Nov 012011

Given that I struck out in my search of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, I need to do a search of the National Archives and I need to order certified paper copies of census records and immigration records for my great-grandfather.

You can order the certified record from NARA online here:

You'll need to set up an account to place an order. After that:
– Click on Order Reproductions.
– Click on Census Pages (bottom left quadrant, first entry).
– Click on NATF 82: Census Records (NATF 82).
– Be sure to choose Certified Paper Copy from the Delivery Format dropdown menu.
– Complete your order.

1) NARA Search for Naturalization Record for Angelo Palmeri $7.50 plus $15 for certified paper copy.

2) NARA immigration record $25 + $15 for certified paper copy.

3) NARA 1910 census $25 + $15 for certified paper copy.

4) NARA 1920 census $25 + $15 for certified paper copy.

5) NARA 1930 census $25 + $15 for certified paper copy.

Nov 012011

Even though my great-grandfather had listed himself as "na" (naturalized) on the 1930 census, I just received a letter of "no record" from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Maybe my great-grandmother gave the information and did not know, or did not understand, or maybe they had submitted the records but never actually finalized the naturalization.

Now I need to request a certification of non-existence of a naturalzation record. Looks like I'll also need to get certified copies of the Census as well. From one of the online discussion groups, I saw that this was required:

2. if he/she never became a US citizen, you must provide a), b) and c): 
a) an Official statement issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, specifying that he/she never became a U.S. citizen. Such document must show, as confirmation, the full name with all aliases, the date and place of birth. 
b) you are also required to do an extensive search with the National Archives ( The National Archives will have to provide a letter of confirmation which contains full name with all aliases, the date and place of birth. 
c) census record may provide additional information relevant to your case: Immigration Records, Naturalization Records, Ship Passenger Lists, Military records, U.S. Passport applications, Voter Lists Record and other (;

I also found this:

To check to see if someone naturalized (and I assume we're talking about the US, here), there are several routes you can use. The end-all-be-all of agencies is the USCIS <>. Once you have proof of death of the person (death certificate, obit, etc.) or the person's approval (if living), you can file a G-639 FOIA request for the C-File of the person. You'll either get a "letter of no record" if the person didn't naturalize or the person's naturalization file. The problem with the USCIS is that it takes a very long time to get a response (1+ years). An advantage is that it's free.

A faster route is the National Archives (NARA) <>. You have the specify where the person lived, and for a fee, the archives will search for naturalization documents filed in federal courts with that person's name in their region (each NARA office covers a region of the country). NARA will then send you either a "letter of no record" (you must request to have them mail you a letter if nothing is found) or a copy of the naturalization documents except for the certificate of naturalization (they don't keep those). It costs $22.50 for certified documents, but they get back to you in a matter of weeks.

Since the National Archives only searches documents filed in federal court, you may also want to check the county in which the person lived to see if he/she filed in that court. The procedure, price, and timing varies. You'll have to contact the county archives directly. 

Oct 312011

The Detroit consulate sent me a roughly formatted document last week that I now realize has information buried in it for how Amy can get Italian citizenship by marriage:

Italian citizenship through marriage
If you and your spouse reside abroad, you can apply for Italian citizenship after three years from the date of marriage, by presenting a request for naturalization accompanied by the receipt of the payment4 of Euro 200.00 and the following documents:
– birth certificate of the applicant;
– certified full copy of marriage certificate issued by the Italian Town Hall;
– certificate of residence of the applicant.
– certificate of citizenship of the Italian spouse (this will be issued by the consulate of residence at the time of application);
– certificat of family status (same as above);
– Police Clearance or Certificate of criminal records, issued by the central authority of each state of which the applicant has been a resident since the age of 14, accompanied by a translation into Italian.
– F.B.I. Clearance with finger prints form (in addition to the above certificate/s), with translation into Italian.

