Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Are You Smart Enough To Become An American?

As I started working on the genealogy stuff for my father's side of the family, I got to thinking about being an immigrant.

This half of my family tree is full of relatively new comers to the shores of America.  I am hard pressed to find an ancestor on this side that arrived before 1850. 
This is a very different story from my mother's side, where most all of the branches have deeper roots in America....deeper by 200+ years and such.

My paternal immigrants came over, mostly from Ireland, in the latter part of the 19th century, the earliest that I can find so far, having arrived in 1850. 
From those immigrants came my paternal families' 1st American born ancestors.  On my father's paternal side, my 2 x Great Grandmother was born in 1854, her future husband in 1861 and a Great Grandmother  on the other branch in 1885.  On my father's maternal side, my paternal grandmother was her family's first member born on American soil in 1909.  That's barely 100 years ago!

But I digress.....
I noticed while going through the census information that not all my paternal ancestors elected to become full fledged citizens.  Or rather, there is no evidence in the census rolls of them becoming naturalized.  Granted many of them were older and may have died before getting around to it.  Just staying alive and earning a living wage was a much more pressing need in those earlier times.
And my ancestors didn't have the added obstacle of learning a new language once they arrived too.
This got me thinking about what an immigrant coming to our shores 100 or 150 years ago had to do to become a citizen.  It has turned out to be very interesting reading how the laws have changed(or not changed)over time.
If you arrived before 1790(the date of the first legislation dealing with immigration), there was little required of you. 

Part of the process of becoming a naturalized citizen of the USA now, involves passing a written test about our country and government.  Anyone who's passed a high school Civics course should be able to pass this test.
It's been 35 years since I left high school so I was curious to see how difficult the test was and how much I had retained from my time in my Government course in 11th grade.

Except for misreading 1 question and getting it wrong(it is something I do know...honest!lol), I passed with flying colors.

I must say that taking this test orally before an Immigration Officer and NOT having it be multiple choices based would actually be a bit harder.

If you are brave enough, you can try the same test below.  Just imput your name and hit

 Good Luck!

Sluggy Smartypants


  1. I would fail miserably. Fred would ace it!

    1. You lazy American you....lol
      Maybe you and Fred were switched at birth?

  2. Nope! I likely could have in grade 10 but not today :).

    I am smarter than a 5th Grader... (Have the free app on my iPad.) I worry about the state of the universe in which people do not know how many sides a triangle has!!!

    Or when you mix blue and yellow you get green. Some days I'm frightened by the dumbness and have to walk away.

    1. but you're Canadian B-Kat, right? I wouldn't expect you to pass this.
      And I'm with you....I see some of what people on game shows don't know and it's frightening, the thought that they walk around unsupervised.lol

  3. dang. depending on which teacher was grading... I'd probably have failed. But then again, I didn't study for this one recently... I'm a crammer.

    1. and you can always buy the Cliff Notes too...lol

  4. I think I'll just rest on my ancestral laurels and skip this quiz based on the fact that my Native American ancestors weren't immigrants and didn't need to take no stinkin' test. :)


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