Sep 172012

Two letters arrived from Serradifalco, Sicily today. One had birth certificates for me and my two sons and the marriage certificate for me and my wife. The other had AIRE documents for me and my two sons; the AIRE is the registry for Italian citizens living abroad. It's now officially official. We are Italian citizens.

my Italian birth certificate (redacted of course)

our marriage certificate (redacted)

my AIRE registration as an Italian citizen living abroad

Mar 012012

My aunt had found what looked to be official birth and death certificates for my grandfather, Joseph Palmeri. I wasn't sure if they were indeed official and if they could be apostilled. Today I got them back in the mail.

apostille for my grandfather's birth certificate


apostille for my grandfather's death certificate

Feb 182012

Because my great-grandfather's last name was misspelled "Palmieri" rather than "Palmeri" on his early documents from the US, I wrote the commune of his birth, Serradifalco, to ask them to confirm that no one named "Angelo Palmieri" was born in Serradifalco on his birth date. I sent this letter last month and just got a reply today, with that confirmation.

A poor translation of their return letter says something like this:

  • Twenty-seven days in that month of January of 1886 and born in Serradifalco Mr. Angelo Palmeri, just recorded document in the records of this district of the State Civil No. 30 Part 11 Series 11;

  • That in the register of births of that year 1886 is not to be born other person bearing the name Angelo Palmieri was born in Serradifalco on 27/01/1886.

Feb 092012

Today my father called to say that he and his sister had found copies of their father's birth and death certificates. That saves both time and hassle, especially since the birth certificate requires a court order in NY State. Now I only need to have court orders to amend the documents that need to be amended.

They also said that they were going to try to get a copy of their parents' marriage certificate. There was none in my aunt's records. But they will try to get one issued from the City of Buffalo or New York State. Fingers crossed. 

Feb 082012

This was originally posted by zsnyder to the Italian Citizenship Message Board. I hope he or she does not mind me reposting here. It's primarily for my benefit since I'm using this blog to record my efforts. But perhaps someone else will find this someday that does not stumble across the original post. I know that it took me a long long time to find examples of people who tried to get a court order on their own without a lawyer. So hopefully these re-posts will help someone else's search. Just give credit to the OP, not to me.

After collecting all of the documents requested by the consulate for my jure sanquinis application I noticed that my grandfathers birth certificate contained numerous errors.

The names of him, his father and mother all contained misspellings and his birthdate was off by a few days when compared to his documents from later in life. To make matters worse, he didn’t go by his given Italian name (Natale) but a shortened version of the english translation (Christmas to Chris). This shortened name was recorded on every government document since birth.

I took a shot and contacted the consulate to see what they thought and the response was to fix the birth certificate or find another another route.

Reading the wonderfully informative posts by jschotz and his dealings with amending certificates in court I started to form the case to amend my grandfathers birth record.

I had the birth and marriage records of my great grandfather and great grandmother so that should take care of their names.

My mothers marriage record had my grandfather listed as Chris (Natale) Mento so that helped with fixing his name.

I then contacted the church where he was baptized to see what information they had. Turns out they had him on record with his given Italian name, the date of birth that matched what was listed on later documents, the correct spelling of his parents names, his godparents names (not needed but a nice genealogical find) and in a column noted “Notunda”, his name listed as Natale (Chris) Mento when he married my grandmother.

So now I have two pieces of evidence for each correction with the exception of his birthdate.

For the second piece of evidence I contacted the National Personnel Records Center and requested any information they had on him during his enlistment in the Navy. They sent me his discharge papers which listed a birthdate that matched the baptismal record and his name listed as Chris Anthony Mento.

With these documents in hand I wrote up my case.

*** I should state that I am not a lawyer and comments about my case from here on are only my opinion. What worked for me may not work for you. ***

I decided to file in Philadelphia as they have an e-file service and since I have family in the area, a place to stay should I need to appear. Through the website I chose Trial Division – Civil, Program: Petitions, Case Type: Miscellaneous Petition. It generated a case number, I uploaded my documents and exhibits and paid the fees.

