Tuesday’s Tip: Repatriation Documents Identify Birth Location

Bertha Ryder believed she had lost her citizenship. Even though she was ethnically Luxembourger, she was born in the United States and thus was an American citizen by birth. At least until she had married Ryder, a native of Canada. An American woman that married a foreigner between 1907 and 1922 automatically, according to the US, took on the citizenship of their husband. You can read about the process here.

What makes Bertha’s especially interesting is that she attempted to get her citizenship back by filing a petition in the California federal court system in 1950. The petition provides extensive detail about Bertha and her husband, including their occupations, date of marriage, date and places of birth, residence, and more. California’s petitions are available on Ancestry.

Bertha’s work to regain her citizenship not only earned it back but also left her descendants with a valuable resource that records everything down to her eye color. If your Luxembourg-American ancestor married a foreign spouse between 1907 and 1922 or was that spouse, be sure to check for repatriation documents. They may break down a brick wall.




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