This week's Findmypast Friday marks the release of two brand new U.S. collections that will help you learn more about your immigrant ancestors.
United States Naturalization Petitions contains more than 7.8 million records spanning the years 1905 to 1950. The collection currently covers four states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania, and allows you to discover when and where your immigrant ancestor was born, how old they were when they first crossed the Atlantic and their port of entry. Images of the original documents may even include a photograph of your ancestor.
The United States government began to regulate the naturalization process, including the forms and courts authorized, in September 1906 with the formation of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (later known as the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS)). The changes that followed included more information being taken from applicants during the naturalization process as forms required applicants to record their occupation, birth date, and names of spouse and children.
This collection of regular passport applications has been compiled from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) collection M1490. Images of the original documents are included and may reveal additional details of your ancestor's citizenship, such as when and from where they immigrated, by what means they arrived in the United States, and when they were naturalized. For those born in the United States, you may learn details of their fathers' naturalization such as their full name, birthplace, and date and place of emigration. Additional details were also recorded such as the applicant's eye color as well as descriptions of their mouth, nose, forehead, chin, complexion, face, and hair color.
Earlier passport applications, from 1795 for example contain fewer details. However, they would still include name, age, and physical description.
A number of notable figures from American history can be found within this collection including Ernest Hemingway, John D Rockefeller and Cole Porter.
Don't forget to check our dedicated Findmypast Friday page to keep up-to-date with all the latest additions.