According to NARA's online research guide Naturalization Records, in the United States:

From 1790 to 1940, children under the age of 21 automatically became naturalized citizens upon the naturalization of their father.

To my understanding, e.g., in the 1930s, a petition for naturalization would serve as the name change documentation for the father, since the typed form links the father's name on the ship manifest to the Anglicized name he has since adopted (unlikely to have been changed at Ellis Island).

This petition for naturalization lists the names and birth dates of the father's children, ostensibly as part of their derivative naturalization through their father. But the petition only shows the children's Anglicized names, and thus doesn't document the children's name changes from the ship manifest.

What, then, for legal chain of documentation purposes would serve as proof of the child's name change (e.g., that the child with a foreign birth certificate is the same person that was naturalized by a different name in the United States)?

  • 2
    If you have a question about the "legal chain of documentation" -- for example, to comply with current laws to get a Real ID, this is a legal question, not a genealogy question.
    – Jan Murphy
    Jan 11, 2020 at 22:53
  • Interesting. I have an instance of someone who emigrated to the US as a child applying for a US passport and effectively needing to supply proof of identity. His birth certificate would have been useless since it was a completely different surname for him. Yes, he matched the passenger list, but that could just be coincidence. The "proof" was an affidavit by him and a witness that he was who he said he was. I imagine that if separate proof were needed in your case, then an affidavit would be the road to take. Remember that the system has to work for people who don't have birth certs.
    – AdrianB38
    Jan 12, 2020 at 12:21
  • PS - the witness was his mother-in-law - hardly independent - and the affidavit a tissue of lies! But it was enough to get him a passport!
    – AdrianB38
    Jan 12, 2020 at 12:23


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