A Nationality of Her Own

While prepping for my “Researching Female Ancestors” webinar, I came across references to a book I have been meaning to read for some time: A Nationality of Her Own: Women Marriage, and the Law of Citizenship. 

Marie (Desmarais/Demar) Apgar Verikios Williams, born in Clinton County, New York, in the 1890s technically lost her citizenship when she married un-naturalized Greek immigrant Peter Verikios in Chicago in the early 20th century.

Whether she personally let it impact her is another story entirely. I’m not certain how much voting mattered to Marie

Her 1920 census enumeration lists her as a native born alien. Her neighbor, born in Wisconsin and married to a native of Japan, was in the same boat and also enumerated as a native born alien. Census enumerators were instructed to indicate as “alien” the citizenship status of native-born women married to un-naturalized aliens.

The neighbor actually was not quite in the same boat as Marie. I’m not even certain they were on the same pond. Marie wasn’t actually divorced from her first husband, William Apgar, in 1920 and was living as the wife of Peter Verikios without, as they say, benefit of marriage. So while she is enumerated as a native born alien in 1920 she really wasn’t a native born alien because she was still married to her native born husband William Apgar, very much an American citizen.

Marie wouldn’t technically be a native born alien until after she divorced William Apgar and married Peter Verikios.

However, as the descendant of quite a few female immigrants in the 19th century, I’m glad to finally have some time to actually sit down and read the book.

Hopefully we will have a few lessons to post from it when I’ve had time to read it.




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