Monday, 18 August 2008

Notes on Naturalization records and British subjects

It can be very frustrating when you find your ancestor on the census records and he states that he is a British subject, but you can’t find the record. Many of the immigrants that arrived before the late 1800’s did not apply for naturalization mainly because it was to expensive and only people with money or businesses were able to afford it. So if your ancestor is on the 1861 census for example and he is a street singer, organ grinder or carman and he says he is a British subject it is probably not true. I have even found a case for one of our members, where the man had served as a volunteer in the army in 1914 and stated that he was born in Bristol and it wasn’t until the 2nd WW that the HO started to ask questions due to his Italian surname, the police checked him out and found out that he had actually been born in Italy…… Remember keep an open mind not everything is always the exact truth.

Other Italian immigrants just did not want to loose their own nationality and preferred to stay as they were, some intended to stay a short time and make some money to take back home, others were and are proud of their origin and wish to remain Italian even though they settled down within the UK.

Did you know ………….
Women who had British nationality were automatically considered Italian in the eyes of the British Government when they married an Italian. Therefore they were also called “Aliens” when WW II broke out and had to request and sign for re admission when the war was over, many of these can be found in the London Gazette.

If your Grandfather or Great grandfather did not become British and did not serve with the British army, then you and your family are entitled to Italian nationality.

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