Three days later the Protonotary entered the documents into the system. When I saw the update I printed out two copies of the papers that had his stamp of approval and sent them to the Philadelphia County Sheriffs office to have them served to Department of Vital Records in New Castle, PA. I sent two copies as one was to be served and the court in New Castle also wanted a copy for some reason. I also had to send two checks to the Philadelphia sheriff as they don’t deputize outside the county. The first check was for them to mail my documents to the sheriff in New Castle and the second was for the New Castle sheriff to serve Vital Records. Also included in the packet was a SASE and a sheriffs return service document that would be mailed back to me when Vital Records was served.

Here is the semi-redacted Notice to Defend, Petition and Exhibit Statement:

Notice to Defend.pdf


Exhibit Statement.pdf

I found this template for writing up briefs. It’s for Apple’s Pages application but I saw many others for Word and Word like programs. Makes life much easier.

Court Brief Template

You may notice that Linda Caniglia is listed on the Notice to Defend but not on the Petition or Order. Well, apparently she retired the year before but is still listed on official documents. I was asked by a clerk of the court at a later date to change the respondent to Pennsylvania Department of Health, Division of Vital Records. I assume if you file in PA for corrections that the later is what you want to use.

I haven’t included any of my exhibits but I did want to post the Exhibit Statement for reference. The original birth record says it’s illegal to duplicate this copy by photostat or photograph. The last thing I wanted to do was submit something to the court that would jeopardize my case. jschotz recommended going this route and it seemed to work well for me. The court never asked to see the birth record.

Two weeks after filing a judge was assigned to the case and about a month after filing the Pennsylvania Department of Health responded with a letter of no opposition.

I thought the case was proceeding rather quickly but boy was I in for a surprise. By this time it was mid-November, two months after filing, and nothing has been updated on the website about my case. My appointment with the consulate was only a month and half away.

I called the court and after being transferred around for a while I ended up speaking to one of the friendliest and most helpful clerks. It seems that my case was causing all sorts of confusion in the court.

The first issue is that I had my mother listed as a petitioner. Since she does not reside in Philadelphia county the court felt that it had no jurisdiction and the case should be filed in the county of her residence. I explained that she was listed to lend credence to the petition as she is the daughter of my grandfather. The clerk understood but instructed me to remove her entirely and resubmit the Petition. I asked if I need to file a motion or pay more fees and she no, just email it to her.

Several days later another issue pops up. The clerk that I've been dealing with calls and says they need a letter from Pennsylvania Department of Health stating that I’ve attempted to amend the birth certificate, that PDH DVR has denied my request and that a court order is needed. I send the request to DVR and they fax me a letter a week later which I scan and email to the clerk I’ve been dealing with.

PA DOH letter.pdf

I give her call after sending the email to make sure the letter is acceptable and if she thinks there may be any other issues. She says everything looks fine. I ask her if she has any idea when the hearing might be and if I should file a motion to do it by phone. She says there won’t be any hearing. That seemed odd. We hang up and the next day she calls me and says the judge wants to sign off on my case and that I need to send her an order right away.


By the end of the afternoon I have the order signed by the judge sent to me by fax but I’d have to wait for the ones with a seal to come by mail before forwarding to DVR to have the amendments made.

I should note that two items were left off of that order. One was line 5, which I’ll get to in a moment and one piece that jschotz had on his:

Issue a new certified long form copy of corrected record to said Petitioner within fifteen (15) days of service of the Court Order upon the Respondent.

That last section is important as I found out the hard way that DVR will sit on the corrections. Even though I had overnighted the Order along with an overnight return envelope they sat on the correction for weeks.

It’s now December 20th and I’m about to leave the country, I still don’t have the corrected birth certificate and my appointment is in two weeks. I call DVR and they tell me the correction is being held up because the new birthdate is two days after the original file date. Their system won’t allow this. I’m absolutely furious that they just now bring this to my attention. 

I contact the clerk in Philadelphia about this issue and she asks me to add in line 5 to the Order and email it to her. I tell her I’m leaving the country the next night and she says not to worry about it. The judge signs the new order right there and it’s faxed to DVR along with official versions going out in the mail. Can you say life saver?

December 30th the corrected birth certificate arrives and my appointment is five days later.

