Maybe, No, Maybe

I have identified a passport application for my husband’s great-great-grandfather, John Pope.  The passport identifies the date John Pope was naturalized in San Francisco, California.  I am currently on a quest to see if I can obtain a copy of the original naturalization paperwork or certificate.  You can read about my progress in my last post – Yes, No, Maybe…

Last week, I drove into San Francisco to continue my research at City Hall.  My first stop was actually across the street at the Superior Court of San Francisco. While I know the original was destroyed in the fire following the 1906 Earthquake, I also know that many people refiled their naturalization paperwork as “restored” records.  MAYBE.

A search done by the records clerk showed my John Pope did not file a restored naturalization.  While I was there, I went ahead and ordered copies of his probate packet and one for his son, John Rudolph Pope.  These are kept offsite and will be available for viewing next week.  The clerk in the records room were incredibly helpful and knowledgeable.

Next I walked across the street to City Hall.  My first stop was the Recorder/Assessor’s office.  While they do not hold naturalization paperwork, I have found in the past the clerk’s in this office are the most knowledgeable in the building about who holds what and where.  I also cross checked the book/page number with them for the clue I found from John’s grandma Shirley. Then note indicated a copy of the naturalization had been filed with the Registrar of Voters.  They did not have the said book/[age combination but pointed me downstairs to the Office of Elections.

The person in the office of elections was a more recent addition to the office.  He was kind enough to go ask others in the office to see if the book and page from the clue were kept in their office.  He returned to inform me that those records were old enough that they did not have them anymore.  NO.

I came home with a mixed bag of outcomes.  I am happy to get to see the probate files next week but I was totally bummed my initial MAYBE had not worked out.  I decided to keep at my exhaustive search for available records.  It was time to do some research into where else a copy of the naturalization paperwork or certificate would need to be filed to meet a requirement for something else.

This led me back to the Passport Application I found online.  The application states:

I was naturalized as a citizen of the United States before the Superior Court of the State of Calif at San Francisco on the 30th day of March, 1904, as shown by the accompanying Certificate of Naturalization; that I am the identical person described in the said Certificate….

The digital copy of the Passport Application is just that  – a copy.  It need to get my hands on the original.   I have made inquiries to the National Archives in Washington, DC where the passport applications are held.  They informed me there are passport applications that do have additional paperwork attached. The new plan is to add a research trip to NARA while visiting my parents in Virginia this summer.  So I am back to MAYBE.

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