Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Young Alien in Kansas, 1918

Paul Wiechmann, 1918
In 1918, a teenager from Germany, named Paul Wiechmann, registered for a permit in Wichita, Kansas, to move freely through the area due to work. The document, which is available on the FamilySearch website, provides an interesting look at Paul's life and provides a glimpse of how aliens were scrutinized during World War I. Here's part of the document (words in bold were typed onto the application):

   "I, Paul Wiechmann, a native, citizen, denizen, or subject of a country at war with the United States, being male and fourteen years of age or over, residing at 618 Madison, Wichiata [sic], Kansas, hereby apply to the United States Marshal for the [blank] district of Kansas for a permit to pass through an area within one-half mile radius from all zones for the purpose of performing duties as messenger.
   I solemnly swear that I was born at Parum, Wittenburg, Mecklenburg, Scherin, Germany on or about the 29th day of October 1902; that I have resided 11 years in the United States from October 15, 1902 [sic], to Sept. 6, 1918, at the places and been employed since July 1, 1914, in the occupation and by the employers hereinafter stated:
   Wichita, Broom labeling, Southwest Broom Co.
   Wichita, Messenger, Western Union Tel. Co."

Paul probably didn't even remember his time in Germany because he was only 5 when his parents brought him to the U.S., but that didn't matter. He still needed to comply and complete the required paperwork. Even Wichita farmer Henry Lohkamp, who had been in the U.S. for 52 years, was required to apply for a permit, and his application and photo can also be viewed online.

This FamilySearch collection, "Records of the U.S. Attorneys and Marshals: alien application for permit, 1917-1918 (Kansas)," isn't indexed but can be browsed. Similar alien permit applications are available for Kentucky and Missouri as well.

Do you have an ancestor who was required to register as an alien or apply for a permit to move around an area of the United States?

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