His young life and his parents are such a mystery to me, a very frustrating mystery. Where did you come from Ebenezer and who were your parents? It’s almost as if you didn’t exist before you immigrated to the United States.
Here is what I do know and can piece together about Ebenezer:
The first records I can locate about Ebenezer Barry anywhere are his Naturalization Records in the United States.
Ebenezer’s Naturalization file
- One of the earliest responsibilities of the court system in the United States was the conferring of citizenship. The Federal statue in 1790 and 1802 stated that non-citizens or aliens appeared before the court presenting their Declarations of Intent as well as Oaths of Allegiance, Witness Affidavits and Petitions. 1802 was the first naturalization act, however, at that time immigrants were not required to apply for citizenship.
- Naturalization to become a citizen of the United States was a two-part process. The First Papers or the Declaration of Intent to Naturalize was first. The First Papers were normally filed five years before the Final Papers due to the residency requirement of five years in order to become a citizen.
The First Papers or Declaration of Intent
In the Court of Common Please, for the City and County of New-York. I, Ebenezer Barry, do declare on oath, that it is bona fide my intention to become a Citizen of the United States, and to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign Prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignty whatever, and particularly to the King of Sweden & Norway of whom I am a subject.
Sworn this 7 day of May 1849. Ebenezer Barry.
James Conner, Clerk.
CLERK’S OFFICE, COURT OF COMMON PLEASE, FOR THE CITY AND COUNTY OF NEW-YORK}
I certify that the foregoing is a true copy of an original Declaration of Intention, remaining of record in my office.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name, and affixed the Seal of said Court, this 7 day of May 1849.
- Based on the Declaration of Intent Ebenezer was from Sweden or Norway and arrived in New York before 7 May 1849.
Superior Court of the City of New-York.
In the matter of
On his application to become a Citizen of the United States.
State of New-York, City and County of New-York}
Henry Meyers of New York 108 ½ Cherry Street, N.Y. being duly sworn, says, that he is well acquainted with the above named applicant, and that the said applicant has resided within the United States for the continued term of five years at least next preceding the present time, and within the State of New-York, one year at least immediately preceding this application; and that during that time he has behaved as a man of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order of the same.
Sworn in open Court, this 15th day of October 1851 Henry Meyers
I do solemnly
swear, that I will support the Constitution of the United States; and that I do
absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance to any foreign
Prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignty whatever; and particularly to the
of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland of whom I was before a
Sworn in open Court, this 15th day of October 1851} Ebenezer X (his mark) Barry
D.R. F. Jones Clerk.
- From this record I know that Ebenezer entered the United States in or before 1846. I know that Ebenezer was unable, at this time, to write his name. Was he able later in life to write his name? Why was the reference to Great Britain and Ireland crossed off? Was this just a standard document that was used? Why wasn’t ‘Sweden and Norway’ added?
- The largest group of Immigrants during this time period in New York City were from Ireland.
- Henry Myers who lived at 108 ½ Cherry Street (Ward 2 in 1850 Census) knew Ebenezer well enough to vouch for him for his Naturalization. According to this he knew him for five years in order to vouch for him. I wonder if they lived near each other in New York City and/or perhaps worked together?
- Cherry Street is on the lower East Side of Manhattan (near the Manhattan Bridge today). This part of a map from the Library of Congress shows Cherry Street. 108 Cherry Street is near the cross-street Catherine.
- Ebenezer has not been located yet in the 1850 US Federal census. In the NY State 1855 census Ebenezer Barry is living in Brooklyn, Ward 12 and his occupation is listed as a Lighterman (worker on a flat-bottomed boat).
- In the 1850 US Federal census there are no Henry Meyers living in Ward 2. There are about 15 Henry Meyers living in New York City. One of them listed in Ward 8 is listed as a Ship Carpenter (Ship and Boat Building and Repairing). Another in the first Ward is listed as a Sailor.
- Both men were very close in age to Ebenezer and in the same industry.
These documents were located years ago. This was the second Naturalization record on my ancestors I was able to find but it wasn’t until now that I really took the documents apart to learn everything I possibly could from them. Unfortunately, these early Naturalization records do not give the name of a town or city that my ancestor was from but they do give me several valuable pieces of information to help in piecing Ebenezer’s life together before he came to the United States and when he most likely came. Now, what else can I learn about the life of Ebenezer?
Enjoy the journey,