Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, October 22, 1995, pg. 2

Many Albion residents have a European heritage dating back to the turn of the century when the Albion Malleable Iron Company recruited workers from such places as Russia, Poland, Austria-Hungary (a country which at that time took in several areas), Italy, and the Ukraine. Several hundred persons arrived in Albion, living in “company housing” or in the “foreign settlement” in the vicinity of Austin Avenue. Gradually these families assimilated into American society, and today in Albion their grandchildren and great-grandchildren are the descendants of these early 20th century workers.

For those wishing to research their family heritage, one great way is to look up naturalization records. In the State Archives in Lansing are the Calhoun County naturalization records, filled with a plethora of information concerning our ancestors. These records are contained in two forms. The first is a Declaration of Intention, meaning the person desired to become a U.S. citizen. They would fill out this form, and have it legally filed. They would then have seven years to take citizenship classes and meet the requirements for citizenship. This particular form could include photographs of the person, particularly if they applied during the 1930s and 1940s.

After filing that form and meeting the requirements, the person would then file a Petition for Naturalization. This would be signed by the applicant and two witnesses, have the date of the oath of allegiance, and other legal matters accomplished. The person would then receive a certificate of citizenship which they kept with them at home. The original forms with the information however, stayed with the county records, now in the State Archives.

In the State Archives there are two blue Calhoun County naturalization record index notebooks (A-N and O-Z) filled with the names of persons who were naturalized, including many Albion residents. When using this index,  you write down the name, box, file and page numbers, and the staff will locate the box they are in [Internet update: All records are now on microfilm there for easy look-up and copying on the machine].

Sometimes a name is listed twice, because of the two different forms and a slight variance in spellings, such as an added middle initial. Look ‘em both up. You can copy them on microfilm whether the person is living or not, whether your are related or not, and can bring your camera and make a photograph of the photo, too, if you wish.

The State Archives is located in the State of Michigan Library, Museum and Historical Center on W. Allegan St. It is open weekdays from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. It is easy to get to from Albion. Just take M-99 to Lansing, go north of the GM plant, over the I-496 highway, and follow the “Capital Loop” signs. Turn right on Kalamazoo St. Go two blocks and turn left in the main center drive to the Center and the parking lot.

These records contain much valuable information, such as the ate the person was born, the village they were born in, what ship they came over on and the date, what their name originally was and what it was changed to, their marriage date and place, names of children and places of birth, a photograph, occupation, address at the time, how long they have lived in Calhoun County, and other helpful information.

In encourage our readers while in Lansing sometime to check out the State Archives and look up their own family name. While browsing through the index, I came up with these Albion surnames, as an example (there are many more than just these): Bommarito, Jasienski, Elushik, Stechuk, Veramay, Asaro, Kita, Grenevitch, Sibal, Dubina, Waito, Zielinski, Jabonski, Balchik, Horosko, Sittas, Zasucha, Buinowski, Rudiuk, Marino, Klimovich, Romanchuk, Topa, Janatowski, Sawchuk, Pavulchik, Signorella, Litwinski, Felisky, Brankevich, Shimkus, Simaske, Manino, Markovich, Balchik, Calvaruso, Vafiadas, Kucharchuk, Martinoff, Bokevec, Sokolov, Torre, Bambino, Mymochod, Brankewicz, Zatalokin, Wasik, Schultz, Marchuk, Russell, DeNicola, Quigg, Tymkew, Bournelis, Kabel, Bearman, Kracko, Jaskiw, Paniccia, Slaughter, Prigun, Harry, Pacic, and Karmalski.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the Library-Museum complex. Why not make a family excursion there, show the kids the museum, visit the archives and look up your family name?

Michigan State Library-Museum Complex in Lansing


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