The fee must be paid prior to the presentation of the request, through international bank transfer or through Eurogiro network.
When making your payment use the following guidelines:
IBAN code n. IT54D0760103200000000809020
Reference of payment :
a. For citizenship by marriage please indicate: "ISTANZA DI CITTADINANZA PER MATRIMONIO"
b. For reacquisition of citizenship please indicate "ISTANZA DI RIACQUISTO CITTADINANZA"
c. For renouncing Italian citizenship please indicate "DICHIARAZIONE DI RINUNCIA ALLA CITTADINANZA"
BIC/SWIFT code of Poste italiane:
– for international bank transfer: BPPIITRRXXX
– for Eurogiro transactions: PIBPITRA

Oct 302011

Poking around Italian Citizenship Message Board today and saw this: "They were both married in Pennsylvania, which does not record marriages at the state level. When we originally requested these certificates from the county courthouse, the county clerk ASSURED us that the marriage certificates provided to us were the only official record of marriage. As my husband feared, the certificates lacked certain information. The consular officer nearly laughed out loud when he saw how short they were. Specifically, he said that the certificates needed to show parent's names and information of any previous marriages (or a statement that there were none)."

I now realize that our marriage certificate is a "short form" from the City of Tonawanda. I need to apply for a long-form from NY State. Another $30.

Oct 302011

I will need to get several US documents translated into Italian (various birth, marriage, and death certificates). Even though I am going through the Detroit consulate, I will need to get several of my NY documents authenticated by the NY consulate. Detroit does not seem to have a list of approved translators, but NY does. So I think I should pick a translator from their list. I'll be emailing them to get a sense of the cost for their services. I've heard up to $50 per document, though some have noted prices half that. Fingers crossed.

Looking at the Italian Citizenship Message Board, I see that some consulates require, e.g., "to have the translator certify the accuracy of the translations and to get the translator's certification notarized and apostilled" … "it was necessary for the translator to be a licensed translator, who could certify the translation (which certification would then be notarized and apostilled)" … "Documents on the line of descent originating in states outside of the jurisdiction of the L.A. consulate had to be authenticated by the consulate with jurisdiction over GA and P.R. I hired a wonderful translator in Miami who set-up the appointment with the Miami consulate and took all the docs to be authenticated." 

From the NY consulate :,frameless.htm?NRMODE=Published


Aggiornato/Updated: 2011/03/16

1 Penn Plaza, Suite 2016
New York, NY 10119
Tel.: (917) 291 4568
Fax: (212) 736 2159

CERESA Carlo e Alberta
935 White Plains Road – Suite 206
Trumbull, CT 06611
Tel. 203 880-9668
Fax 203 880-9830

COCCIA Rahoy Gabriella
Jamaica Estates, Queens, NY
Tel.: (718) 523-6864

244 Fifth Avenue, Suite G259
New York, NY 10001
Tel.: 917 837-9943

ATA Certified Eng>Ita
Manhattan, NYC
Tel.: (212) 366-1346
Professional Profile:

261 West 35th Street
New York, NY 10001-1902
Tel. 877-464.3638 (toll free)
212-255-8400 x124
FAX: 212-255-8409

Prof. Rosaria TENACE, Certified Interpreter -Translator
Tel.: 860 257-4227
Fax: 860 760-6063 (24/7)

LAWYERS’ & MERCHANTS’ Translation Bureau, Inc./RWS Group
11 Broadway, Room 466
New York, NY 10004
Tel.: (212) 344-2930
Fax: (212) 422-6877

300 Glen Street – Suite 2
Glen Cove, NY 11542
Tel. 516 656-5888
Fax: 516 656 5999

400 3rd Avenue Apt. 14A
New York, NY 10016
Tel. 212 – 684 2410
Fax: 212 – 683 2923

RUSSO Fiorentina
Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Italian
St. John’s University
Tel. (516) 850-7939

15 Parkway Drive
Port Chester, NY 10573
Tel/Fax: (914) 939-5827

ATA Certified Eng>Ita
Tel/Fax: 860 561-4704
Cell: 860 670-8077

Rosanna M. Giammanco Frongia, Ph.D.
637 Tompkins Avenue, upstairs
Staten Island, New York 10305
Tel. (718) 727-7728
Cell (718) 619-2637
Fax (718) 727-0770 e-mail: 

Update 31 Oct 2011

Definitely glad I emailed everyone. Some responses were wonderfully detailed and helpful. One refused to respond to anything over email, demanding that I telephone. Another said they wouldn't even give a ballpark until they saw the documents. Gives you a quick glance at how these folks might be to deal with in the coming month.

