The National Archives – One of my favorite research sites

 Rode Project

 I love the National Archives website.  It is quick and easy to use.  Although it doesn’t always yield information about my research subject, when it does, the information is incredible.

Adolph Rode

I was recently researching Adolph Rode as part of my Rode Project. Because of the Census records, I knew that Adolph immigrated about 1912[i], he filed his First Papers sometime before 1930[ii], and he had naturalized before 1940[iii].

Just the fact that he immigrated, and thus was at some point an Alien, is enough for me to check that an individual might have a record at the National Archives. Searching the National Archives Catalog is very easy and something you should do for any immigrants in your research. Just enter the name of the individual in the search box; in my case I entered: Adolph Rode.  At the top of the results was “Alien Case File for Adolph Rode.”  The results also include the date of birth and the place of birth, so there was no doubt that the record was the Adolph Rode I was researching.

Next, I wondered if there were any other family members with Alien Case files.

Another search, this time for:  “Rode” “Alien Case File” returned 20 results. I scanned the names for other family members.  The only other familiar name was Adolph’s wife, Louisa. Two records – definitely worth ordering, so I ordered them.

It took a few days to have the records sent from the warehouse to the Archives Office, have the documents scanned, then have the images emailed to me.  I had the option to have them USPS  mailed to me, but I’d just scan them myself and then wonder what to do with the paper copies I received. (Throwing them out just wouldn’t seem right.)

The documents arrived. Some pages were useless, like the back side to an old computer punch card or the form on the backside of a letter that wasn’t filled out. One document in the package was the treasure trove of information that I was hoping for – a Form AR-2 Alien Registration Form.

Registration of Aliens was required by the Alien Act of 1940 and all who registered between 1 August 1940 and 31 March 1944 used the Form AR-2.  I was surprised to see Adolph had a Form AR2 on file. I know when an individual becomes naturalized their A-File is consolidated into their naturalization file. Looking closer at the documents, one of them was about Reinold Rode (Adolph’s son) and identified him as 4 585 609, the same number as his father. It looks as though when Reinold applied for citizenship, they reopened Adolph’s record.

In any event, the Adolph Rode – Alien Case File is a treasure trove of information. There are bits of fun information, such as, Adolph physical description was: 5’2” 165lbs, red hair blue eyes.  There is also key new information, such as Adolph entered the US as a passenger aboard the S. S. Barbrasussa on Apr 25, 1913.  I also learned he was “called by the draft in Nov. 1918,” which indicates he at least registered, and I learned that his First Papers were received on August 1922 in Madison, Nebraska[iv].

Alien Registration Form – AF-2 – Front
Adolph Rode
Source: National Archives; Alien Case Files; File A4585609
Alien Registration Form – AF-2 – Back
Adolph Rode
Source: National Archives; Alien Case Files; File A4585609


The Alien Case File for Adolph Rode provided what all really great sources should provide:

  • Easy search function
  • Access to original documents,
  • Provide answers to genealogical questions
  • Provide the basis for fresh inquiries.

Future Actions

  • Find records regarding Adolph’s arrived in the US aboard the S. S. Barbrarussa.
  • Find Adolph’s WW1 Draft Registration Record
  • Track down First Papers
  • Confirm Naturalization.
  • Follow lives of Margaret, Ruddolph, and Otto


[i] Family Search; 1920 Census; Adolph Rode; Dimick, Stanton, Nebraska; ED 204, Sheet 8B, Line 65,
[ii] Family Search; 1930 Census; Adolph Rohde (Rode) – Slough, Pierce Nebraska, Sheet 4A, Line 12;
[iii] Family Search; 1940 Census; Adolph Rode – Willow Twp, Antelope, Nebraska – ED 2-32, Sheet 4A, family 63;
[iv] National Archives – Kansas City; Alien Case File; A4585609 – Adolph Rode.
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War, Starvation, and Smallpox Decimate the Rode Family

By – Don Taylor 

I have many interesting stories in my family tree, but never have I found a story as heartbreaking, or as compelling, as the story I found regarding my friend’s family.  It is the kind of story that I would expect to see on Who Do You Think You Are, or some other television program. As I unraveled and confirmed the story facts of my friend’s ancestors and their lives, I was mesmerized as I read of the tragedy and inspired by the survival of these Rode (pronounced row-dee) ancestors.

