Friday, October 12, 2012

Naturalization Papers Surprise!

For the last few days I have been writing about my mother's paternal line, the Desjardins/Gardner Family of Montreal, Quebec, Canada / Astoria, Queens County, New York / Patchogue, Long Island, New York.

On my father's line, a lot of my research was handed to me by various researching cousins. Oh, don't worry, I verify everything that is given to me with documentation and my own research. My mother's line, though, I have done almost all my discoveries on my own. No one has really taken me by the hand and pointed me in the right direction or handed me family trees until very recently. It is only within the last 3 years or so that I have found other researching cousins on my mother's side. Everything up until my 3rd great grandparents I found with very little help or guidance. I had just a few notes to work with from Grandpa Gardner and that was all. Unfortunately, Grandma Gardner passed away before I was born. To reach my 4th, 5th, 6th, and further generations of great grandparents, I did have to connect with researching cousins; they are the greatest resource I have! But at least in the case of Malvina Ethier-Desjardins, my great-great grandmother, everything I know I learned on my own.

The greatest document I have about her life her naturalization papers. For years and years I scoured the various New York District Court Records - - found nothing! And then I learned that Suffolk County's Naturalization Index was available online: Suffolk County Naturalization through the Italian Genealogy Group. Suffolk County is Long Island, New York's eastern most county and the one in which Patchogue is situated. That is where Malvina lived for the latter part of her life. And sure enough, that is where I found her naturalization papers.

It resolved one big mystery; Malvina did not arrive through Ellis Island, like so many newcomers to New York, Malvina came from Montreal via RAILROAD! Her port of immigration was Grand Central Station! Not only does the document reveal this, it list her date of birth, her address, her date of arrival in the U.S., and all of her natural-born U.S. citizen children's dates of birth and residencies, the document includes a photo. A photo! I had never seen a photo of any of my grandfather's relatives - none. And here on these documents from 1938 was a picture of my great-great grandma. 
Doesn't she look a lot like my grandpa?
They are each about 75 years old in these photos.

 Malvina Ethier-Desjardins circa 1938

Her grandson, my grandfather, Clarence Albert Gardner, circa 2003

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