I also learned that the translation part is definitely NOT a bottleneck. Estimates ranges from 3 days to 2 weeks.

Oct 302011

Until a few months ago, I was 1/2 Italian, on my dad's side, and 1/4 Irish and 1/4 French, on my mom's side. My mom's parents were both 1/2 Irish and 1/2 French.

Now, things are a little different. My dad is still full Italian. So that 1/2 is intact. My mom's side is a bit more complex now. 

My maternal grandmother is a Wilson and Cruice. I now know that Wilson side is probably "Scotch-Irish" since census records list Samuel Wilson's parents as being from Belfast and since Samuel Wilson listed his religion as Presbyterian on his marriage record. The origins of the Scotch-Irish lie primarily in northern England and the lowlands of Scotland. They came to Northern Ireland in the 1600s. According to lore, the Cruice family escaped the French Revolution to Ireland. While we considered that part of the family "French", given that Patrick Cruice's wife is Bridget Sweeney, and given that Patrick Cruice's mother appears to be Mary Golden, both decidedly non-French last name, it seems likely that the Cruice side is more like 1/4 French and 3/4 Irish. 

My paternal grandfather is a Burke and de Guehery. The Burke family is Catholic Irish, but we don't know what the Brady family is (Anthony Burke married Maria Brady), but we'll list her as Irish until we know more. We now know more of the history of the de Guehery family. Margaret de Guehery's mother was Marion Cuthbert, who was Scottish. Her father was Emmanuel de Guehery, who was 1/2 French and 1/2 German.

So that makes me:

1/2 Italian (1/8 Palmeri, 1/8 Giambrone, 1/8 Millonzi, 1/8 Parisi)

7/32 Irish (1/16 Burke, 1/16 Brady, 1/16 Sweeney, 1/32 Golden)

1/16 French (1/32 de Guehery, 1/32 Cruice)

1/32 German (Mack)

1/16 Scottish (Cuthbert)

1/8 Scotch-Irish (Wilson)

Oct 292011

All documents from the United States require that an apostille be attached to them. These certify the documents according to international law.

A couple of weeks ago, I got apostilles for my sons' birth certificates in downtown Nashville. Today I sent off an apostille request for our marriage certificate from NY State ( This is a trial run to see how quickly the documents are returned. I'll be sending off apostille requests for a number of birth and death certificates in the coming weeks and months as I receive them.

Oct 292011


On the Italian Citizenship Message Board I found a note that some consulates require a notarized affidavit from anyone living in the chain that they also never renounced their Italian citizenship.

Today, I sent my dad a document to get notarized that said essentially the following:

I, Joseph A. Palmeri (born — — —- in Buffalo, NY), am the son of Joseph J. Palmeri (born 2 Oct 1911 in Buffalo, NY, died 19 Jul 1967 in Buffalo, NY, husband to Sarina Millonzi, born 14 Oct 1915 in Montemaggiore Belsito, Italy), who was the son of Angelo Palmeri (born 27 Jan 1886 in Serradifalco, Italy, died 29 Sep 1969 in Buffalo, NY, husband to Maria Giambrone, born 12 Apr 1890 in Serradifalco, Italy, died 11 Jul 1972 in Buffalo, NY).

I hereby declare that I have never renounced Italian citizenship before any Italian authority.

I basically created a similar version of that for myself that I'll get notarized this week.

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.

Oct 272011

This evening, I searched microfilm of birth records (Atti di Nascita) from Serradifalco and found my great-grandparents, Angelo Palmeri and Maria Giambrone.

Not only is this an interesting tidbit, but I needed to make sure that these records could be found in order to apply for dual citizenship. This at least proves that these records existed when the LDS church microfilmed the Serradifalco records.

Angelo Palmeri, born 27 Jan 1886 in Serradifalco, Sicily

Maria Giambrone, born 12 Apr 1890 in Serradifalco, Sicily

Oct 262011

As I noted in a recent post, it looks like my great-grandfather, Angelo Palmeri, came to the US through Ellis Island in 1909 with his sister-in-law, Giuseppa (Baglio) Palmeri, and his nephew, Giuseppe Palmeri. The manifest says that all three were going to join Pietro Palmeri in Yatesboro, Pennsylvania. I originally thought that was simply an error, or that it could be the wrong Palmeri family entirely. But then I found census records for Pietro and Salvatore Palmeri in Buffalo that note that some of their children were born in Pennsylvania as well as Italy and Buffalo.

