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Madison County Genealogical Society

Minutes of the Meeting - March 11, 2011

The March 2011 meeting of the Madison County Genealogical Society was held at the Edwardsville Public Library on Thursday, March 11, at 7:00 pm.

President, Robert Ridenour, called the meeting to order.

The following reports were presented.

Financial report for the month of February 2011, as follows:

In the Library

Naturalizations of Foreign Protestants in the American West Indian Colonies by Montague S. Giuseppi. This book has an index of seven different religions that are mentioned as well as the trades or professions of the Foreign Protestants.

German Immigrants List of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York 1868-1871 (with places of origin) by Marion Wolfert

Colonial Clergy of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina by Rev. Frederick Lewis Weis

Cherokee Citizenship Commission Dockets, 1880-84 & 1887-89, Vols. I & II by Jeff Bowen

Moravians in North Carolina (An Authentic History) by Rev. Levin T. Reichel

Check List of Historical Records Survey Publications - Bibliography of Research Projects Reports by Sargent B. Child & Dorothy P. Holmes. This is from the WPA records of the 1930s.

Leclaire 1890-1934 - Images of America by Cindy Reinhardt.

We have received a CD from Dennis Buchmiller of Chesterfield, Missouri, on his family. The CD will be stored in the Family Vertical files with a booklet he wrote some time ago and donated to the Society.

Also the CD's that Rev. Carl Nelson has sent are also to be found in the Family Vertical Files.

The latest issue of the Phelps County, Missouri Quarterly (No. 27 2011) has letters written by William Henry Baker in l862 from the Alton prison during the Civil War to Keziah, his wife.


Do you have a family member that is interested in (or even obsessed with) genealogy? A membership in the Madison County Genealogical Society would be a very thoughtful gift. A gift card will be sent to the recipient of any gift membership.

The following memberships are available:
Individual/Family Annual Membership $20.00
Patron Annual Membership $30.00
Life Membership $250.00

Contact our Secretary, Barbara Hitch, at, about a gift membership.

March Meeting

On March 10, 2011, the regular meeting of the Madison County Genealogical Society was held at the the Edwardsville Public Library.

A program titled Aliens Among Us - Researching Foreign Born Ancestors in Immigration, Naturalization, and Alien Registration was presented by Tom Pearson, of the Special Collections Department of the St. Louis Public Library.

Mr. Pearson's presentation concentrated on German immigrants.

Germans could not legally emigrate without first applying to the city or state for either a passport or permission to emigrate. Then, when they reached the port city, their names were entered on a passenger list ­ one was kept for each sailing. Before 1820, most of the emigrants used the Rhine River to get to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Over time, emigration levels increased and ports in Belgium, Denmark, France, and Germany itself began to be used.

Hamburg is probably the best-known German port city, but Bremen was the most popular, with about 41% of the emigrants, Hamburg had only about 30%, but has managed to preserve more emigration records than has Bremen. The records in Bremen were destroyed during World War II, but valiant efforts have been made to reconstruct them, using the arrival lists kept in New York, at least for the period 1847-71.

Tom talked about the different data kept for passport applications and passenger departure lists. The passenger lists differ from one port of embarkation to another. He talked about where indexes of the records might be found.

Passport records for residents of Hamburg during the period 1851-1929 have been microfilmed by the Family History Library (FHL), including indexes. Applications to emigrate were kept in a number of areas, and are available via the FHL for Baden, Rheinland, Pfalz, Zwickau and Württemberg, to name a few examples. Usually these records cover the period c. 1750-1900.

The passenger departure lists were originally kept at the port of departure.

Hamburg: Hamburg has the original lists and indexes at the Staatsarchiv, with complete coverage for 1850 to 1934. These lists and indexes have been microfilmed by the FHL.

Bremen: The reconstructed Bremen lists have been indexed. The index has been published in the book German Immigrants: Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York by Gary J. Zimmerman and Marion Wolfert.

Netherlands: Unfortunately, no passenger lists are available for the Germans who departed out of Rotterdam, mostly prior to 1820. An alternative is to check existing arrival lists, especially those for Philadelphia.

Belgium: There are records at the FHL for emigrants leaving Antwerp, indexed in the book The Antwerp Emigration Index (also found on FHL microfilm #1183596).

