Was it common for immigrants to list babies born before leaving home as natural born in the U.S.?

+7 votes
in Genealogy Help by Susan Sloan G2G1 (1.3k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
I know it happened on census forms, but I have no idea how common it was. Probably more often than we will ever know. Many times there were language barriers between census takers, they reported the next door neighbor's best guess.

I can't say I've seen it happen in other types of sources, but that should not be taken as any assertion that it's not there.
..You mean like popover on fun-filled weekend and have a child and then go back to Europe (or wherever) and get back into peasant garb and take a two to three week arduous journey across an ocean in a steamship and then tell the customs agents this story.  ...hmmm...  :D
Thinking more like parents perceived potential benefit of being natural born citizen better than as an immigrant.
Lots of kids were born on the boat.
Have seen evidence of that as well. Am mor interested in tjose documented as being born in either England/Ireland and America. Thanks
My ggrandparents came To the US with two children, a boy and a girl.  The boy never attempted to hide his foreign birth.  The girl, who was a few years younger, changed her date of birth to make it appear she was born after her parents’ arrival.  Why?  

Well, we do know that prejudice against immigrants was very common in the US at the time she was growing up, so we suspect she just wanted to fit in and be accepted by her schoolmates instead of being rejected and bullied as she would have been had they known she was one of those terrible “foreigners” who were overrunning the country and destroying its culture.  

It was only after she had been dead for decades that we found her original birth registration in the foreign records.  Even then we weren’t sure it was the record of *her* birth.  Her  oarents might have lost that child in infancy and reused the name for another daughter born a few years later in the US, but after exhaustive research in both countries we have been unable to uncover even one shred of evidence of the foreign-born child’s death, or of the birth of any other child who is not fully accounted for, so the only reasonable conclusion is that she was that child who was born in the old country several years before the birthdate she adopted after arriving in the US.

2 Answers

+2 votes
I have a great-grandfather who was born in Germany. I found him on a passenger list with his parents, grandparents and siblings, but all the census forms say he was born in the U.S.
by J Steinbach G2G6 Mach 3 (35.4k points)
0 votes
Like the others, I am not sure how common this may be, I ran into it once and I am still trying to determine what is true.  It is one of my brick walls.  I have not added her parents yet because I am not exactly sure of all of the information.  

I ran into the following.

One one Census it shows the birthplace as York S and on another it shows birthplace as New York.  Other than the census records I have not been able to find another source, yet, that will verify her birthplace.  I have found that when it is possible that using more than one source and comparing the information across the family helps to determine the accuracy of the information.  Hopefully this makes sense.
by Rodney Jones G2G6 (7.7k points)

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