I've now confirmed from marriage records from Serradifalco that this was indeed my great-grandfather, Angelo, traveling with his brother Pietro's wife, Giuseppa (Baglio) Palmeri.

A new search on turned up Palmeris in Pennsylvania in the 1910 census in Cowanshannock, Armstrong, Pennsylvania, right outside of Yatesboro. 

Salvatore Palmeri and his family, Pietro Palmeri and his family, and Angelo Palmeri living outside of Yatesboro, Pennsylvania, according to the 1910 census

That's coal country and Salvatore, Pietro, and Angelo all list themselves as coal miners. Serradifalco was a major sulfur mining area in Sicily for many many years. Indeed, some of the oldest mines in Sicily are near Serradifalco. As such, many immigrants from Serradifalco came to work in the mining industry in the US. It appears that three of the Palmeri brothers did for a time. Angelo went to Buffalo the next year to marry Maria Giambrone in 1910. It seems that Pietro and Salvatore went to Buffalo a few years later, probably around 1913 or 1914 based on when various children were born in Pennsylvania or New York.

I found some things online that indicated that Yatesboro had coal mines in the early 1900s that were run by the Cowanshannock Coal Company. I found this web site on the early history of Yatesboro at

Until the turn of the Nineteenth Century, Cowenshannock Township was sparsely populated rolling farmland with no Catholic church. However, the discovery of abundant coal seams in the hills surrounding Rural Valley heralded the opening of coal mines and an exciting new era of change began in the valley.

In March, 1899, Lucious Waterman Robinson, president of the Commonwealth Coal and Coke Company, a subsidiary of the Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal and Iron Company, purchased 1000 acres of farmland from millionaire capitalist Adrian Iselan. Robinson’s intention was to open a coal mine, to erect mine buildings and build a company town for his employees. He named the town Yatesboro after Arthur G. Yates, president of the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railroad (BR&P).

The rich veins of coal turned out to be very productive and, by 1901, Commonwealth Coal employed 400 men in the Yatesboro mines. By 1913, the number of miners soared to 1075 men who mined more than 825,000 tons of coal yearly. In the early years of production, nearly all of the coal from the Yatesboro mines was sold to George Eastman (the famous camera magnate) who used it to heat his Eastman Kodak laboratories in Rochester, New York. Mr. Eastman and Mr. Robinson were quite good friends and next door neighbors in Rochester.

With the opening of the mines, immigrants from Europe began to flood into the area to seek their fortune. Many Italians, Scotch, Swedes, and middle Europeans such as Poles and Czechoslovakians left their homelands to seek the riches promised in America. Not sure what they would find in this new land, many left their families behind in Europe. (The coal company especially encouraged married men to work in the mines as they represented a more stable workforce.) Coming by train straight from New York to Yatesboro, most of the immigrants boarded in the company-owned Valley Hotel until the company built the planned two hundred and fifty single and double houses that would allowed the miners to send for their families.

Eventually, Commonwealth Coal and Coke was operating five mines in Yatesboro and the company town grew to include a company-owned store (The Valley Supply), a fine hotel, a pool hall as well as a school (grades 1 – 10) and churches.

Many of the European immigrants brought with them their strong Catholic faith and traditions which were a central part of their lives in their homelands. With no church within walking distance, Roman and Greek Catholics began to congregate at Peter Mann’s Hall where the Lutherans also held their Sunday services. (Peter Mann’s Hall was a social hall and pool room located on the site of the present day William Penn club on Main Street, Rural Valley). It was at Peter Mann’s Hall, on August 15, 1901, the Feast of the Assumption, that Father John DeVille, a priest from Saint Anthony’s Church in Walston, Jefferson County (Diocese of Erie) gathered the Catholics together to celebrate their first Mass.

Yatesboro, Pennsylvania, northeast of Pittsburgh

Oct 262011

How is my name spelled?