Biography – Adolph Rode (1876-1954)

Adolph Rode was born 28 September 1876 in Poland.  At an early age, his family moved to the Ukraine where he grew up.

In 1902, he married Louise Rode.  Louise had the same surname as Adolph. However, there was no known relationship between the two.

Life as a farmer Ukraine was hard, but okay, and the young family prospered. They began having children. First Rudolph in 1903, Reinhold in 1905, and Leonard in 1906. Another boy was born about 1908, a girl about 1910, then another boy in 1911. Knowing the unrest in the Ukraine and sensing that a great conflict should soon envelop Russia and all of Europe. Because the turmoil in the Ukraine, Adolph decided to seek his fortune in America and save his family from the ravages of war. In 1913, Adolph left his wife and six small children in the Ukraine with the intention of obtaining employment in the United States and sending money back to them for them to join him a year or two.  Adolph arrived in New York on 25 April 1913. Adolph then made his way and settled in Nebraska and set himself to work on getting his family to join him.

Discover you family history through historical newspapers at Then, before Adolph could send for his wife and children, the Imperial Russian Army invaded the Ukraine on 18 August 1914.  The Army pillaged the Ukraine as it prepared to invade Austria to crush the Austrian-Hungary Army. Adolph’s greatest worries came to fruition. War came to the Ukraine, and he hadn’t been able to get his wife and children to the safety of America before the war had come. He wasn’t quick enough to earn the money necessary to send for his family.  He frantically tried to contact his wife and children but couldn’t. Finally, he received word that the Russians destroyed his farmstead in the Ukraine, and his entire family was dead.

Even after the war ended on 11 November 1918, Adolph’s reasons for living, having a reunion with his family, were gone. The 1920 Census shows Adolph as a hired hand living with the Fred Settje family in Dimick, Stanton County, Nebraska. To his credit, he hadn’t given up all hope as he identified himself as married, and not widowed, in the census.

The years passed, then in 1922, nine years after he left the Ukraine, another Ukrainian contacted him and told him that his wife was alive. His wife had lost his address during the war and finally contacted this compatriot.

Photo of starving children, Ukraine, 1922 - [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Children affected by famine in
Ukraine – 1922

In a flurry of letters, Adolph learned that his homestead in the Ukraine had, in fact, been pillaged and destroyed. He family became refugees and moved between various countries during the nine years.  One of his four sons had died of starvation. His only daughter had died of smallpox.  But, Louisa and four of his children were still alive. He quickly sent money for his two oldest boys, Rudolph and Reinhold, to come to the States. They would be able to earn more money in the United States than they would in Europe.  Bringing the rest of the family to America was paramount. On 26 September 1922, the two boys arrived in New York and made their way to Nebraska as quickly as possible.

It took nearly a year for the three to earn enough money to bring Louisa and the two younger boys, Leonard and Otto, to America. But on 4 August 1923, Louisa and family arrived in New York.  Within days they were reunited with Adolph in Nebraska.

In December 1926, Adolph and Louisa welcomed another daughter into the family. Margaret would be their last child.

The 1930 Census indicates Adolph and Louisa were renting a farm in Slough, Pierce County, Nebraska. Adolph could not speak English in 1930 but could read and speak German. Living with him were his wife, son Rudolph, and daughter, little three-year-old Margaret.

In 1935, Adolph was living in rural Pierce County, Nebraska. And by 1940, they had moved to Willow Township, Antelope County, Nebraska where Adolph, Louise, and daughter Margaret lived next door to his son Reinhold and Reinhold’s family of wife and four children. Sometime between 1930 and 1940 Adolph and Louise became U.S. citizens.

Marker – Adolph & Louise Rode
Courtesy: Find-a-Grave

Adolph died on 6 March 1954 and is buried at Zion Cemetery in Norfolk, Madison County, Nebraska. His wife Louisa died within the year on 1 February 1955 and is buried with Adolph.

Further Actions: 
• Order copies of the Alien Case Files from the National Archives.

