Geneablogy: An occasional Journal about our experiences exploring our heritage

Friday, August 4, 2000

I got mail from the Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services today with my Great-Grandpa Horbal's naturalization papers, including his Declaration of Intention and his Petition for Naturalization. Cool! I've been waiting for this for months, as I figured it would have the answer to the question of where he was from. Unfortunately, the INS's copies were pretty awful. There are three mentions of his birthplace, one on his Petition and two on his Declaration, and they're all three unreadable. The first appearance on the Declaration of Intention is the blank for "I was born in":

[ Stara something-or-other ]

Following the town, it says "Galicia Aust Poland". The second appearance on the Declaration is for the blank that says "my last foreign residence was:"

[ Stara something-or-other, Austria Poland ]

The appearance on the Petition for Naturalization is for the Third item, "I was born on the 24th day of Sept, anno domini 1891, at":

[ Stara something-or-other, Poland ]

<sigh>.... I waited three months to find out that my great-grandfather was born in Stara <mumble>, Poland.

Other interesting information that I can decipher from the copies (and which will lead me to other records, like ship's passenger lists, which will hopefully be more readable) say that he came to America on the ship Kaiserin Aug. Victoria, leaving Hamburg on 11 Dec 1909 and arriving in New York on 20 Dec 1909. He filed his Declaration of Intent on 18 Jun 1919, I think, in Cleveland. And he was in Cleveland longer than I thought; Uncle Paul was born there in January, 1917, as was Aunt Della later on. Uncle Ray was born in Pennsylvania in September, 1915, so they moved to Cleveland sometime between September 1915 and January 1917. His Declaration was number 26790. His witnesses on the Petition were Edward R. Birkholz, a boilermaker living at 663 East 70th in Cleveland, and Samuel E. Machasek, who was in real estate and lived at 1129 East 147th in Cleveland, near as I can tell. They both said that they had known Great-Grandpa since 1 Feb 1917 and that he had lived in the US continuously since then.

Great Grandpa is described as being white, of fair complexion, 5' 4", 155 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes and no distinguishing marks. When he filed the Declaration of Intention, they lived at 14421 Darley Ave. in Cleveland, but by the time he filed the Petition, they were at 1929 Columbus, which is where they were at when he got his citizenship on July 5th, 1922.

In the cover letter, the INS says that they are "providing you with the best reproducible copy available. You may want to contact the Clerk of the US District Court in Cleveland, Ohio, for a more legible copy." Indeed I might.

Jozef Horbal

Posted at 6:30:58 PM