Our Blog

Close up of an album and ancient family photos

Applying for Dual Citizenship? You May Need to Amend Your Ancestors’ Records

Your great-grandfather immigrated from a small village in Italy to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the turn of the century. Neither he nor your great-grandmother could read or write in English. When your grandfather was born, your great-grandparents signed the birth certificate even though it was riddled with errors. When your grandfather was married his mother’s date of birth was incorrectly listed. No one bothered to correct these documents because they either didn’t know of the errors, or it didn’t seem important at the time.

Fast forward to the present day. You are planning to obtain dual citizenship and are collecting documents to submit to the Italian consulate. However, your documents do not match up, and you cannot move forward until the documents are corrected.

Amending records such as birth certificates, marriage certificates and death certificates in Pennsylvania requires filing a petition with the court, and in some jurisdictions, appearing for a hearing. The petition must provide sufficient proof that the spelling, date of birth, date of death, or whatever errors you are looking to correct, are accurate. Supporting documents can be official government records, baptism records, confirmation records, or other similar records that were kept in the regular course of business or religious practice. The petition must be served on the Pennsylvania Vital Records office, and properly docketed with the court.

Amending your ancestor’s records can be time-consuming and daunting for those unfamiliar with the Pennsylvania legal and bureaucratic system. Fortunately, the attorneys at Jerner Law Group have experience amending records for the express purpose of assisting clients who are seeking dual citizenship. We prepare the necessary court documents, appear at hearings, and contact the Pennsylvania Vital Records office to obtain certified copies of the corrected records.

To learn more about this service, please contact us.