naturalization certificate. The Passport Bureau of the State Department recognizes this by its willingness to accept affidavits in lieu of birth certificates.
We now turn to some of the records unearthed in Greece. What is called an extract of a penal record of the plaintiff of the Office of The Ministry of Justice refers to the fact that he was born in the United States in 1899 and that his penal status is nil. There is a certificate from the Mayor of Cythion to the effect that plaintiff's name is carried in the Males Register of the Municipality as having been born in America of Greek citizen parents and as having come to Greece with his parents. There are other documents showing that he, together with other members of his family, has been carried on the Males Register of this Greek Municipality.
The evidence tends to show that citizenship in Greece is based on jus sanguinis rather than on jus soli and that, consequently, a person born abroad of Greek parents is regarded by Greece as a subject of Greece, -- this, of course, is true of many Continental countries -- and that his name is carried on what is known as the Amles Register, which is used as a basis for listing persons who are subject to military duty. There appears to be no Greek record specifically attesting to the fact that the plaintiff was born in that country.
In 1926 the plaintiff was married, and the marriage license issued by the County of Brooke in West Virginia recites that the place of the husband's birth was Wheeling, West Virginia. When he arrived at the Atlanta penitentiary as a prisoner on June 24, 1926, he was required to sign a statement containing answers to certain questions and gave West Virginia as an answer to the inquiry as to his place of nativity. He had a son born on January 2, 1936, and the father's birthplace in the son's birth certificate is recorded as Wheeling, West Virginia. A daughter was born on November 3, 1939, and her birth certificate also recites the father's birthplace as being Wheeling, West Virginia. In 1940 he obtained a number of small insurance policies on the lives of his two children, and in each application signed by him he gives Wheeling, West Virginia, as the place of his birth. On April 18, 1932, he was back in the Atlanta penitentiary and again he gave the place of his nativity as West Virginia. In addition, his application for parole, dated November 15, 1932, states that he was born and raised in Wheeling, West Virginia. In 1940 he was carried on local registration lists as an eligible voter.
The plaintiff supplemented this documentary evidence by testimony to the effect that his mother had told him that he was born in Wheeling, West Virginia. Such evidence is admissible under the exception to the hearsay rule relating to pedigree. While the Court does not attach too much weight to it, nevertheless, it is some corroboration of the documentary evidence, which to the Court appears to be much more weighty.
If this array of documentary evidence stood alone, the Court would have no question about the case whatever. However, as stated by the Court at the opening of its remarks, the case is not free from doubt, because on two important occasions it appears that the plaintiff represented himself as an alien. The first occasion is in connection with his registration for the draft in the First World War. His draft registration card contains the answer 'No' to the question whether he is a citizen of the United States. Evidence was introduced by the plaintiff challenging the genuineness of his signature to the draft registration card. The Court is not satisfied with that evidence. The Court is inclined to draw the inference that, very likely, the plaintiff was desirous of dodging the draft and used this means of avoiding liability to military service. He did not report for military service in Greece and he avoided it in this country. This Court, however, is not trying him on a charge of evading the draft during the First World War.
The other important statement is in connection with the marriage certificate on the occasion of his second marriage, which took place in 1935 in Brooklyn, New York. The affidavit attached to the license to marry purporting to be signed by the plaintiff recites that the country of his birth was Greece. The explanation adduced in his behalf is that actually the groom and his prospective bride went to the marriage license bureau in a festive mood, accompanied by a number of close relatives, and that in fact the information contained in the affidavit was given by one or two of the relatives while the plaintiff and his prospective bride stood aside and, according to the deposition of the plaintiff, somewhat under the influence of alcoholic beverages, as is not unlikely on an occasion such as that. While this explanation is not completely convincing, nevertheless, the fact remains that on every occasion in which the plaintiff was called upon to state the place of his birth, except the two just mentioned, he gave Wheeling, West Virginia, as his birthplace, and that information to that effect appears in the record of the Greek Municipality in which his family had its origin.
It must be borne in mind that citizenship of the United States is a very precious thing; that natural-born citizens very frequently have a great deal of difficulty in proving their status due to uncertainties of birth records and that this circumstance should not lead to a lack of stability of citizenship because, if it did, many a legitimate citizen of the United States would find himself deprived of it.
The Court is of the opinion that, weighing the evidence on both sides, the plaintiff has established by a fair preponderance of the evidence that he is a natural-born citizen of the United States, and the Court so finds.
A transcript of this oral opinion will constitute the findings of fact and the conclusions of law.
Counsel may submit a proposed judgment in accordance therewith.
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