Sunday, May 8, 2016

USCIS C-File for Morris Goldstein

About a year ago, I shared the Certificate of Citizenship for my husband's grandfather, Morris Goldstein. It was a re-issued certificate for one that had been lost. I was confused because there were several facts on this certificate that conflicted with what I already knew about Morris.

Emily Garber of (going) the Extra Yad asked if I had applied for Morris' file with the USCIS genealogy program. I decided this was a good idea and started the process a few weeks after that blog post.

A C-File is a Certificate File, which documents an individual's naturalization. C-Files contain copies of records that show the granting of naturalized U.S. citizenship by courts between 1906 and 1956.

The first place to go is USCIS / Genealogy.

I first requested an index search in case there was more than one file number. It turns out that the number on the Certificate of Citizenship was the one file number that was returned: 984234. It took a little over three months to get this.

A little more than four months after submitting the request for the C-File, I received the twelve photocopied pages in the mail. I scanned the images and did my best to transcribe them.

It confirmed for me that yes, this Morris Goldstein (known as Pop-pop to his grandchildren) was mixed up with another Morris Goldstein of Rhode Island.

This is a copy from the C-File (you can see "DUPLICATE" behind the signature) of what my husband's Pop-pop signed and received for his own files.

The original 1918 Certificate of Citizenship, also in the C-File:

Following is the transcription of this 1918 certificate of citizenship, with typed or handwritten information in blue and my notes in [brackets]:

Certificate of Citizenship No. 984234 [Note that there is a handwritten 3/17/31 under the Certificate Number.]

Petition. Volume ____ Number 1166
Description of holder. Age 21 years; height 5 feet 8 inches; color white; complexion light; color of eyes Brown; color of hair Brown; visible distinguishing marks scar on left cheek. Name, age and place of residence of wife None
Names, ages and places of residence of minor children [blank]
County of Newport )
State of Rhode Island ) SS.                [signed] Morris Goldstein (Signature of holder.)

     Be it remembered, that Morris Goldstein then residing at number 136 Garfield Street, City/Town of Central Falls State/Territory/District of Rhode Island, who previous to his/her naturalization was a citizen/subject of Present Govt of Russia having applied to be admitted a citizen of the United States of America pursuant to law; and, at a Regular term of the Superior Court of Rhode Island held at Newport, on the 12 day of August in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighteen, the court having found that the petitioner had resided continuously within the United States for at least five years and in this State/Territory/District for at least one year immediately preceding the date of the filing of his/her petition and that said petitioner intends to reside permanently in the United States, had in all respects complied with the law in relation thereto and that he was entitled to be so admitted, it was thereupon ordered by the said court that he be admitted as a citizen of the Untied States of America.

In testimony whereof the seal of said court is hereunto affixed on the 12 day of August in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighteen, and of our Independence the one hundred and Forty-Third.

Sydney ??
Clerk, Superior Court
character of attestor


The obvious differences between this 1918 certificate of naturalization and what I know about my husband's Pop-pop include:
Eye color: Brown in 1918 and Gray in 1931 (The WWI draft card has eye color blue.)
Hair color: Brown in 1918 and Black in 1931 (WWI draft card has hair color "dark.")
Former Nationality: Although both of these certificates state that his former nationality was Russian, we know that Pop-pop was born in Romania. Almost all other records I have for him (passenger list, World War I draft card, death certificate) as well as the stories of my mother-in-law, gives the evidence that he was from Yassy / Jassy / Iasi, Romania.
Visible distinctive marks: scar on cheek in 1918 and scar on middle of forehead in 1931. (In fact, I shared the story of how he got that scar here, which includes a photograph.)
Place of residence: Central Falls, Rhode Island in July 1918 and Woodbine, New Jersey in 1931. Okay, so he could have moved. However, his WWI draft card lists his residence in the lower east side of Manhattan in June 1918, and in an abstract of his World War I service, he served in South Carolina from September to November 1918.

Have you noticed what else is different? See the next post in the series: USCIS C-File for Morris Goldstein ~ Comparing Signatures.


  1. Glad you got the USCIS records. I guess we'll have to see if the new mysteries they present made it worthwhile. ;-)

    1. I hope you enjoy this series of posts about this file. It took some time to put together because I wanted to transcribe all of the documents first. Thanks for making the suggestion to send away for this in the first place!