In short:

Look everywhere for documents. Sometimes you’ll be surprised at what you find.

Collect all of the evidence you can to make your case. It’s not like it’s a murder case. The judge just wants to see how you’re getting from point A to point B.

Make a copy of everything that you will use in court send it to PDH with along with the application form and correction form. Tell them that you need a letter explaining that a court order is needed to make changes when they deny you.

Write up your case and have others proof it for you. Keep it simple and to the point.

It may seem daunting but the court is there for you.

Jan 182012

Margaret Ogilvie is my fifth great-grandmother from Scotland, married to David Downie in 1783 in Stirling Parish.

I did a search on ScotlandsPeople and found two birth records for a "Margaret Ogilvie" born between 1755 (which would make Margaret 28 when married, which is rather old for back then) and 1767 (which would make Margaret only 15 when married, which is rather young for back then). I found two records for Stirling, Scotland, one in 1762 to James Ogilvie and Mary Richie, and another in 1762 to George Ogilvie and Christian Leishman. After looking again, I discovered that the birth to James and Mary was the only one in Stirling Parish. So while it's not definite, it seems more likely that her parents were James and Mary since the marriage record for Margaret to David Downie noted "in this Parish" which I take to mean "of this Parish". The birth record notes several other births for Ogilvie's, some of whom could be her siblings or her cousins.

I then did a search for James Ogilvie and Margaret Richie and found a marriage record from 1749, which gives James' father as John and Margaret's father as James, both deceased at the time of the marriage. This seems more likely given that the wife's name is Margaret and the daughter's name in Margaret, which was a fairly common practice back then. John Ogilvie and James Richie would be my seventh great-grandfathers. Pretty cool given that when I started all I had was some of my (first) great-grandparents.

birth record 8 Mar 1761 for Margaret Ogilvie to James Ogilvie and Mary Richie

marriage record 13 Jan 1749 for James Ogilvie and Margaret Richie

Jan 102012

I have a genealogical copy of my grandfather's birth certificate. For some reason, I was able to get that a while back but I need a court order to obtain a certified copy (see below). He was born over 100 years ago. He died over 40 years ago. But I still need a court order.

So I'm going to try to compile together the information I get on obtaining and putting together that court order. I'm just getting start started.

I first emailed a help desk at the NY State Supreme Court of Erie County. The person at the City Clerk's Office in Buffalo said that it would need to be a State Supreme Court order. From the court web site, it seems that they are the only court that can order the government to take some action. This is what the help desk said:

"In order to obtain a court order you must prepare a Petition, which outlines you were are, what the relationship is to the person whose birth record you want, along with the purpose for the record. You may want to attach any documents you may have supporting your reasons for your request for a Supreme Court Order. Since you want to do this without the assistance of an attorney, you also must prepare a proposed Order for the Judge to sign if your application is approved. This office does not have any pre-printed forms for such a matter. Once you have prepared your petition & proposed order, they need to be submitted to the Chief Clerk's Office of Supreme Court in the county where your grandfather was born. If in Erie County, the address is 25 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo. NY 14202."

I think from various things I found on the web, I can put together both a Petition and a proposed Order. What I am uncertain about is how to file a RJI (request for judicial intervention) and how to obtain an index number and whether I will need to do anything to issue a summons to the clerk of Buffalo, as suggested on various blog sites.

Update 11 Jan 2012

New response from the help desk:

"As previously stated, the Petition, any supporting documentation and proposed order need to be submitted to the Chief Clerk's Office of Supreme Court in the county where your grandfather was born. If in Erie County, the address is 25 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo. NY 14202. Erie County does not require an index number nor an RJI unless you want the original documents to be on file with the Erie County Clerk. The petitioner can by-pass the County Clerk altogether and go straight to the Special Term Judge and take the order directly to Vital Records once the order has been signed. Regarding serving the Vital Records Office, I suggest you include a cover letter asking the judge if it is required to serve them."

Based on this, and I followed up with more questions, it sounds like I can send a cover letter, a copy of the Petition, and a copy of the Proposed Order to the Special Term Judge, which now for Erie County appears to be Judge D'Amico. He may require that I "serve" the Vital Records Office or not. Who knows, maybe I would not even need to appear before him. Fingers crossed.

