Tag Archives: immigrants

- From Russia Without Love


PRINZESS IRENE ashore, 1911. (Image used courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection.)

It has been said that there is a thin line between love and hate, and apparently love and obsession.  Or so appears to be the case in the life of Abram D. Toporosky.  In a Winchester chancery cause we find that Abram was a young man of 21 when he left his native country of Russia to begin a new life in the United States.  He married Rosie Ziman in Lomsk, Russia, before making his way to the harbors of New York.  He planned on finding employment and establishing residency so that he could send for his wife and they could begin their new lives in America.

Abram found work as a tailor in New York and after two years he had saved enough money to send for Rosie. Abram’s work load was steady; however, a few months after Rosie arrived his work began to slow down at the tailor shop. An affable fellow, Abram made friends easily, and the Toporoskys did not want for male company. A friend from Russia, Benjamin Stein, even lived with the couple. Abram had a couple of other male friends from the tailor shop—Harris and Wiegder who came around and were considered “good sports.” In particular, Harris, first name unknown, was willing to help Abram out financially. Stein described Harris as a “kind of a sport, a well dressed, … read more »

- “I Declare My Intention to Become a Citizen of the United States of America …”

 Immigrants take the oath to become citizens of the United States in January 2010 at the Library of Virginia.

Ghio Transcript Fisch Transcript Adams Transcript

On November 3, a naturalization ceremony will be held at the Library of Virginia.  A group of people from various nations will take an oath declaring their allegiance to the United States.  The coming ceremony prompted me to investigate the extent of naturalization records in the Local Records collection.  We have naturalization records for approximately 30 localities.  You would expect to find naturalization records in some localities such as  Newport News, Portsmouth, and Norfolk County because of their location along the coast.  However, LVA has naturalization records for western localities as well including Roanoke County, Russell County, and Rockingham County.  The bulk of the records are dated before 1906. The reason being that prior to 1906, the naturalization process was the responsibility of local and state courts. 

The predominant documents found in the naturalization records are the declarations of intent.  An immigrant seeking U.S. citizenship would first file this document in which the applicant declared his or her intent to become a citizen and renounced allegiance to a foreign government.  Information found in the declaration included name of applicant, place of birth, date of birth, age, and name of the ruler to which he or she renounced allegiance.  A person could declare intent to become a citizen at any time and in any place after arriving in the United … read more »

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