My father always told me that it was originally spelled "Palmieri" but that in the 1930s or so one of my great-grandfather's nephews had everyone change their names to "Palmeri" in an effort to make it sound less Italian.

In fact, my grandfather's birth certificate has all the names as "Palmieri".

birth certificate for my grandfather, Joseph Palmeri, born in 1911 in Buffalo, NY

But as I've accumulated more records, it's become apparent that the occasional early use of "Palmieri" is probably because my great-grandfather and great-grandmother were illiterate when they came to the U.S.

The Ellis Island records all list the names as "Palmeri", not "Palmieri".

Ellis Island manifests for Angelo Palmeri, Calogero Palmeri, and Pietro and Salvatore Palmeri

And when I asked my dad's cousin about the name originally being "Palmieri" he denied that based on what he knew. The birth record for his grandfather, Calogero Palmeri, that he obtained in Serradifalco, spells the name "Palmeri", not "Palmieri".

birth certificate for Calogero Palmeri, my great-grandfather's brother, born in Serradifalco

In addition, while there are apparently no longer any Palmeris in Serradifalco, there is still a street Via Palmeri in town. The image is fuzzy because this was a picture taken off of a TV set showing a VCR tape.

Via Palmeri, in Serradifalco, Sicily

Oct 252011

I originally emailed the Italian Consulate in Detroit a couple of weeks ago. Today I got a response. They sent me two information packets:

To be of Not to Be An Italian Citizen? That is the Question

Determination of Italian Citizenship (Jure sanguinis)

The one new piece of information is that all of my documentation, if issued in other States, must be presented to this office, duly certified by the Consulate in the jurisdiction where the certificates were issued. It notes: Vital statistics certificates (birth, marriage, death, etc.) that occurred in the United States of America in relation to Italian citizens must be registered at the City Halls in Italy. The registration will be processed by the Consular Offices. In order to do so the certificates must be submitted to the Consular Office that has jurisdiction over the State in which the events occurred, in certified copies issued by the competent County Clerk Office and legalized with the “Apostille”. Simple photocopies or certified copies issued by the local registrar are not valid for registration in Italy.

Oct 232011

From various census records, and because my grandfather was born in the US in 1911, I knew that my great-grandfather came to the US sometime between 1904 and 1910. The 1920 census said 1907 or so, the 1930 census said something like 1904, but it was hard to read. I had no luck at all finding his immigration record on I was reading a genealogy book and was reminded about

I suppose I always figured that it was just the free version of what I was already paying for with my occasional subscriptions. I should have realized that these are independently transcribed and indexed, so it was quite possible to find something on one and not on the other. Sure enough, with a search I found my great-grandfather, Angelo Palmeri.

Angelo Palmeri
arrived on 1 May 1909
departed out of Palermo
traveled on the "Italia" (see below)

"Italia" : Built by D. and W. Henderson and Co Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland, 1903. 4,806 gross tons; 400 (bp) feet long; 49 feet wide. Steam triple expansion engine, single screw. Service speed 14 knots. 1,420 passengers (20 first class, 1,400 third class).One funnel and two masts. Steel hull with two decks. Built for Anchor Line, British flag, in 1903 and named Italia. Mediterranean-New York to 1922 service. Later Glasgow-New York service. Scrapped in 1923.

Interestingly, it lists him as "single" in 1909. That means that he came the US in May 1909, married my great-grandmother Maria Giambrone when she came in June 1910, and my grandfather Joseph Palmeri was born in October 1910.

Angelo was traveling with his sister-in-law, Pietro Palmeri's wife, Giuseppa (Baglio) Palmeri, and his nephew, Pietro's son, Giuseppe Palmeri. The manifest says Angelo was joining his brother Pietro too. Until this past summer, I never knew that my great-grandfather had a brother Pietro, so if I found this before, I would have just rejected it out of hand.

The manifest goes say that they are going to "Yatesboro, PA". Originally I just chalked that up to the immigration officer continuing ditto marks from the people above them. Those listed above him were also from Serradifalco, so he probably assumed they were all going to the same place.