Update 11 Jan 2012

Another response today:

"Your petition would go the Supreme Court Civil Special Term Judge not the County Special Term Judge. Your petition should be sent to the Chief Clerk's Office at 25 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo. NY 14202 because the application must first be logged in so that Supreme Court has a record of receiving the application and for tracking purposes. Paperwork should be sent directly to a judge only after the case has been assigned to that judge."

Update 12 Jan 2012

Response today:

"You should send your petition, proposed order and supporting exhibits to the Chief Clerk's Office. I would also suggest a cover letter, listing your complete mailing address, phone number and email address(optional) if the court needs to get in touch with you. I would also suggest including a self-addressed stamped envelope so that the order, petition, and exhibits can be returned to you once the order has been signed by the judge."

a genealogical copy of my grandfather's birth certificate from the City of Buffalo

Jan 012012

My great-grandparents birth certificates finally arrive from Serradifalco, Sicily. It took three letters along with a $50 order to myitalianfamily that still hasn't come. But at least they're here. 

the letter I wrote to get a birth certificate

birth certificate for my great-grandmother, Maria Giambrone

birth certificate for my great-grandfather, Angelo Palmeri

Dec 242011

While home before Christmas I obtained the following documents needed for dual citizenship:

– copy of my father's driver's license

– a signed and notarized affidavit that my father had never renounced his claims to Italian citizenship

– my parents' marriage certificate (short form and long form), need to get that certified by Erie County and then apostilled by NY State

– my father's birth certificate, need to get that certified by Erie County and then apostilled by NY State

– my mother's birth certificate, need to get that certified by Erie County and then apostilled by NY State

Dec 192011

I found this useful post by JSchotz linked from several other web sites. Here's the original:

I don't know if it is OK to post something that I posted on another website's forum. But, since I belong to a few (and I guess some of us to too) I thought that those who don't belong to others might benefit from this anyway. If it's against the rules, please feel free to let me know and I apologize in advance.


I have posted several questions on this forum over the years and now believe it is time to give back. Anyway, I am a detailed oriented person that lead me to hours and hours of combing forum after forum looking for information on the experiences and processes people went through to amend vital records. Amending vital records by court order isn’t like most civil lawsuits and most of the self-help information was geared for suing your landlord or looking for money owed to you. So, after going through such processes, I felt it would help to post this.

This is of course the last resort in vital statistic corrections – court order.

I have a nightmarish issue with documents. Nine documents total are with significant errors that require amending. My meeting with the consulate resulted in this long quest to fix the vital records of my ancestors, which is underway in earnest. I have vital records from all over the United States that need amending: Washington State, Texas, Delaware, Pennsylvania to name a few. I am NOT a lawyer, NOR is this legal advice. However, since I have completed this process in a few different states now without the assistance of a lawyer (honestly, I couldn’t even get one to give me the time of day on this issue anyway), I found it to be a detailed, but straightforward, process.


Always a critical initial step, it was vital to research, prepare, and understand the rules of the game. The Courts are governed by rules of civil procedure and are, for the most part, the same. Yet each state has their nuances, as well as each Court and judge. These rules lay out the procedure and process you go through, as well as how to serve papers or ask for permission from the Court. Some of the Court rules I used are:

Washington State Superior Court

Delaware Court of Common Pleas

Texas District Courts

Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas

I also purchased a legal dictionary to become familiar with some of the terms I was reading within the Court Rules.

Once I knew where to file the paperwork (venue), I called the clerk of the Court (e.g. Prothonotary in Pennsylvania, Clerk of Superior Court in Washington State) that handles the paperwork and I asked for a copy of the “local Court rules.” I was able to get them sent to me by fax or mail.

After receiving the local rules, I needed to know what to file. This was also outlined in the Court rules and seems that it is pretty standard.

A civil suit (which is what it is called when you try to amend a vital record) begins with the filing of a complaint/petition/pleading and (in some Courts a case information sheet or form), as well as the appropriate filing fee.


