Joseph and Frances Stariha's Voter Registration Card

And Joseph's Naturalization Record

By Connie Lenzen, CGSM

Naturalization records created before September 1906 are difficult to locate. There's no master index, and aliens could go to any court of record. For aliens on the move, tracing their migration is complicated.

When it is known that an ancestor voted, his voter registration may reveal where he was naturalized. On 16 September 1922, Joseph Stariha registered to vote in Multnomah County, Oregon. His card included information about his naturalization. He was naturalized on 3 April 1897 in Toledo, Oregon.

Joseph Stariha's voter registration card

Joseph's wife registered to vote on 2 October 1928 in Portland. She married prior to 1922 and therefore acquired her husband's citizenship status.

Frances Stariha's voter registration card

Source: [Multnomah County, Oregon] Foreign Registration Cards to September 1967, roll 25 (Portland: Multnomah County Microfilm Service, ca. 1960), Joseph Stariha and Frances Stariha entries.

Joseph Stariha's petition to become a citizen was filed in a County Court Journal for Lincoln County, Oregon. The page was filled with writing, but the information was skimpy. Joseph Stariha filed his declaration of intent to become a citizen in Chouteau County, Montana, on 18 May 1888. He petitioned the Lincoln County court for citizenship on 5 April 1897. Robert Campbell and H. W. Vincent were witnesses to the proceedings. Subsequent research did not reveal any relationship between Joseph and the two witnesses. Joseph had been in the United States for more than five years and Oregon for more than a year. Nothing was said about what country he was from or when he came to the United States. The record is a transcription of another document, and Joseph's declaration was not filed with the petition.

Joseph Stariha's naturalization petition

Source: Lincoln County Court Journal, p. 55; Trial Court Administrator's archives, Newport, Oregon.

Joseph's intention to become a citizen was located. It shows that on 14 May 1888, he declared his intention to give up his allegiance to the Emperor of Austria. No further information was given, and no witnesses were named. The two documents illustrate the fact that naturalization records created prior to September 1906 seldom give direct information about an ancestor's birthplace. These documents provide evidence of where Joseph was living at a particular point in time, and records for those localities need to be researched.

Montana naturalization

Source: Chouteau County, Montana Intention Book #3: 118.

Return to Searching for Multnomah County, Oregon Naturalization Files.

Home Columns and Articles Speech List

© 2002–2009

Connie Lenzen, CG

CG, Certified Genealogist is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

The National Genealogical Society's "Research in the States" series includes an Oregon guide. To order a copy, shop the NGS Online Store.