Naturally He Naturalized Somewhere

Before I wrote this post, I had a preconceived notion about Focke Goldenstein never having actually having been a resident of Knox County, Illinois. As I wrote the post, I realized that given what I know about him between 1873 and 1880, he very well could have lived in Knox County during a significant part of that time. Sometimes it really does help to write out one’s thoughts.

Focke Goldenstein naturalized in Knox County, Illinois, in 1879. At the time I discovered this, I had no idea where he naturalized. The naturalization was located because it was in his homestead application.goldenstein-knocounty

I’m not certain at this point that the naturalization by itself provides strong enough evidence to conclude that Goldenstein ever lived in Knox County for any significant amount of time.  Information in his 1873 emigration papers from Ostfriesland, Germany, suggest he was going to live with his sister who lived in Adams County, Illinois. He is enumerated in the 1880 census in Adams County, Illinois with an aunt and later marries there in 1881.  It is possible that he resided in Knox County in 1879 but a careful reading of the document makes it apparent that he didn’t have to live there to naturalize there. Nowhere in the document is he styled as being “of Knox County, Illinois.” In fact, his residence is never stated.

Could he have naturalized in Knox County, Illinois, without having been a resident there at the time of his naturalization?  Reading the naturalization document appears to indicate that he could have. The only items regarding residency are:

  • Five years in the United States
  • One year in Illinois-nothing about within the county where the naturalization took place

Goldenstein didn’t have to be a long-term Knox County, Illinois, resident to naturalize in Knox County. It’s possible that Goldenstein lived in Knox County. It is also possible that he did not.

Goldenstein’s witnesses would have had to have been known to the Knox County court. They would have most likely been Knox County residents.

And they would have had to have been citizens.

Documenting Focke’s residency in Knox County won’t be easy, but we’ll have a later post with a few additional thoughts on his relationship to Knox County.



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