Derivative Citizenship

A derivative citizenship is one that is derived from the citizenship of the someone else, usually the father of the husband. In the United States, foreign born children under the age of majority when their father naturalized would generally be considered naturalized themselves and would not have to go through the process themselves.

If your ancestor immigrated as a child, indicates he is naturalized but you cannot find any naturalization papers in his name, then consider the possibility that he had derivative citizenship through a father’s naturalization.

Genealogy Tip of the Day is proudly sponsored by GenealogyBank. Try their “GenealogyBank Search” and see what discoveries you make. 


6 thoughts on “Derivative Citizenship

  1. Joan Schacht

    Two questions
    1. I have never seen any notation of such status for citizenship. Is there?
    2. I have heard a female could loose her citizenship if she became a widow or divorced. True?

  2. Dorothy Carbee

    Is the same true for a child who likely emigrated with his Father before the US was a country – (early to mid 1700’s)?

    1. michaeljohnneill Post author

      Probably, but in that time period English citizenship laws would have applied–and I’m not overly familiar with those. Not too many non-English immigrants actually bothered to naturalize during the colonial period. What country was your immigrant born in?

      1. Karen L McKee

        I think I read where you mentioned before that a wife automatically became nautralized if her husband became so. Good to know the children did too. I didn’t know that.
        What about when any of them return to UK for a visit. Did they have to have a passport, because I have never found any mention or seen a record of one. My maternal grandmother was born in Ohio, but her parents and younger siblings born in England. On several occassions, my grandmother sailed with her father to England and once the whole family returned. My grandmother spent age 12-18 living there with her grandmother learning dressmaking. After marrying here in the U.S., my grandmother took her children to England for a visit, Never found any of the 3 generations with passports. I have found plenty of passport applications through the years of family members in late 1800’s on. Is there something more I should know?

        1. C Windham

          This may or may not help. My mother is a French Citizen with a permanent resident card. When my sister and I were minors, we were on her passport. My mother’s picture and name were listed as well as each of us. There were 3 pictures and names on the first page. I did not apply for an American passport (my father is American) until I was older and lived in the US.

      2. Dorothy Carbee

        I’ve yet to nail down whether Switzerland or in one of the duchys bordering the Rhine River in what is now Germany. He was naturalized 9 Oct 1765 (Source:”Naturalizations of Foreign Protestants in the American and West Indian Colonies”, editor M.S. Giuseppi) I’ve yet to access the records. I believe he was under age of 16 when he emigrated with other family members (to date have been unable to definitely determine who his father was; he was born in 1735). He obtained his first land warrant in Whitehall Twp, Northhampton Cty, PA in 1754.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.