Complaint/Petition/Pleading – The first document I drafted was the Complaint (or Petition when I was in Orphans’ Court, or it also could be call a Pleading). This document seemed to take on the following pattern:

1. Introduction;

2. Parties in the Lawsuit;

3. Jurisdiction of the Court and the Venue of the Court (Why the Court level is appropriate and why the specific county Court you filed in is appropriate);

4. Cause of Action (why I am doing this);

5. The Facts;

6. Relief (What I wanted to happen).

I kept the complaint as short as possible by giving a plain explanation of what I wanted to accomplish and what I was using as documentation to support my position. The Courts seemed not to mention anything about this so it must have been acceptable.

I also attached to the complaint, only true certified copies of documents. Later, I asked (motioned) the Judge, after my motion to amend the vital record was granted, to return them.

(Note: I had to file and serve three copies (sometimes four) of each document with the Court and to the defendants. So, yes, I ordered three certified copies of every vital record because making photocopies of them were illegal. I thought it unwise to do something illegal in front of the Court.)

THE NOTICE (OR SUMMONS) – This is a standard form that I found in the Court rules. It’s like a form letter that officially notifies the other parties that they are involved in a lawsuit. In PA, it is called NOTICE TO DEFEND; in WA it is called a SUMMONS. So the language may vary I imagine in other states.

THE DRAFT ORDER TO CORRECT VITAL RECORD – This is a draft of what I was asking the Judge (the relief) to require from Vital Records. By having a draft, it gave the judge an idea of what I was looking for and wanted to see out of the lawsuit. Even though this is also listed in the complaint, it gave the judge in the Orphans’ Court in Pennsylvania the opportunity to sign it without a hearing.

NOTICE OF HEARING – This form was required for three Courts. This Notice is a form that the judge signed setting a date for a hearing at which my family and the defendant are supposed to appear. All of my hearings were scheduled one to two months after the date I filed the complaint.


After I completed drafting the documents, I went to the Court to file. This is not always necessary and most filings can be done by mail, if not by fax or e-file in a select few. However, I suggest you contact the Court and ask if you can file your documents by electronic means. I received the “filing fee” by asking how much it costs to “commence a civil complaint.” It varied from $50 to $250. When I arrived, I gave the Court two copies at the desk and stamped them both. They took my money, assigned a case or docket number (which I then wrote on the documents) and then I took one stamped copy with me so I could use them for the next step.

Summons and Service of Original Process –

The Summons (the document of which I spoke earlier) gives the "defendant" (in this case) notice that they are being sued and to read the Complaint. Within the Summons, it gives the time limit within which the defendant has to file an answer or seek to have the case dismissed. (It was 20 days in my case; but I am sure the Court rules of the other states will say). Careful reading of this document was informative in knowing what I could be done next.

The Service of Original Process was critical because it must be done a certain way. Actually, at first, I tried to mail the forms. However, after reading the Court rules more closely (because in Pennsylvania, you have to serve the papers on the Commonwealth in a special way), I had to request and pay the Sheriff’s office to serve them. If I had continued with only mailing them, I would have gone to Court for the hearing and hear the judge tell me that the Court did not have jurisdiction over the state and my case will be dismissed. Service of Original Process was actually the most expensive part of the entire lawsuit next to the travel expenses.

I had to contact the Sheriff’s office of the same county in which I filed the complaint. They told me the cost and that because I was serving people outside the county, they will deputize the Sheriff’s office in the other counties to serve the papers.

I also found that the Courts were sending documents that were issued by the Court to the defendants and me. I, however, was required by Court Rules to serve these same papers on the defendant and I could do this by regular mail. (Check the Court Rules about this process.)


After I filed the complaint and sent the papers to the Sheriff…I waited. It took about 3 weeks to get the papers (or certificate of service) back from the Sheriffs. The Sheriff in most cases sent a copy of the Certificate of service of original process to the Court, as well as a copy to me. However, this doesn’t always happen so when I suggest if you call the Sheriff to serve papers, ask them what the process is to get the certificate to the Court.


