Friday, December 10, 2010

Massachusetts Naturalization Records

First, I am going to say that I am confident this method of researching works for Massachusetts residents, however, I can not say it will work for all states.

Researching naturalization records can be very frustrating.  Once you have an understanding of how they have been indexed, you will find it a breeze to research.

The first thing that you have to know about is the Soundex System.  You can study this system all you want to try and figure out where your families name fits in all of it but you don't have to.  All you have to do is understand the principal behind it.  Believe it or not, the reason they came up with the soundex system was to make researching easier.  Since there are so many variations of names, the soundex systems combines them together which reduces the amount of time and energy needed for a researcher to locate the record.  I will give you an example: Monahan would be the same soundex code as Mannion, Moynihan, Menihan, etc., soundex code M550.  Makes some sense, right?  Want to know a little more, well lets take a look.  Code M550....M O N A H A N.....use the 1st letter to start M.....ignore the letters A E I O U H W and Y...this leave N and N which corresponds to the number 5.....there are always 4 digits so when there are no more letters to assign you place a 0....thus M550.  Still confused?  The National Archives gives a great explanation, just follow this link:  http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/census/soundex.html.  If you are still confused, this site http://www.eogn.com/soundex/ will conver the name for you.

O..K. so now we have some understanding of the soundex system, the rest is easy.  If you ancestor is from Massachusetts then all you need to know is that they are filed by Soundex, then by First Name, then by Town.  So when I do a search for John Monahan I will find a John Manion in Lee, MA and a John Minihane in Lewiston, ME before I will find a John Monahan in Lowell, MA (Ancestry.com has ME, MA, NH, & VT indexed together),  Understand?

I hope this has helped.  If you are still confused, post your question and I will be glad to help.

3 comments:

Janice said...
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Cathy said...
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Cathy said...

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