Saturday, November 10, 2018

A "heads up" to Hondurans in caravans somewhere in southern Mexico

Back in February 2010 I wrote a post about my father-in-law that included a photo of him in 1917, the year he emigrated to the United States from Albania. You can read the post and see the photo here.

I mentioned in that post that he became a naturalized citizen of his adopted country just seven years after arriving. This past summer his granddaughter, our niece who lived in North Carolina, sent us a package of things that included his naturalization certificate. I am so glad that she took the time to do that, because she died suddenly during the last week of September a few days before her 54th birthday.

Here is my father-in-law's Certificate of Naturalization as a United States citizen. Issued in 1924, it is a work of art and a pleasure to behold. So that you won't have to strain your eyes, I have transcribed it below the photograph.

No. 2013628 ....................................To be given to the person Naturalized.


Petition, Volume 12 , Number 2407
Description of holder. Age, 29 years, height, 5 feet, 6 inches, color, White , complexion, Dark , color of eyes, Brown , color of hair, Black ; visible distinguishing marks, None.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx *
.(Strike through words referring to wife if husband was naturalized AFTER September 22, 1922.)
Names, ages and places of residence of minor children None.
.(Strike through words referring to children if holder of this certificate is a married woman.)

State of New Jersey )
County of Atlanic )........S.S. ...........[Signature of James Cudse]
....................................................................(Signature of holder.)
.......... Be it remembered that James Cudse , then residing at number 2144 Atlantic Ave. Street, [City] of Atlantic City , [State] of New Jersey , who previous to [his] naturalization was a [subject] of The present Government of Turkey, having applied to be admitted a citizen of the United States of America pursuant to law, and, at a May term of the Common Pleas Court of Atlantic County , held at Mays Landing , on the 28th day of May , in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and twenty-four the court having found that the petitioner had resided continuously within the United States for at least five years and in this [State] for at least one year immediately preceding the date of the filing of [his] petition, and that said petitioner intends to reside permanently in the United States, had in all respects complied with the law in relation thereto, and that [he] was entitled to be so admitted, it was thereupon ordered by the said court that [he] be admitted as a citizen of the United States of America.

In testimony whereof the seal of said court is hereunto affixed on the 28th day of May in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and twenty-four and of our Independence the one hundred and forty-eighth.

...................................................................... [signature of Wm A. Blair]
...................................................................... County Clerk.
........................................................................(Official character of attestor.)

.*NOTE. Under act of September 22, 1922, husband's naturalization does not make wife a citizen.

Several things interested me about the certificate. To make the preprinted form an all-purpose one, there were several choices to be made which I indicated above with brackets:


Note that James Cudse (who was born Dhimitri Kuçi in Vlonë, Albania) was termed "a subject of The present Government of Turkey" and not "a citizen of Albania". It is true that there was a large Albanian population in Turkey at the time, but my father-in-law was not one of them, and Albania had declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912. Here is an interesting paragraph about those times from Wikipedia's article about Albania:

"The modern nation state of Albania emerged in 1912 following the defeat of the Ottomans in the Balkan Wars. The modern Kingdom of Albania was invaded by Italy in 1939, which formed Greater Albania, before becoming a Nazi German protectorate in 1943. After the defeat of Nazi Germany, a Communist state titled the People's Socialist Republic of Albania was founded under the leadership of Enver Hoxha and the Party of Labour. The country experienced widespread social and political transformations in the communist era, as well as isolation from much of the international community. In the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1991, the Socialist Republic was dissolved and the fourth Republic of Albania was established."

No mention is made of Turkey in that paragraph. I learned that there were around 5,0000,000 Albanians living in Turkey at the time. In another interesting article called "Albania - Turkey Relations" one reads of the 1923 Friendship Treaty between the two nations and of the 1923 Citizenship Agreement and the Lausanne Treaty, which Turkey applied differently to Muslim Albanians and Christian Albanians. Turkey considered all Orthodox Albanians to be Greeks. If you are a glutton for punishment or need something to help you sleep, read the section entitled "Balkan Wars, WWI, Interwar period, WWII (1912–1944)" in the Wikipedia article, "Albania-Turkey relations".

