Monday, April 20, 2015

Naturalization Records: Lorence Kihn (Lawrence Keen) Becomes A Citizen in 1845

      Let's get into another "fascinating" record for the Family History Sources folder here on Indiana Ties. Actually, for some reason, I seemed to drag my feet on this naturalization research.  But I'd say it was well worth waiting for.  First, how about a little background on my slow search?!  Then you'll see the actual document results from the U. S. District Court of Maryland below.
    Lorence Kihn's (Lawrence Keen) citizenship record was calling to me for maybe a year, patiently waiting for me to pay attention.  Sometimes I think those ancestors have to give us a nudge toward their trail. And this must have been one of those cases.
    In the beginning, while trying to learn more about Lawrence Keen's
Ancestry.com information: Naturalization Index Card, Lorence Kihn, 27 Sept 1945, U. S. District Court, Baltimore, MD.
early days in the United States, I found a copy of an index card in the ancestry.com naturalization index that was a possible lead.  I felt strongly that it could be the record for my 2nd great grandfather based on the name, date and places (see card on right): Lorence Kihn, Bavaria, Baltimore, Maryland,1845. The spelling of his name on the passenger list when he landed in Baltimore in 1840 was Lorence Kihn and he stated in the 1880 census he was from Bavaria. So, the details listed matched Lawrence Keen's history, as far as I knew at the time.   I hoped that the U. S. District Court in Maryland stamped on that index card was the lead for another chapter in his life story.  Since the index card only contained basic information, however, I wasn't positive it was the right person.  I planned to locate the  primary court document and, hopefully, there would be a more complete story included there. However, I would need to learn whether I could obtain a court record from Baltimore and how I'd go about that.  But….who knows what other research pulled me away before I found those answers.  Probably something that seemed easier to find.  For quite a while I had this information lurking there in Lawrence's notes.  I'd glance at it when I came back to his family's page.

    Fast forward to this winter when I was reading a genealogist's blog post that contained hints for locating Baltimore naturalization records at the Philadelphia office of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).  There it was like a gift: instructions on how to email for the exact record I was lacking.  Easy, peasy!  Maybe my grgrgrandfather was nudging me again because I immediately thought of that unfinished piece of his puzzle - that old index card I had saved. It contained the numbers, name and date I needed to make my request:  T. S. #11, Folio 235, Lorence Kihn, Date of naturalization: 9-27-1845.  The NARA staff responded quickly, stating they would search for the record  and that the charge for any documents found would be $10.  They located a one-page document of Lorence Kihn's naturalization on 27 Sept 1845 in the U. S. District Court in Maryland.  I made a phone call and paid by credit card. Since I didn't need a certified copy, I asked to receive it by email.  What  a deal!!  (I'll include below the email address and the information I used to make my request.)
     But, this  time I concentrated on completing Lawrence's naturalization story.  Since I've  learned a few things about the requirements for citizenship, I wondered: Why didn't the NARA office have a "Declaration of Intent" for him from five years previous.  After all, that was required, right?  A search in Google books helped me to learn more about naturalization law.  This is so cool: I found an eBook,  The Personal and Property Rights of a Citizen of the United States: How to Exercise and how to Preserve Them… By Theophilus Parsons, 1878.  This timeless work has been scanned and posted online for all to reference.  With an easy search of the book, I found on page 89 the section of the Laws of Naturalization that explained Lawrence's situation in 1845.  Since he was a minor when arriving in the country in 1840; and since at least three years of the five he was in the country he was a minor; he could be granted citizenship without first making a declaration of intention.  He knew he had to wait the five years of residency, but that he would be a minor for at least three of them and could forego the first application.  Now I know I have all the records he left for us pertaining to his naturalization.  (The above book is packed full of interesting topics:  history of the Constitution, rights of citizens, marriage and divorce, state constitutions, etc.)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Below is a copy of the record received from the NARA office in Philadelphia, along with my transcription of the document:   