But now I'm a bit uncertain. On the 1920 and 1930 Census, when I found both Pietro and Salvatore and their families, it notes some of their children having been born in Pennsylvania. It could well be that those two brothers spent some time in Pennsylvania (possibly Yatesboro), had some children born there, and later moved to Buffalo.

Serradifalco was a sulfer mining community, and a number of immigrants from there went to work in mines in Pennsylvania. I found some things online that indicated that Yatesboro had coal mines in the early 1900s that were run by the Cowanshannock Coal Company. 

So, it looks like my great-grandfather first went to Yatesboro, Pennsylvania, where his brothers Pietro and Salvatore were, possibly working in the coal mines, before heading to Buffalo to join his brother Calogero.

manifest for Angelo Palmeri

My great-grandmother, Maria Giambrone, arrived 24 June 1910. She was going to stay with her sister, Barbara Giambrone, and her brother-in-law, Calogero Palmeri, at 174 Terrace St. in Buffalo.

manifest for Maria Giambrone

Also on, I found that brothers Pietro and Salvatore Palmeri arrived 30 June 1907. They were going to join brother Calogero who was living at 174 Terrace St. in Buffalo. The manifest also lists father Giuseppe in Serradifalco. They arrive on the "Perugia". It may well be that after joining their brother they went to work in the coal mines for several years in Yateboro, Pennsylvania.

"Perugia" : Built by D. and W. Henderson and Co Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland, 1901. 4,438 gross tons; 375 (bp) feet long; 47 feet wide. Steam triple expansion engine, single screw. Service speed 13 knots. 1,170 passengers (20 first class, 1,150 third class).One funnel and two masts. Steel hull with two decks. Built for Anchor Line, British flag, in 1901 and named Perugia. Mediterranean-New York service. Torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine off Italy on 3 December 1916.

manifest for Pietro and Salvatore Palmeri

I also found Maria's father, my great-great-grandfather, Giuseppe Giambrone, and her mother, my great-great-grandmother, Giuseppa Amico Giambrone. They arrived Jun 13, 1913, out of Palermo, on the "Principe di Piemonte". They were going to daughter Grazia (Grace) Giambrone at 68 Efner St., Buffalo, NY. He was listed as a laborer. They were also traveling with two of their daughters, Concetta and Paulina, and their son, Vincenzo.

"Principe di Piemonte" : Built by Sir James Laing & Sons Limited, Sunderland, England, 1889. 6,560 gross tons; 430 (bp) feet long; 52 feet wide. Steam triple expansion engines, twin screw. Service speed 14 knots. 1,960 passengers (60 second class, 1,900 third class).Two funnels and two masts. Built for Lloyd Sabaudo, Italian flag, in 1889 and named Principe di Piemonte. Italy-New York service. Sold to Uranium Steamship Company, in 1914 and renamed Principello. Rotterdam-New York service. Sold to Cunard Line, British flag, in 1916 and renamed Folia. Only one trip Avonmouth to New York service. Torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine off the Irish coast. on February 11, 1917.

manifest for Giuseppe, Giuseppa, Vincenzo, Concetta, and Paulina Giambrone

Oct 182011

I thought we were all set with probably the simplest part of our application for dual citizenship: birth certificates for my wife and myself.

Well, my wife informed me that we only have short form certificates.

She learned this when she went down to the local social security office to get an error corrected on her records. It turns out they wouldn't accept her birth certificate. While it was an official copy with a raised seal, it was only a short form, not a long form, so they would not accept it. Apparently, what we both have seems to be the same kind of short-form birth certificate that President Obama originally released that the "birthers" had a cow over until he released his long-form birth certificate. 

my short-form birth certificate (redacted, of course)

We're mailing out requests to the City of Buffalo Clerk's Office to get official, certified, long-form birth certificates today at $10 a piece.

That makes the running total cost so far $186, and we've completed just a handful of steps. And that doesn't include the money I've spent over the past few years filling in the basic genealogical information with subscriptions.

Oct 152011

One of the first suggestions you get when you start doing genealogy is to talk to your relatives. Well, sometimes it takes a little work to figure out who your relatives are.