The reverse side of the certificate is blank except for a small stamp.

Looking at it closer, we see that James Cudse was issued a United States passport by the Department of State on October 28, 1926.

One month later, he married Ksanthipi Rista in the Orthodox Church of Fier, Albania, and brought his new wife back to America, along with her widowed grandmother. The grandmother, who was 75, lived for one more year before her death in Atlantic City.

Ksanthipi changed her name to Carrie and also became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1943. We have never found her certificate.


  1. That is a precious family heirloom, and an example of coming here legally. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. A fascinating account of your father-in-law's coming to the United States. It is a shame that Fsanthipi changed her name. Ksanthipi is beautiful.

    1. Emma, Ksanthipi in Albanian is the same name as Xanthippe in Greek. And people often confused my father-in-law's name, Dhimitri, with the Greek counterpart, Demetri. You are right, both names are beautiful.

  3. You, like me, live in a nation of immigrants.

  4. Go back far enough and we were all immigrants. There is a right way and a wrong way of entering a sovereign nation. The wrong way is invasion.

    1. Adrian, people who insist that the Honduran phenomenon is a caravan and not an invasion are not disturbed by the fact that people in caravans usually do not throw rocks at police.

  5. And almost all empires are created by invasion.

    1. Graham, what do mass migrations create? I suppose the answer is refugees, and vice versa.

  6. As Adrian said we are almost all immigrants of one sort or another. My maternal family originally came to England from France with William the Conqueror. I emigrated from England to Scotland 43 years ago. The 'English' are Angles, Goths, Visi-Goths, Ostro-Goths, Vikings, Danes, Huns, Normans, Romans, The tradesmen the Romans left behind from a myriad of countries,to name but a few.

  7. Graham, I am partially 'English' as my mother's maternal grandfather, Solomon Aarons, was born in Whitehall, London, in 1847 and emigrated to the U.S. in time to serve as a drummer boy in the 69th Pennsylvania Brigade, Company B, during the American Civil War. My mother's paternal grandparents both emigrated here from Germany. My non-bio-Dad's family came from Wales and Scotland. My bio-Dad's mother, I have learned, was born in French Canada. I am what is called 'Heinz 57 varieties'.

    Within our 50 glorious states (each of which could have been an independent country), I 'emigrated' (we said 'moved') from Rhode Island to Texas, from Texas to Florida, from Florida to Nebraska, from Nebraska to New York, from New York to Florida again, and finally from Florida to Georgia 43 years ago, where I have been ensconced ever since.

  8. Interesting archaeology Bob. To me it is strange that Trump has roused so much animosity about the caravan when it is clear that the people in it are just like Ellie's father - seeking sanctuary and a better life. In fact isn't that what Mary Anne MacLeod and Trump's German ancestors were seeking when they came to America?

    1. Yorkshire Pudding, one difference is that the ship Ellie's father sailed to America on docked at a legal port of entry, Boston, Massachusetts. Many in the caravans, we are told, will try to sneak in wherever they can, bypassing the established route. Another difference is that some caravan people told interviewers that they wanted to come to the U.S. to make money to send back to their relatives; that is, they are not escaping political or religious persecution, nor do they seem to be starving due to an economic collapse. It's okay to seek sanctuary and a better life, but they should do it in the ways already established.

  9. As a bit of a family historian, I have come across a few citizenship papers, but none as fancy as that.

    I suppose the point about the caravan is that if they get through, they won't be citizens either, at least not until they have established themselves and they've earned the proper paperwork.

    People do escape to better lives, persecution notwithstanding. Why else did James choose the US rather than, say, Greece or Italy?

    1. Shooting Parrots (Ian), as a matter of fact, James had been sent to Italy by his godmother to be educated, and had been living there for some time. I believe his passport was an Italian one and that the ship on which he traveled to America had sailed from Naples. Info is sketchy. He died in 1983, and his wife Ksanthipi (Carrie) died in 1986. I have visited their graves near Orlando, Florida, but they are not taking further questions at the present time.

  10. Fascinating indeed, and quite beautiful documents in more ways than one. Thank you for sharing, I love a bit of family history as you know x