Denmark: Passport records of persons who left through Copenhagen (Kobenhavn) from 1820-1862 are listed on FHL microfilms.

France: The port of choice for Germans departing via France was Le Havre. Available from the FHL are Le Havre lists of crews and passengers for the period 1730-1887.

An index for the Alsace-Lorraine region s) has been compiled by the FHL for the period 1817-66. This index can also be found in The Alsace Emigration Book, compiled by Cornelia Schrader-Muggenthaler. It includes over 20,000 entries from the period 1817-70.

Arrival lists were logged as immigrants disembarked at New York and other ports. Unfortunately, hometowns were usually not recorded on these lists, but the lists can be used to help find the departure list, which sometimes does list this information. The book Passenger and Immigrations Lists Bibliography, 1538-1900 by P. William Filby is a directory of over 2,500 lists. In addition, Filby's Passenger and Immigrations Lists Index provides access to more than 1,600 such lists (mostly post-1820).

St. Louis Public Library owns microfilm copies of passenger arrival lists for the following American ports (some additional coverage for some ports is available on

Baltimore - 1820-1891
Boston - 1820-1891
New Orleans - 1813-1902
New York - 1820-1906
Philadelphia - 1800-1882
Miscellaneous Atlantic, Gulf Coast, & Great Lakes Ports - 1820-1873

Mr. Pearson discussed the evolution of the US naturalization laws. Between March 1790 and September 1906, a naturalization could be performed in any court having perpetual recordkeeping, common law jurisdiction, a seal, and a clerk. This covers almost every court in the United States. To make things more difficult, the Declaration of Intent (first papers) and the Petition for Citizenship (second papers) did not have to be filed in the same court.

During World War I and World War II, if an alien had not started the naturalization process, they were not required to register for the draft, but had to register as aliens (perhaps enemy aliens, depending on their country of citizenship).

During World War I, statistics on aliens residing in the United States included the following: Citizens of Germany: 158,809, Citizens of Austro-Hungarian Empire: 751,212, Citizens of Turkey: 81,608, and Citizens of Bulgaria: 19,873.

Many World War I alien registration records have, unfortunately, been destroyed. Significant exceptions are the state of Kansas, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Phoenix, Arizona. NARA has copies of those records. Records for other areas, if still available, will be found in a local library, archives, or other repository, not NARA.

Beginning on August 27, 1940, aliens required to register went to the post office or other specified location to be fingerprinted and photographed. They also filled out a form on which they listed all family members in this country and in the old country, and any that were in military service in the old country. Persons who failed to register and be fingerprinted could be fined up to $1,000 and imprisoned for up to six months.

4,741,971 aliens registered in accordance with the Registration Act of 1940. Of these, 1.1 million were enemy aliens 14 years of age and older. Of those, 683,259 were men. Of these men, 56,332 were Japanese citizens.

WW II Alien registration records are now held by the Bureau of Citizenship & Immigration Services (part of the Department of Homeland Security). They can be requested using form G-639, available through the BCIS website. It will take some time to get these records (months rather than weeks), but can be well worth it - the file on one Italian-American man's grandfather was 152 pages in length!

During World War II, some enemy aliens who were viewed as possible security risks were detained in internment camps. While many Japanese-Americans were sent to internment camps, thousands of enemy aliens not of Japanese descent also were sent to internment camps: Japanese: 112,000, Germans: 10,905, Italians: 1,600, plus smaller numbers of Bulgarians, Hungarians, Romanians, and Czechs. Some of the persons sent to internment camps were citizens of the United States, some persons who had begun the naturalization process, and some citizens of enemy nations.

Not widely known is the fact that the United States was by no means the only Allied nation to intern enemy aliens. Canada interned 23,000, Britain - 8,000, and Australia - 4,000.

Another little-known fact is that during World War II, the FBI arrested 16,811 enemy aliens for engaging in or plotting subversive activities, including espionage and sabotage. Nearly 6,000 of the persons arrested were Japanese citizens living in the U.S.

Japanese-Americans did, however, suffer undeniable discrimination: 62% of those interned were American citizens, not enemy aliens. Internees of differing descent were generally enemy aliens.

NARA holds many records dealing with aliens/alien registrations/alien internments.

Mr. Pearson also discussed the alien information that may be found in census records. It was not until 1900 that a significant amount of data about alien residents was recorded on the census.

This presentation was well received and generated many questions.