Last spring, I used a brute force approach, sending letters to about a dozen Palmeris listed in the Buffalo phone book. I included a bit of the Palmeri family tree, asking if any of them were related to Charles and Barbara Palmeri, brother and sister to my great-grandparents. One of the letters apparently went to the son of a second cousin of my father. He passed it on to his father who gave me a call. We met over the summer and he gave me a lot of information on the Palmeri family that I talk about in another post.

He also gave me some contacts on the Giambrone side. I talked to one Giambrone cousin who put me in touch with another Giambrone cousin.

From her, I learned that my great-great-grandfather, Giuseppe Giambrone, and my great-great-grandmother, Giuseppa (Josephine) (Amico) Giambrone, both came to the United States. He died around 1941. She died before him and is buried in Mount Calvery Cemetery in Buffalo. Now I know where to turn to get their death records, which should be filled with information. I'm also sending a letter to the cemetery asking them for whatever information they have on file. She also sent me a detailed genealogy of the Giambrone cousins.

In addition to the useful written information, I got a photograph of my great-great-grandfather!

Giuseppe Giambrone, probably abt 1920

And a photo of my great-grandfather, Angelo Palmeri, my grandfather, Joseph Palmeri, and my great-grandmother, Maria (Giambrone) Palmeri.

Angelo, Joseph, and Maria Palmeri abt 1918

Oct 062011

One lesson I've learned over the past couple of years is to regularly check and New databases are added all the time.

I'm particularly interested in any records related to the date of my great-grandfather's naturalization. I'm 99% certain that he became naturalized after my grandfather was born. My great-grandfather came to the US around 1908. My grandfather was born in 1911. I'm pretty sure there was a waiting period before people could become naturalized. Also, the 1920 census listed him as "pa", which means that his first papers were filed (declaration of intent), but he was not yet a citizen. Only on the 1930 census is he listed as "na", which means naturalized.

But now I need to find proof. So any documentation will help.

My new search on brought up a pretty spartan record from something called the "U.S. Naturalization Record Index".

Not much to go by here. But I try contacting the National Archives in Chicago (because they were the only ones I could find easily oneline) to see if they can help find an original record to go with this index filing.

They tell me that this appears to be the naturalization of Angelo Palmeri while serving in the military during WWI. According to them, the copy of the index card, along with associated information, indicated that he was naturalized in the U. S. District Court, Western District of New York in 1918. But I needed to contact the NY office of the National Archives. I email them (twice) and am still waiting for a response.

I'm not sure if this is my great-grandfather, given that he was listed as "pa" in the 1920 census, but maybe this indexes when papers were filed not when naturalization was finalized. I also don't know whether he actually served in WWI. We'll see if they turn up anything. Leave no stone unturned.

Update (19 Oct 2011)

I received a reply. It turns out this belonged to someone who is definitely not my great-grandfather:

Military Petition Number S2-302 from the Western District Court of New York
Name – Angelo Palmeri
Address – Stationed at Fort Niagara, NY
DOB – January 14, 1887 at Perugia, Prov. Prorricia, Italy
Date of Naturalization – June 1918

Too bad. But now that I have a contact in the National Archives, I'm asking if they can search their records given the information I have. This is in parallel with a search request I submitted to Homeland Security. Still waiting.

Sep 292011

One particularly critical piece of documentation I need for dual Italian citizenship is my great-grandfather Angelo Palmeri's naturalization record.

In order to qualify for Italian citizenship, my grandfather must have been born before my great-grandfather became naturalized. 

I need a statement from homeland security showing his full name, place of birth and date of birth, date of the naturalization, certificate number (or, if a legal alien, his permanent resident card number). Before ordering this record, I had found my great-grandfather's birthdate when I found his Social Security Death Index record on

My first filed attempt was a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Apparently, since 2008, naturalization records are no longer access via FOIA. So my request by email and fax was rejected.

Instead, I submitted an online request through the Genealogy Program website at Requests can also be mailed to USCIS Genealogy Program, PO Box 805925, Chicago, IL 60680-4120.

It took a few clicks to find the right place on the web site. First, I clicked on "Make a Genealogy Request" along the left hand side. "Order Online Now" appeared on the right hand side. Apparently, this is a two step process. First, for $20, you need to do an Index Search Request. If that returns a match, for $35 you need to do a Record Request.

We'll see how long it takes to get a result of the index search.