After throwing my 3”, three-ring binder in the corner after all this, I pulled it back out and discovered I made a mistake in one of the complaints I filed. It wasn’t a mistake actually. It was more like I left out a change that I wanted to make. So…I then had to file a MOTION.


This is where you ask the Court to do something. I was asking permission to “amend my complaint.” So, I drafted a motion telling the Court what I wanted to change, why I wanted it, and what Court rule allowed me the opportunity to do it. I then rewrote my complaint with the changes. I also had to write the order for the judge.

I then sent a copy to the Court and the defendants. I had to include a CERTIFICATE OF MAILING with the copy to the Court. This tells the Court that I swear that I sent the same stuff to the defendants. No reply from the defendants meant that they didn’t object.


Naturally, luck was not on my side when I received notice one of my hearings was at the same time I was in Puerto Rico for vacation. To top it off, this notice was received 5 days before the hearing, at 3:30 pm on a Friday before a 3-day weekend; and I was leaving for PR the next morning. With the tickets purchased and 2 hours to get off a MOTION FOR CONTINUANCE, I set to work. A Motion for Continuance is basically a fancy way of asking the Court to reschedule something. I drafted it telling the Court why I couldn’t make it (and included a copy of my ticket receipt and itinerary for proof), and I would like it rescheduled for the next week – or the earliest available date. I sent a copy of the same to the defendants (this time by Federal Express overnight so the judge can sign the order on that Tuesday). Everything was fine and the Judge rescheduled.


I had to go to all hearings in all the states except one. The hearings were generally in front of the judge and about seven to twelve other people in the public seats. The defendants all wrote letters to the judge (and sending copies to me) 15 to 20 days after they received the papers from the Sheriff saying that they didn’t object to what I was asking for and that they were not going to the hearing. This was good news because at least one-half of the people involved didn’t have a problem with what I was asking for.

The first judge was very kind but very formal. He asked many questions about how I had come to find the names and dates were incorrect, how many people in my family knew…but was really concerned about why I believe that these documents would have such errors. It wasn’t all that long…maybe 15 minutes of explaining my family history and how messed up my family was when it came to names. He finally granted me my relief and signed the order for me, and sent copies to the defendant. I also served the defendants officially by mail.

Since I asked the judge to order the corrections be made within 15 days, I was receiving my corrected documents about three weeks after the hearing.

Then…the process started again…As I started with the oldest document and just moved forward in line, using the previously amended documents as additional evidence in the next hearing.

Just two other random suggestions…print sheets of labels with the addresses of all the people you will mail. You send a lot of post in this process so it's handy. Second, I suggest you start with the oldest document first and move forward. Lastly, change everything you can. If you have evidence to make it correct, do it. I battled between just changing the name or all the other mistakes (like missing information or something) and decided that the more I could show the judge the document was incorrect, the better chance I had at getting the change. And besides, I wanted the information to be correct since it was my family history. I of course had all the appropriate evidence to back up every claim of error or omission and wasn't just asking for stuff without proof.

I hope that this is helpful to those who are kind of overwhelmed with taking on the judicial system alone. I learned a lot about our system and realized that, even though it takes a long time, it works.

I included redacted versions of my documents that I used for Washington State for examples. Feel free to use them and modify them as needed.

Washington State Summons


Notice of Hearing

[Proposed] Order

Motion for Continuance

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I hope this is helpful to anyone out there. I will update this as things change with my other court cases and as I have time.

I have attached the files I used in Pennsylvania to correct a Certificate of Marriage. The files are:

PA – Notice to Defend

PA – Petition

PA – Notice of Hearing

PA – [Proposed] Order

I have the following cases completed or pending:

PA – Birth (Adams County), Marriage (Luzerne County), Death (Adams County)

I chose Adams County since the rules allowed me to choose anywhere to file and Gettysburg was a nice quick drive from where I live. I had to go to Luzerne County to do the marriage as it was a document from that court and only that court could change their document.

DE – Marriage (New Castle County)

Same as above with Pennsylvania Court on marriage.

WA – Birth (Cowlitz County), Marriage (Spokane County), Death x2 (Spokane and Cowlitz County) but all filed in Thurston County

I could have consolidated them all in one batch, but I am doing this also for genealogical purposes so it was a good excuse to do more research and travel to see the family homes and graves.

