By Don Taylor
One of my favorite documents to find is a Naturalization Record. I was recently researching Oscar Hopfe. Oscar was born in Germany on 12 April 1896 and came to the United States, arriving on 2 November 1911. Luckily, I was able to find a Naturalization Record for him. What a wealth of information. The process for Naturalization has three major steps. First, a person declares an intent to naturalize. Later they petition for naturalization and finally become naturalized by declaring an oath of Allegiance to the United States.
In June, 1914, Oscar filed his letter of intent. He was barber, 5’8” tall, 138 pounds, and he had brown hair and brown eyes. His birthdate of 12 April 1896 was confirmed. He arrived in New York about 2 November 1911 aboard the “President Lincoln.”
Seven years, and World War I, passed before he filed his petition for Naturalization, on 3 February 1921. At that time, he was a Chauffer and was living at 79 Avenue “A.” His dates aboard the President Lincoln were confirmed. Albert Braummer (of Wantagh, L.I.) and Ernst Wolff of 3486 9 st. attested to knowing him to have lived in the United States since 1914.
Three months later, on May 10, 1921, Oscar took the oath of Allegiance.
So many questions and areas to research further. Who else was on the President Lincoln with him? What did Oscar do during the war? Did he sit it out or did he participate somehow? Who were the people who vouched for him? Were they related?
Oscar isn’t a direct-line ancestor, rather, he is the brother of a direct line ancestor. I am researching him, in particular, to see if I can find additional information about their parents, Franz and Hedwig (Hohl) Hopfe.
Hopfe Project 2019 – Brother of Ancestor #4
List of Great’s & Grands
- Grandfather: Erdman Max Hopfe
- Great-grandfather: Franz Hopfe
- Great Uncle: Oscar Hopfe
Oscar Hopfe was born in Blankenburg, Unstrut-Hainich-Kreis, Thüringen, Germany on 12 April 1896. That was same day as the German football club “Hannover 96” was founded. His parents were Franz and Hedwig (Hohl) Hopfe. He had at least two older brothers, Max and Oscar. He was living in Blankenburg when he left for the United States.
Oscar’s older brother, Herman Hopfe, emigrated to the United States in 1903. Another brother, Erdman Max Hopfe, emigrated to the United States in 1906. It appears that Herman returned to Germany and escorted Oscar to the United States in 1911 as they traveled together from Hamburg, Germany aboard the President Lincoln arriving in New York on November 2, 1911. Oscar was 16-years-old.
In June 1914, the 18-year-old Oscar decided to become a US citizen and filed a Declaration of intent. At the time he was living at 259 East 150th Street in the Bronx. He was working as a barber.
The 1915 Census finds Oscar living with his brother Max and family at 317 Central Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.
I have found no evidence that Oscar ever married.
In June 1917, when Oscar registered for the draft, he was apparently living across the street from his brother at 314 Central Avenue. He was working as an auto Mechanic at the Leo M Car Co, 70 Albany Ave., about two miles away.
I found no evidence that he served in the war (World War I).
On February 3, 1921, Oscar petitioned for naturalization. He was living at 79 Avenue “A” and he listed his occupation as a chauffeur.
On May 24, 1921, Oscar took the Oath of Allegiance and became a United States Citizen. Within a couple of weeks he applied for a passport with intent to travel to Holland, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy for business. He returned the United States aboard the SS George Washington on October 18, 1921.
I have been unsuccessful in finding Oscar in the 1930 census. He appears to have applied for a social security card in December 1936, but he doesn’t appear in the Social Security death index.
Death & Burial
I have found no record of his death.
Further Actions / Follow-up
- The passenger list for Oscar coming to America indicates the address for his father in Germany. I’d like to try to figure out what the address is, but am having a hard time interpreting the writing.
- Find a record for Oscar’s death.
- Research the life of Max & Oscar’s brother, Herman Hopfe.
- 1915 New York State Census, Ancestry.Com, Max Hope – ED 18, Brooklyn, Kings, New York.
- Bremen Passenger Lists, Internet, Oskar Hopfe from (USA) travelled 18 Oktober 1921 on the ship ‘George Washington’ from Bremen to New York. http://www.public-juling.de/passagierlisten/listen.php?ArchivIdent=AIII15-18.10.1921_N&start=391&pers=&ankunftshafen=New+York&abreisehafen=Bremen&lang=en.
- Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, Com, Oscar Hopfe. Departure 21 Oct 1911 – Hamburg. https://search.ancestry.com/collections/1068/records/2373762/.
- New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924, Family Search, Oscar Hoppe [Hopfe]. “New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JJGY-MM2 : 30 January 2018), Oscar Hoppe, 1911.
- New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1940, Com, Oscar Hopfe . The National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Petitions for Naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944; Series: M1972; Roll: 206. https://search.ancestry.com/collections/2499/records/3852025.
- Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, Ancestry.Com, Oscar Hopfe. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007.
- United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925, Family Search, Oscar Hopfe – Passport Application # 42006 – Ancestry. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1628; Volume #: Roll 1628 – Certificates: 42000-42375, 26 May 1921- 27 May 1921 – Accessed 20 May 2019.
- United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Family Search, Oscar Hopfe. “United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KXY2-GB9 : 13 March 2018), Oscer Hopfe, 1917-1918; citing New York City no 72, New York, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,754,600.
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