The United States of America, District of Maryland to wit:
The United States of America
District of Maryland towit
At a District Court of the United States in and for the Maryland District, begun and held at the City of Baltimore on the first Tuesday in September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty five:
Present the Honorable Upton S. Heath, Judge of Maryland District
William L. Marshall, Esquire, Attorney
Mereau Forrest, Esquire, Marshal
Thomas Spicer, Clerk
among other were the following proceedings towit.
National Archives Records, Philadelphia, PA, Naturalization Petitions filed in the US Circuit and District Courts for Maryland, 1797-1951, 27 September 1845, NARA Roll Series M1168, Lorence Kihn citizenship.  
Be It remembered that on the twenty seventh day of September in the year aforesaid Lorence Kihn a native of Bavaria, and at present residing in the City of Baltimore, appeared in open Court hereunder applied to be admitted to become a citizen of the United States three years next preceding his arriving at the age of twenty one years, and that he hath continued to reside therein to the time of his making this application to be admitted a citizen thereof. And it also appearing to the satisfaction of the Court here that during the said three years of his minority it was bonafide his intention to become a citizen of the United States. And it also appearing to the satisfaction of the Court here upon the testimony of Ann Marie Kunkel that the said Lorence Kihn hath continued to reside within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States five years at least, and one year at least immediately preceding this application within the State of Maryland, that during the said term of five years he hath conducted himself as a man of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same. And the said Lorence Kihn having declared on oath taken in open Court here that he will support the Constitution of the United States, and that he doth absolutely and entirely denounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign Prince, Potentate, State and Sovereignty whatever and particularly all allegiance and fidelity to the King of Bavaria. The Court here thereupon admits the said Lorence Kihn to become a citizen of the United States.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
     The information provided within this court record on Lorence's age confirms further that this is the correct person.  His birthplace and city of residence are factors used as well. They all agree with the historical documentation I have for our Lawrence Keen.  Now if I can just prove that Anna Maria Kunkel who witnessed his naturalization was his sister, Anna Maria Kihn, arriving in 1840 in Baltimore, MD, with Lorence, their father, Valentin and sister, Susanna. Maybe Lorence and Anna Maria are still nudging me to complete their story.
--------------------------------------------------------------

Information included in my request to NARA:
Ancestry.com: Immigration and Naturalization Records:
Name:      Lorence Kihn
Birth Location:     Bavaria
Issue Date:     27 Sep 1845
State:     Maryland
Locality, Court:     District of Maryland, Circuit and District Courts
Title:     Indexes to Naturalization petitions to the U.S. Circuit and District Courts for Maryland, 1797-1951
Description:     Kerr, William-Lauster, George
Series:     M1168

-------------------------------------------------------------
Email sent to: Philadelphia.archives@nara.gov
Excerpts from the email responses:
… The National Archives at Philadelphia is the repository for federal documents considered permanently valuable.  Federal agencies and U.S. Courts in the states of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia have created the records we hold.  The National Archives is the repository for naturalization records conducted in federal courts. The indexes for the Federal Courts of Maryland were searched for the years 1795-1951.  Lorence Kihn was found.

Since this is a pre-1906 naturalization record, it contains very little biographical information on Kihn.  Also, his naturalization is a one-page document.  The cost of a naturalization record, however, remains the same.  See below regarding payment information.  
To receive copies, please send a check or money order for $10.00 made out to NATF and mail to the address listed below.  Or, you can pay by credit card over the phone by calling the number below.  Please reference this correspondence should you decide to call.  If you need these records certified for dual citizenship or court-related purposes, add an additional cost of $15.00 for a total cost of $25.00 for one certified naturalization record.
Please note: we can now send via email a .pdf copy of naturalization records.  We can not certify electronic records that is reserved for paper copies.  When you call regarding payment, please specify if you would like to receive a paper or electronic copy.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,
Nancy

Link to this document on Scribd

Copyright 2015  © Nancy Niehaus Hurley