TX – Death (Jasper County)

MD – Marriage (St Mary's County)

I had to visit all states except one case in Washington State. I was able to do that hearing by telephone (at my expense of course). In some Court Rules, there is the possibility to motion for hearing by telephone. So, if you comb through the rules, you may be able to do it. And…if nothing else, you can always motion the court and ask permission I suppose.

I know that many on here dealing with PA do Philly because it is electronic filing. But it really is just as easy to call the court and ask if you can file by fax and follow up with a posted original. Let me say that I have never come across a case where someone didn't have to go to court (or at least make arrangements to be heard by telephone). Electronic filing doesn't mean "trial by e-mail." So just keep that in mind. I suggest that if you review the court rules of a particular state and can file anywhere, file as close as you can to where you live and/or in a small tiny county. You move faster (less cases) and they are a little more accommodating to your lack of knowledge.

Again, I am not a lawyer or a member of the legal profession. My advice is based on research and experience only of myself. You decide for yourself what actions you do or do not take from my advice. It is just a blog of my experiences.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I hope this is helpful to anyone out there. I will update this as things change with my other court cases and as I have time.

Dec 192011

Today we celebrated Christmas with my family. I took some time today to search through my dad's records and found an official copy my father's birth certificate, my mother's death certificate, and my mother's birth certificate. I had a photocopy of my mother's birth certificate, but I thought I would need to get a court order to obtain an official copy with a raised seal. Assuming I can get this version apostilled, no court order may be necessary. I also found a copy of my parents' marriage certificate, but it was a short version, not the long form. I will going to the Town of Tonawanda town hall with my dad to get a long-form copy.

Nov 122011

I sent my birth certificate and Amy's birth certificate to get apostilled by the NY Department of State.

They were returned today. Even though these are official birth certificates, with signatures and a raised seal, from the City of Buffalo, in order to get apostilled, they need to also be certified by the Erie County Clerk.


Glad we're not under any time constraint.

Update 14 Nov 2011

Found out how to request that our birth certificates be signed and certified by the Erie County Clerk. Cost: $3 a piece. Include a SASE. Mail to: 
Erie County Clerk
Attn: Customer Service
92 Franklin Street
Buffalo, NY 14202

Nov 112011

In poking around microfilm shipped to the local LDS church, I found some of my most distant Italian ancestors so far.

My great-grandfather was Rosario Millonzi (1887-1971), his mother was Rosaria Salemi (1853-), her mother was Carmela Maggio (1824-), and her parents were Maestro Giuseppe Maggio (abt 1803-) and Providenza Tripi (abt 1808-). Those are my great-great-great-great-grandparents.

Here is a snapshot of Carmela Maggio's birth certificate from 1824.

Carmelo Maggio Atto di Nascita, Montemaggiore, 13 May 1824

Oct 292011

Even though we just received our "official" birth certificates, I just discovered that these could cause problems because they were issued by the City of Buffalo and not New York State. Either at the Apostille stage or at the Italian Consulate stage, these could be rejected because they were not issued by the state.

So, we're starting over. Today I'm sending out applications to the NY State Department of Health for full, certified, long-form birth certificates for me and Amy. That's another $30 each, which brings our grand total to $252 and we're only a fraction of the way to the finish line.

I'm also sending out a request for my mother's birth certificate to NY State. Technically, the only people eligible to receive a birth certificate are the person themselves and their parents. I adapted the form my father got to receive a copy of his grandfather's death certificate to receive a copy of my mom's birth certificate. I'm including copies of my ID, my birth certificate, my mom's birth and death certificates, a notarized letter saying that I am applying for dual citizenship, and a copy of the citizenship requirements from the Detroit consulate. That's another $30. If they say no, we may need to get a court order.

Oct 282011

A couple weeks ago, we learned that the birth certificates we used our entire life … to get a driver's license, to get a passport, for everything … were not "real" birth certificates. They were simply "Certificates of Birth Registration". 

To get dual citizenship, I needed real birth certificates for Amy and I that showed all the detail information, including a signature from the physician.

They arrived today.