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Shugaevsky Family

Part 16    Naturalization

The Rules

Click on images to enlarge.

Normally a declaration of intention was made at least two years prior to the appli-cation and after this period two witnesses were required to verify that the applicant lived continuously in the US for at least five years. For those who are interested, the specifics are in the box below.  


The alien must declare upon oath before a circuit or district court of the United States or a district or supreme court of the Territories, of a court of record of any of the States having common law jurisdiction and a seal and clerk, of which he is a resident, two years at least prior to his admission, that it is, bona fide, his intention to become a citizen of the United States, and to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince or State, and particularly to the one of which he may be at the time a citizen or subject.


At the time of his application for admission, which must be not less than two years nor more than seven years after such a declaration of intention, he shall make and file a petition in writing, signed by himself (and duly verified by the affidavits of two creditable witnesses who are citizens of the United States, and who shall state that they have personally known him to be a resident of the United States at least five years continuously, and of the State or district at least one year previously), in one of the courts above specified, that it is his intention to become a citizen and reside permanently in the United States, that he is not a disbeliever in organized government or a believer in polygamy, and that he absolutely and forever renounces all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign country of which he may at the time of filing his petition be a citizen or subject.


A booklet that contains the naturalization laws formulated in 1907. 

Military service made it easier and much faster to qualify for citizenship. 

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Freehold, New Jersey

1923 record-image_3QS7-99DQ-MYCP detail

"I was naturalized as a citizen of the United States before the Common Pleas Court of Monmouth County at Freehold, NJ on Jan 13, 1916 as shown by the Certificate of naturalization presented herewith: ..."

(Text from the 1923 passport application)

USA Freehold - Google Maps.jpg

Freehold, NJ is at the bottom of the map (red marker), Fort Hancock is on the spur sticking up into New York Harbor (near the top right of the map). In between is Red Bank, near where my parents lived for a few years and where the author was born. 

Image: Google Maps

For Marcus to became a US Citizen at the Monmouth County courthouse in Freehold, NJ meant that he claimed to be a New Jersey resident for the preceding year. I found the web site for the Monmouth County Courthouse and it was easy to make an online request for the naturalization application. I received it the following day. When I emailed back and let them know the images were difficult to read, they found the original, rescanned it, and I received it the day following my request! 

Details of a Fabrication /

Using the US Army to Forge His New Identity

The petition for naturalization was a treasure trove of information. Marcus enlisted in the army August 3, 1911, less than a year after he arrived in the U.S. He reenlisted August 28,1914 and was honorably discharged a year and a month later (on September 27th, 1915). 

Not all the information makes sense to me. For example, he has left the Army but still lists Fort Hancock as his address.


Since he claimed to have emigrated before 1906, he doesn't have to document his passage (I think). 

I will first transcribe some of the text from the application. Then comes the really interesting stuff, the addenda.

Some Details from Marcus Terbey's Naturalization Application

Occupation is soldier

Born October 1885 in Liege, Belgium

Emigrated from Liverpool arriving July 2, 1905

He came on the Umbria (this is the only place he names the ship)

Honorably discharged August 2, 1914

Enlisted at Fort Slocum August 3, 1911

136th Company Coastal Artillery Corps

Original enlistment was for “Mark Ferbey”

He has no children

He renounces allegiance to Albert I, King of the Belgians

(The rest is the attestation to his meeting the residency requirements.)

He presented his honorable discharge when he filed the petition on September 27, 1915

He is making the application under “section 2166 U.S.R.S”. (I haven’t found this yet. It probably has to do with his military service.)

Two fellow soldiers vouch for his identity

He was naturalized on January 13, 1916

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Page 1 (of 2) of Marcus Terbey's Naturalization application

Marcus enlisted at Fort Slocum. The following is from Wikipedia - please send them a donation – they are entirely nonprofit.

Fort Slocum, New York was a US military post which occupied Davids' Island in the western end of Long Island Sound in the city of New RochelleNew York from 1867 to 1965.

The addenda is where it gets interesting. We will see how Marcus changed his last name from Ferbey to Terbey and his birthplace from St. Petersburg, Russia to Liege, Belgium by changing it through military channels. Marcus claimed that he emigrated to St. Petersburg from Belgium when he was two months old but that this fact and the spelling of his last name was misunderstood during enlistment due to his poor English. Why the name change? I guess he really wanted “Terbey” instead of “Ferbey”. There will be more confusion between “F”s and “T”s coming up.

The first addendum (2 pages long) is Marcus’s “Addition to the Facts for petition for naturalization” which I have just summarized.

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Detail from page 1 of the addenda. Click to enlarge.

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Page 1 and 2 of the addenda

 Page 3 is Marcus’s request for a change of name, dated April 30,1915 and sent to the Adjutant General of the Army in Washington, DC. Marcus claims he emigrated to St. Petersburg when about two months old, but was actually born in Liege, Belgium.


At bottom of the request, the commanding officer at Fort Hancock adds that the “statements have been investigated and are thought to be correct.” Also, his character is “EXCELLENT.” I laughed when I read that the statements had been investigated. They just took his word for them.

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Detail from page 3 of the addenda. Click to enlarge.

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Page 3 is the army letter requesting a change in name and birthplace.

Page 4 is a copy of a letter from the Adjutant General of the Army confirming that Marcus's records have been changed: his name is listed as Marcus Terbey and his birthplace is Liege, Belgium. With the fictitious birthplace, Marcus can now travel to Russia without loosing his US citizenship.

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Detail from page 4 of the addenda. Click to enlarge.

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Page 4 is the letter from the War Department in Washington, DC confirming the change.

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