Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Grandpa Debs Webster's Petition for Naturalization

Debs Warren Webster

The other day I noticed a shaky leaf hint on Ancestry.com for my maternal grandfather, Debs Warren Webster. I clicked on the leaf and found a new-to-me record. Before I tell you about this record, here's a little background first for my new readers. My Grandpa Debs was born in Brazil. He was the son of an American father, Watson (Frederick) Emory Webster, and a Mexican mother, Esther Matus Villatoro.

Frederick and Esther immigrated to Brazil and that's where Debs and his younger siblings were born. Debs' daughter (my mom) was also born in Brazil. In the summer of 1952,  Debs and his family (including my mom) immigrated to the United States by way of the ocean liner SS Brazil.

Sometime after they arrived in New York, they bought a car and some camping equipment and traveled across the United States toward their final destination in Southern California. Along the way they bought postcards and took pictures. I've shared many blog posts about their immigration trip. There's a tab at the top of my blog titled The Debs Webster Family Immigration Story that is dedicated to their trip.

Okay. Back to the document that Ancestry.com found for me. Here it is. It's Debs' Petition for Naturalization.1 I've blurred the witnesses' names for privacy reasons.

Petitions for Naturalization are also referred to as Second or Final Papers.

Here's the back of Debs' Petition for Naturalization.

Information gleaned from this document:
  1. Full name: Debs Warren Webster
  2. Present place of residence: 16066 La Monde St., Hacienda Heights, LA, Calif. 91745 [I remember their home at this address from the many times we visited my grandparents.]
  3. Birth date: April 27, 1914
  4. Birth place: Santos, State of Sao Paulo, Brazil
  5. Married: Yes [I know he was married. I'm assuming that "not" would be placed before the word married for petitioners who were not married]
  6. Number of children: 3
  7. Lawfully admitted to the United States on July 21, 1952
  8. Present nationality: Brazil
  9. Alien registration number: A8 347 028 ca
  10. He changed is name to: Warren Debs Webster
  11. Witnesses personally knew Debs since at least: March 1, 1968
  12. Petition was filed at: U.S. District Court at in Los Angeles, Calif.
  13. Petition filed on: March 16, 1973
  14. Petition granted and Certificate Number: 9562177
Besides all of this wonderful information, my grandfather's signatures are also on this document. I think it's very interesting that my grandfather signed his name as "Debs Warren Webster" first. And when he signed the Oath of Allegiance he signed his name as "Warren Debs Webster." I'm assuming this is because he had requested his name be changed on the petition. And once that was granted, he signed his Oath with his newly changed name. 

This document was found in the California, Naturalization Records, 1887-1991 record set on Ancestry.com. If you'd like to search for your ancestors in this record set, click HERE.

Thanks for reading!

© 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

1 “California, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1843-1999,” database with images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 June 2015), Debs Warren Webster, Petition for Naturalization, No. 341534; citing National Archives at Riverside; Riverside, California; NAI Number: 594890; Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21; Petitions, 1873 (Box 0696).


  1. Jana, it's interesting to see a ZIP code in the address in 1952 when ZIP codes weren't initiated until 1962 or '63. It's a wonderful find!

    1. I was wondering if the ZIP code would be for the address at the time of the document (1973), rather than when Debs was admitted into the US (1952)?

    2. I'll bet that is the case Tim. Thanks for adding your idea here!

    3. Thank you Nancy! It truly is a fun find. I also found the Petition for Naturalization for Debs' wife Willis as well.

  2. It is interesting to me that he switched the order of his names yet continued to go by "Debs" which now became his middle name. Going by a middle name seems to create confusion down the line. I wonder if the switch had anything to do with naming patterns in Brazil.

    1. My understand is that my grandfather didn't really like his first name. It is interesting that he kept it at all.

  3. Love it when a shaky leaf leads to a great document like this!

  4. What a great find and I do like those shaky leaves. I'm just curious enough to really really want to know the name that was blurred out, but understand the privacy thing.

    1. Haha! Ya. I didn't get permission to leave those names un-blurred, so decided to blur them out. I'm not sure it would have made much difference since the document is on Ancestry though. Oh well.




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