05 April 2014

The Ragu Challenge 3-2-1 CITE!

Dahling Dear Myrtle has come up with a fun contest that will help hone your citation writing skills and your evidence analysis thought process.  She calls it "The Ragu Challenge 3-2-1 CITE!"  Please click on the link and read all about it.  Myrt even made a short 10 minute Google+ Hangout video to explain it all which you can view HERE.

The rules are very simple:  Use 3 documents and write 2 paragraphs about 1 event AND YOU MUST write citations for your sources.

For my entry, I am going to interpret the "event" as a research question.

The research question - Did John Fred Borgstadter become a naturalized citizen of the United States before his death on 5 March 1929?

Document #1 - Declaration of Intent for John F. Borgstadter

I found this record on microfilm from the Family History Library.  
Citation - First (Full) Reference Note
Declaration of Intent for John F. Borgstadter, 12 February 1880,  Cass County, Illinois naturalization records, ca. 1837-1921, Springfield, Illinois : State of Illinois, Registration and Education, Microfilm Division, 1984; Declarations of Intent, Circuit Court 1859-1899, FHL US/CAN Film 1,688,535.

Document #2 - 1900 U.S. Census for Fred Borgstadter

I found this record online at the FamilySearch website.
Citation - First (Full) Reference Note
1900 U.S. census, Lincoln County, Kansas, population schedule, Elkhorn Township, enumeration district (ED) 62, sheet 14B, dwelling 314, family 315, Fred Borgstadter household; digital image, FamilySearch.org   (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MMT1-PDJ : accessed 04 Apr 2014); citing National Archive microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1240486.

Document #3 - Enemy Alien Registration Affidavit for Fred Borgstadter

This record I am not sure how to cite.  I found the name Fred Bargstadter in an online index of Enemy Alien Registrations at the Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies website way back in 1999.  If a name was found in this index, the website advises one to contact NARA Central Plains Region to obtain the actual file.  So I wrote to them and they sent me the files for Fred Borgstadter and his wife Elizabeth.  Problem #1 - NARA Central Plains Region no longer exists, it is now the National Archives at Kansas City.  Problem #2 how do I explain all of the above - how I obtained and viewed the record (in 1999) especially now that digital image of the files are available at Ancestry.com?  Help with this would be appreciated.  In the meantime I came up with the following:
Citation - First (Full) Reference Note
Enemy Alien Registration Affidavit for Fred Bargstadter, 8 February 1918; Textual Records from the Office of the U.S. Marshal for the District of Kansas 1917-1921, NARA Identifier: 289130; Record Group 118: Records of  U.S. Attorneys, 1821-1994; National Archives at Kansas City (RM-KC), 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, Missouri.

Two Paragraphs

In 1880 Fred Borgstadter files a Declaration of Intent to become a U.S. citizen with the Circuit Court in Virginia, Cass County, Illinois.  Twenty years later in Lincoln County, Kansas, the 1900 U.S. census record for Fred Borgstadter indicates that he is a naturalized citizen. A thorough search was done in the court records of  Cass County, Illinois and Lincoln County, Kansas but no  petition for citizenship (final papers) for Fred Borgstadter was found.  However, he could have filed his petition in any courthouse between Illinois and Kansas. It would take forever to look through court records in every county from Cass County to Lincoln County.   If one were to stop researching at this point (which I did in 1999) and evaluate the information in the two records, it is easy to come to the conclusion that Fred Borgstadter must have  been naturalized. 

A short time afterwards I found Fred Borgstadter in an online index of Enemy Alien Registrations (see above).  This registration is proof that Fred was not naturalized as of 8 February 1918.  I think is not likely that Fred ever followed through after filing his Declaration of Intent back in 1880.

FOLLOW UP:  You will never believe this - one hour after I published this post, I was following a bunch of rabbits into their proverbial holes.  One of those holes led me to an Index of Naturalization Records for Lincoln County District Court in Kansas.  For years I have been looking for these records.  There is no microfilm for any kind of court records for Lincoln County, Kansas at the Family History Library. I sent an email to the clerk of the court asking for instructions on how to obtain these records.

Geeeez Louizzzzee - I thought this challenge of Myrt's was going to be a fairly simple task.  I am extremely grateful I did decide to participate. 


  1. Awesome blog post !! I have SO much to learn about citations!

  2. Awesome blog post! I have SO much to learn about citations!

  3. Nicely done. To answer your question regarding the 1999 citation, I would cite the 1999 with the information at that time and a second citation when you found it now on ancestry with dates accessed for both. I don't know if this is the correct way or overkill., Just my opinion.

  4. Nicely done. To answer your question I would cite both the 1999 and 2014 accessed locations for the document. I don't know if that is the correct way just over kill. Just my opinion as a new learner of citations of what I would do.

  5. Such a wonderful example of just one of the benefits of citing sources :)

  6. Great post! Congratulations for following through and having success!

  7. Love your post, Sheri. Writing about our problems always help find a solution or at least a new trail to investigate!

  8. It certainly paid off for you to write up a research problem, and then post it online! Let us know how it works out when you get the naturalization record :)

  9. Well done. Thank you so much for sharing!

  10. Good work, and thanks for sharing. Such a fascinating story, too.