Sunday, November 25, 2012

Naturalization for Jake (1923) and Regina (1944) Solomon

Previously, I have shared the Naturalization records for brothers Josef Handler (oath of allegiance 1919) for Sam Handler (oath of allegiance 1920).

I have found naturalization records for my husband's great aunt Regina (Handler) Solomon and her husband, Jake (or Jacob) Solomon. Because great uncle Jake Solomon finalized his citizenship in 1923,  it doesn't look like Regina became a citizen at the same time because of changes in the naturalization laws.

The following documents can be found in "Naturalization Petition and Record Books for the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, Cleveland, 1907-1946" at Fold3.

When Jake Solomon filed his Declaration of Intention on June 13, 1919, he was 36 years old and working as a cook. He reports that he is of dark complexion, 5'6" tall, weighing 170 lbs, with brown hair and brown eyes. He was born in Mamaros, Hungary, on 2 April 1883, and was living at 2721 E. 62nd Street in Cleveland. He arrived at the port of New York from Fiume, Hungary, on the ship Pannonia on or about December 25, 1908. (Yet I have not had luck finding that record; according to passenger list records at, no ships arrived at the port of New York on Christmas Day in 1908.) He indicates that he is married to Regina, who was born in Serbia.

Note that at the signature line, the Deputy Clerk, Emil A. Bartunek, signed Jake Solomon and indicated that the "X" was his mark; Jake didn't sign his own name on this document.


Three and a half years later, Jake Solomon signs his name on his Petition for Naturalization, at the time, the second step to becoming a U.S. citizen.

On November 16, 1922, Jake Solomon was living at 2677 East 61st Street in Cleveland and was still working as a cook. He reports the same birth date of April 2, 1883, but his birthplace of Mamares was now considered part of CzechSlovak rather than Hungary. This document tells me that he immigrated in November 1908. Perhaps one day I will scroll through all 110 images of the Pannonia passenger list from November 23, 1908 to look for him, but not today... I do notice that a little farther down, there is no reference number for his Certificate of Arrival, so the officials back in 1922 couldn't find his passenger record either!

Some of the information on this document is repeated from the Declaration of Intention. New information here includes that his wife Regina was born on 6 December 1890, in Manares, Hungary, and that his two children, both born in Cleveland, are Esther, born December 20, 1915, and Helen, born May 6, 1918.

Beneath the section with Jake Solomon's signature are the affidavits and signatures of the witnesses, who are ... Sam Handler (Regina's brother) and his wife, Sadie Handler. See their photo here.


The final piece of the naturalization record is the Oath of Allegiance, which Jake Solomon completed on March 9, 1923.

Near the bottom, you'll see his Certificate of Naturalization Number 1850795.


So did Regina become a citizen when Jake did? I would have thought so, based on the records that I had found for her brothers and their wives, but I guess not, since I found records for her naturalization in 1944, again at Fold3.

From an article, Women and Naturalization, ca. 1802-1940 By Marian L. Smith, in the National Archives' Prologue Magazine, (Summer 1998, Vol. 30, No. 2):
     "The era when a woman's nationality was determined through that of her husband neared its end when this legal provision began to interfere with men's ability to naturalize. This unforeseen situation arose in and after 1918 when various states began approving an amendment to grant women suffrage (and which became the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1920). Given that women who derived citizenship through a husband's naturalization would now be able to vote, some judges refused to naturalize men whose wives did not meet eligibility requirements, including the ability to speak English. The additional examination of each applicant's wife delayed already crowded court dockets, and some men who were denied citizenship began to complain that it was unfair to let their wives' nationality interfere with their own.
     Happily, Congress was at work and on September 22, 1922, passed the Married Women's Act, also known as the Cable Act. This 1922 law finally gave each woman a nationality of her own. No marriage since that date has granted U.S. citizenship to any alien woman nor taken it from any U.S.-born women who married an alien eligible to naturalization.(11) Under the new law women became eligible to naturalize on (almost) the same terms as men. The only difference concerned those women whose husbands had already naturalized. If her husband was a citizen, the wife did not need to file a declaration of intention. She could initiate naturalization proceedings with a petition alone (one-paper naturalization). A woman whose husband remained an alien had to start at the beginning, with a declaration of intention. It is important to note that women who lost citizenship by marriage and regained it under Cable Act naturalization provisions could file in any naturalization court--regardless of her residence."
So it wasn't until May 1944 that Regina (Handler) Solomon became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Part of her Naturalization process includes the Certificate of Arrival which indicates she arrived in New York on May 24, 1911 on the SS Pannonia. Sure enough, that's what I found!

Because her husband had already become a citizen, Regina only had to complete the two page Petition for Naturalization, referencing her husband's naturalization, to become a citizen.

Here Regina (and Jake) live at 10517 Elgin Avenue in Cleveland. She is 53 years old, born on February 20, 1891, in Eslok, Jugoslavia. (Neither the date or the place agrees with the information Jake provided in his papers.) She is fair-skinned with hazel eyes, brown hair and stands at 5'3" tall and 145 lbs. She married Jake on December 13, 1914, in Cleveland. She also provides information about Jake, much of which came from his Petition for Naturalization, including his certificate number: 1850795.

Regina's petition notes three children. In addition to Esther and Helen (with slightly different birth dates than those provided by Jake in 1922), Morton was born on March 20, 1928.

Below is the other side of that sheet (note the same tear in the second hole). Regina Solomon officially became a U.S. citizen on June 22, 1944, more than 21 years after her husband.

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