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I am looking for the names of the parents of my great grandmother Emilie Hannaman-Heunemann-Honneman?

She was born about 1883. She immigrated to US in 1906 from Berlin. She married my great grandfather Peter Berkhout in New Jersey shortly after arriving in US.

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    Kathleen, can you refine your question to be more specific vs. "Looking for Information" and breaking up your quest for additional information into multiple specific question as you come across them? I suggest you also take the tour to see how this Q&A site works so we can best help you. Thx – CRSouser Mar 21 '17 at 5:34
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Building on the previous answer with some specifics:

Since you already know that her last residence before emigrating was in Berlin and you have the alternate surname spellings, we can assume that you have seen Emilie's 1906 passenger list at Ancestry and FamilySearch,
Emilie Hennemann in the New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 &
Emilie Heunemann, New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924

On the image, did you notice:

  • her destination was her uncle Herman Schowrok, Brooklyn N.Y., 449 - 46th Str. Follow up on him as well, to the determine the exact relationship. His records may have clues and details that will help find Emilie's family. If you have not found Emilie & Peter's marriage record in New Jersey, perhaps the marriage took place in New York.

  • the notation 2-8144 12-12/19/40 indicates that she applied for naturalization. Although the USA was not yet at war with Germany in 1940, the naturalization process may not have been smooth. Alien registration records may also have a lot of information. (Peter's naturalization was underway in 1918 & 1920, his petition and declaration probably include details on his wife and minor children).

  • On Emilie's immigration record page at Ancestry, the "Suggested Records" section includes the equivalent Hamburg Passenger List, which has (Provinz) Brandenburg as birthplace, rather than the more generic Germany of the New York record.

In addition, husband Peter is in the Social Security Death Index. If Emilie survived him, she probably received survivor benefits. She may have used his SSN or applied for her own.

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Following up on a previous answer:

For more information about alien registration forms, here are some resources that will show what kinds of information you can find in those records:

WWI Alien Registrations (these were created and held locally and do not survive for all areas; may be tricky to locate):

  • An alien notion by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, on The Legal Genealogist, posted Nov 16, 2012
  • The forms of 1918: Hoosier-style by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, on The Legal Genealogist, posted May 21, 2015 (this post introduced me to the database below)
  • Genealogical Records of German Families of Allen County, Indiana, 1918 an online searchable database (based on the print publication) hosted by the Allen County Public Library. People had to list the names of their relatives on the forms, so there are references to family members living outside Allen County, Indiana. The post in the link above will show you an example of what information was extracted from the forms.

Try to find out where your people were living just before or during WWI and then look for an inventory of records for that area by using an inventory from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Historical Records Survey. This guide by Bryan L. Mulcahy, Reference Librarian at Fort Myers - Lee County Library discusses the various kinds of records the WPA workers looked for and gives tips on how to locate the inventories.

WWII Alien Registrations:

For an overview of immigration laws that will place these and other records in context, see Family Tree Magazine's research guide Timeline of US Immigration Laws.

The suggestion to look for the Alien Registration forms is a good one -- these record groups are especially valuable because they list the names and residences of other family members. If you get lucky, the forms might give you direct evidence of parents' names, and since they are rich in other identifiers, it can be easier than it is with other records to see whether the form belongs to your person or someone else with the same name.

Naturalization Records:

With an arrival in 1906, it might be worthwhile to ask the USCIS Genealogy Program to do an index search to see if they have records for your great grandmother Emilie. When you apply, give them all known variants of her name. Their brochure has information about how to do a request and their website can give you an overview of the historical records that are available at USCIS.

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    Thanks @Jan, you've filled a gap in my answer that I had recognized but for which I didn't have the resource links. – bgwiehle Mar 25 '17 at 20:13
  • @bgwiehle Given what time period we're looking at, the 1918 alien registration is definitely worth looking for. – Jan Murphy Mar 25 '17 at 20:30
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I would always start by working my way back. Look for an obituary and death certificate if you know where she died. Then look for a marriage certificate, immigration and naturalization records, or ship records. If you don't know which part of Germany she was born in, those documents might reveal that, and might also name her parents. Church or baptismal certs for Emilie's children may also name her parents or siblings as sponsors, so those are worth getting as well. If the direct route doesn't work, I would also investigate others with the surname Hannaman living in the same county as Emilie, to see if they are siblings, parents, or other relatives.

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