List of Greats
1. Aldolph Rode


1920 Census; Adolph Rode; Dimick, Stanton, Nebraska; ED 204, Sheet 8B, Line 65; Family Search.

1930 Census; Adolph Rohde (Rode) – Slough, Pierce Nebraska, Sheet 4A, Line 12; Family Search.

1940 Census; Adolph Rode – Willow Twp, Antelope, Nebraska – ED 2-32, Sheet 4A, family 63; Family Search.

Find A Grave; Adolph Rode – #57149363;

The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, Nebraska); 1941-01-05 – Page 29; Nebraska and Nebraskans; Holiday Story; Neligh News – Adolph Rode; Newspapers.Com

New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957; Rudolph and Rheihold Rode – SS Caronia 1922; Ancestry.Com

U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995; 1922 City Directory, Norfolk, Nebraska – Adolph Rode – Farmer, Madison, Madison, Nebraska; Ancestry.Com

Bio: Delilah J. Hoefner Rode

Delilah J. Hoefner Rode (1911-1995)

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 

Week 2016-01

[Note: This ancestor is part of my Rode/Arvis Project and not an ancestor related to me. It has also been privitized to not include information regarding living individuals. -Don]


When Delilah Hoefner (or Hoefener) was born in 1911, in Wisner, Nebraska, her father, William, was 59 and her mother, Marie, was 43. She married Reinold Rode in 1930. She had four children by the time she was 25. She died about 1995, in Tacoma, Washington, at the age of 83, and was buried there.

Delilah Hoefner was born on 2 September 1911[i], the youngest of ten children in Wisner, Cuming county, Nebraska. Her siblings included Emil, Ella, Albert, Edmond, Hattie, Arthur, Wilburt, Martin, and Paul – seven brothers and two sisters.

The 1920s were a bad decade for Delilah. It started out with her living with her parents and three brothers in West Point, Cuming county, Nebraska[ii] which was fine. But later that year, 9 August 1920, her father William Henry Hoefener died[iii]. Her mother, Marie, followed William five years later, passing on 30 December 1925[iv]. Her brother, Albert, also died in 1926. Life improved by the end of the decade. She married Reinold Rode in 1927 at the age of 16; Reinold was 22 years old.[v]

The 1930s began with the couple living near Allen, Pierce county, Nebraska.[vi] The couple also had four children, two girls and two boys. In 1935, the couple were still living in Cuming county, Nebraska but moved to Willow, Antelope county, Nebraska before the 1940 Census in April.

The Rode’s moved to the Tacoma, Pierce county, Washington state. Reinold died in 1992. Delilah (Hoefner) Rode, died about two years later at the age of 83, at Tacoma, Pierce county, Washington state on Thursday, 12 January 1995[vii]. She is buried at Trinity Lutheran Cemetery, Tacoma, Pierce County, WA with her husband.[viii]

Anyone who has additional information, photos, or comments, please reply via the comments below.


[i] “U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014,” Delilah Rode, Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File., Number: 475-40-6730; Issue State: Minnesota; Issue Date: 195, Ancestry.Com.
[ii] “1920 Census,” West Point, Cuming, Nebraska, Roll: T625_984; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 76; Image: 1106, William Hoefner – Head, Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C., Ancestry.Com, 31 Dec 2015.
[iii] “Find A Grave” Memorial# 61604374 – William Hoefener
[iv] “Find a Grave” Memorial 61603413 – Marie C. C. “Mary” Raasch Hoefener
[v] “1930 Census,” Allen, Pierce, Nebraska, Roll: 1290; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0001; Image: 11.0; FHL microfilm: 2341025, Reinold Rode, United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C,, 1 Jan 2016.
[vi] “1930 Census,” Allen, Pierce, Nebraska, Roll: 1290; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0001; Image: 11.0; FHL microfilm: 2341025, Reinold Rode, United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C,, 1 Jan 2016.
[vii] Tacoma News Tribune / Morning News Tribune, “Tacoma Area Obituaries Database,”, 31 Dec 2015, Tacoma Public Library.
[viii] Find a Grave, “Memorial# 39026556,” Delilah Rode,, 31 Dec 2015.
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