Most researchers are familiar with court naturalization papers and perhaps the federal naturalization “C-files” available from USCIS. During the early 20th century, however, INS created a number of lesser-known records related to citizenship. This presentation will use sample files and case studies to introduce researchers to federal citizenship records documenting complex nationality cases, including repatriation and derivative citizenship. In addition to seeing sample cases attendees will receive guidance for exploring the records, including an introduction to two newly accessible indices that have made previously under-utilized records practical for genealogy research. While the presentation focuses on citizenship records it will draw upon a wide array of immigration and naturalization records.
Zack Wilske is Historian for US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). His research interests include the history of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the development of federal immigration and nationality policies, and the uses of INS records for historians and genealogists. He speaks regularly at the National Archives and genealogy conferences and has published several articles on researching with federal immigration and naturalization records.