, I've seen the actual naturalization papers or a certified handwritten copy made by a local official where the homestead application was being completed. Those copies are usually certified transcriptions where it is clear that the entire thing was handwritten from a copy the applicant had. This document does not quite appear to be a copy like that. It would be odd for the Nebraska court official to have blank forms for Illinois on hand.

We will have more on this document in later posts. We've not even touched the following issues:

  • Why was Goldenstein's age at immigration important?
  • Why did he naturalize in Knox County, Illinois?
  • Who were his witnesses?
All of those questions have implications for the genealogist--and, for the most part, I know the answers to those questions. It is just the nature of this "copy" of Goldenstein's naturalization that has caused a few questions to arise in my mind. 

And, here's our citation:

Citation reminder: We are a strong believer in citing genealogical source material in the spirit of Evidence ExplainedHowever, we choose not to include properly formatted citations in these blog posts. There's always enough information in the post to create a citation and full citations are included in my how-to newsletter Casefile Clues. 

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