Ever hear the phrase, “Everything you ever wanted to know about _____ can be found here?” It’s a great exaggeration. I have even used it in conversations from time to time to highlight the value of some resource. Yet, I know the phrase is not true. I could study a subject of interest for years and never really learn all there is to know. But the fact that a resource cannot possible cover every aspect of a topic doesn’t diminish the value of that resource; nor, does it diminish the credit an expert deserves for doing their best to provide absolutely as much information as they can on a topic. This is how it is with They Became Americans: Finding Naturalization Records and Ethnic Origins. While this book may not cover absolutely every possible bit of knowledge possible on the area of naturalization, that did not stop author Loretto Dennis Szucs from trying.
Szucs is both an expert and a professional. She worked for the National Archive, served on the Illinois State Archives Advisory Board as well as the governing boards for the Chicago Genealogical Society, the South Suburban Genealogical and Historical Society (Illinois), and the Illinois State Genealogical Society. At the time she wrote this book she worked as the Vice-President of Publications at Ancestry. The list of credentials goes on. To top it off, she has written at least three other books:
Loretto Szucs credentials are important to demonstrate here commitment to excellence, and it show in They Became Americans. In her introduction, Szucs recounts the feelings she had attending a naturalization ceremony. Ten years later she is still “moved by the remembered words and emotions of those new Americans.” Every U.S. citizen today has an ancestor who is a naturalized citizen. Even those who became citizens by default when the United States was born at the signing of the Constitution. Throughout the nation’s history, the process of naturalization has been documented and subject to a variety of laws.
“They Became Americans provides an accurate, readable, and interesting historical framework for the citizenship process. It suggests ways of finding naturalization records and discusses the weaknesses and strengths of the different types of records. If naturalization records are not to be found, They Became Americans points to a variety of alternative sources for finding immigrant origins.” In short, the book is designed to help the researcher find that key ancestor who moved from some distant location in the world to America, and the associated records of that immigration.
Chapter 1 The Naturalization Process in the United States: Historical Background
Chapter 2 How to find Immigration and Naturalization Information
Chapter 3 Naturalization Courts and Processes
Chapter 4 Published Naturalization Records and Indexes
Chapter 5 Immigration and Naturalization Service
Chapter 6 Naturalization Records in the Nations Archives
Chapter 7 Finding Naturalization Information on the Internet
Appendix A Immigration Chronology
Appendix B Selected Addresses
Appendix C INS Form
Order They Became Americans: Finding Naturalization Records and Ethnic Origins from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $19.55.