Traveling Outside the United States
Your immigrant ancestor most likely would have needed an American passport if they traveled back to the “old country.” This means they would have become naturalized and filled out a passport application. Some information that could appear on an application (this one is 1913): name, spouse, minor children including their birth dates, applicant’s place and date of birth, ship came on and where and when it departed, resided in the U.S. for how many years including dates and places, the court in which naturalized (Superior, Circuit, etc.) including city of the court and date naturalized, where they are currently residing, occupation, how long traveling, and then an oath of allegiance signed by the applicant. Then below that, is a description of the applicant: age, height, forehead, eyes, nose, mouth, chin, hair, complexion, and face. Next follows the witness’ signature.
The FHL had 2,090 rolls of film of these applications from 1795-1925, which you can order through your local FHC. The years of 1830-1831, 1850- 1852, and 1860-1925 are indexed. The applications are broken down into 1 or 2 month increments, arranged chronologically for each year. If you know the year and not the month, you may have to look through 6 or 7 rolls of film. Note: These records may be digitized. Check the library catalog of the Family History Library website, familysearch.org, for more details.
Passport Application Changes
A later application (this one is 1964) has the following:
Section A: full name, address, date of birth, place of birth, height, hair color, eye color, approximate departure date, visible distinguishing marks, and occupation. (For office use only has a place for applicant’s, spouse’s and children’s birth certificates).
Section B: persons to be included in this passport (asks for a group photo) including spouse’s full name and all children’s names, places and dates of birth, and when the resided in the U.S.
Section C: If had a previous passport then for what year, who the bearer was (including spouse and children), passport number, date of issue and cancelled or other.
Section D: father’s and mother’s name, their place and date of birth and if a U.S. citizen.
Section E: if married (date), to whom, and when and where that spouse was born, and if spouse is a U.S. citizen. It asks it the marriage is or isn’t terminated and why (death or divorce including the date). If a woman was previously married before March 3, 1931 she has to state the same as above for her former spouse.
Section F: traveling by tour, purpose of trip, country(s) visited, port of departure including ship or airline, approximate date of departure and how many trips abroad in the last 12 months, means of transportation, if you plan to take another trip abroad, how long the stay is for the current trip. It asks for permanent residence (address, county). It asks for who to notify in the event of accident or death (this was blacked out due to privacy).
Section G goes into the Communist Party and Oath of Allegiance. Then the applicants signature and date.
A separate page had to be completed for a naturalized citizen. That page is divided into the following:
Part II: If absent from the U.S. during the past 5 years when and where.
Part III is in regards to naturalization: immigrated to the U.S. on date, residing in the U.S. from & to (dates), where resided, naturalization certificate number and submitted now or previously, date naturalized, and where, which court, and what was previous nationality.
Part IV is for an applicant not born in the U.S. who claims citizenship through parents. It asks for date if immigration, resided in the U.S. (dates), if father naturalized including dates, certificate number (submitted), court and place, resided in U.S. (dates). It repeats the process for the mother.
Part V is for an applicant whose wife (if included on passport) acquired citizenship through naturalization of herself, her parent or former husband. It asks for wife’s date of immigration, who she was naturalized through and date, which court, place, number, and periods of absence.
Part VI is for a male applicant whose wife was previously married before March 3, 1931 and who is included on the passport. It asks for: her maiden name, date of previous marriage, name of former husband, place of previous marriage, former husband’s place of birth, and how and when the marriage was terminated. Part VII is for a female applicant whose husband (or former husband) was not born in the U.S. It asks for his date of immigration, which court he was naturalized by, place, date and certificate of naturalization.
A renewal form for passports covers only the Sections A – C. For applications after 1925, you will have to write to: Passport Office, Dept. of State, 1425 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20520. You MUST enclose a copy of the applicant’s death certificate as well as the approximate time period the applicant would have applied.
copyright 1998-2021 Cheri Mello
About the Author:
Cheri Mello has extensive experience researching and teaching Portuguese genealogy. She currently moderates the Azores Genealogy Google Group.