Part 10.5 The Passport Application
February 6, 1923 - Where the mystery starts
My investigation into Leonid's life could make a good detective novel – if only I had kept a log of all the twists and turns and dead ends. Unfortunately I did not, but I decided to slip in this web page to give you some sense of my journey.
Before I had made the effort to go to the library and use digital resources there and before I started doing web searches in Cyrillic script I found information in FamilySearch.org, a free genealogical resource supported by the Mormon Church.
To the right is a passport application from 1923 for Marcus Terbey, Leonid's name in the US. Over the months I did my research I discovered more and more information in the document. I have had the same experience with other documents – the more I understand and know what to look for, the more I see.
Click on images to enlarge.
The 1923 passport applications are bound in a book. There are three pages for Marcus.
According to this document Marcus emigrated to the United States, sailing from Liverpool England in 1905. How could Leonid have arrived in the US by 1905 if he was arrested in the 1905 revolution, tried and convicted, sent to Siberia and then escaped through China? And how did he manage to do it by traveling through Liverpool?
Marcus claims he was born in Liege, Belgium, that he doesn't know where his father was born, and that his father is dead. Why did he claim Liege, Belgium as his birthplace and hide his father's birthplace?
Marcus has a Manhattan address and is a salesman. Was he really a salesman? If so, what did he sell?
Marcus plans to depart on the Olympic to go to England, France and Germany for the purpose of commercial business for the American Mill Owners Corp. Is that just a front for illicit business dealings?
Since his naturalization, Marcus traveled to Japan, Siberia, and Russia from 1918 till 1922 – the years of the Russian Civil War !!! (The link is for a Wikipedia article.)
Here is a physical description. An eye injury, visible in the photo to the right, is not noted. It is noted in his 1925 passport application
This portrait is from the 1923 passport application.
The booklet layout for passports we use today was not introduced until 1926. Leonid's passport would have been a folded piece of paper.
Here is some information from FamilySearch.org on United States Passports :
Before 1952, passports were optional for U.S. citizens to travel abroad and to return to the United States. ...
Not every citizen who traveled abroad obtained a passport. However, passports were often obtained by U.S. citizens, whether newly naturalized or not, to protect themselves from being detained in other countries or (if naturalized) from their own mother countries. Some European countries were known to draft immigrants visiting their homeland into the military. A passport was used to prove citizenship and protect the traveler.
As a naturalized citizen, Leonid had travel restrictions or his citizenship would be revoked. More about this later.
And from a biography of Armand Hammer by Edward Jay Epstein:
Passports were then given at the discretion of the State Department, which required that an applicant divulge his full itinerary and purpose in traveling abroad.
There is also a passport application from 1925 which I will present further along