A Naturalization Record for Greenwood Hartley

While I was reviewing my Ancestry hints for my second great-grandfather Greenwood Hartley, I ran across this record:

This is a document signed by Greenwood Hartley on November 30, 1874. This Greenwood was said to be born very close to my Greenwood ancestor:

I have that my Greenwood was born 25 May 1831. This Greenwood was a year younger. He also came to Boston a lot sooner than my Greenwood – in 1849. I have that my Greenwood came into Boston 24 October 1869. This is starting to look suspicious. I think that this is the actual Naturalization Record for my 2nd great-grandfather Greenwood, but that some of the information got entered incorrectly.

A Rare Signature

The 1870 Census states that Greenwood and his wife could not write. However, the box is not checked that they could not read. Hear is Greenwood’s signature – apparently signed with difficulty:

This would appear to be a rare signature for Greenwood. i assume that it is authentic due to the difference in writing elsewhere on the Naturalization document.

Other Implications?

The approximate age at the time of this document would be correct. It states that Greenwood was 42 in 1874, when he was actually 43. The above document appears to be the actual naturalization based on this index card:

Interestingly, two weeks after Greenwood’s Naturalization, he buys a house in Rochester Massachusetts on what is now Snipatuit Road.


Here is the only photo I have of Greenwood:

Greenwood’s Two Naturalization Witnesses

Greenwood needed two people to vouch for him:

These two are Greenwood’s half brothers. I wonder if they all had to take a train up to Boston for this? I also wonder if the Judge knew that these two were Greenwood’s half brothers. Here we also have John Pilling and William Wilkinson’s signatures. They look at litte more refined than Greenwood’s signature. Technically, Greenwood had been in the US for 5 years as he arrived in Boston in October 1869. It is interesting that the place that he resided for that amount of time is left blank. The family lived in Fall River for a short while before moving to New Bedford.

John Pilling attested to Greenwood’s good character. However a few years later, in August 1877, John took off with Co-op money, and left his famiy for England. William Wilkinson travelled to Boston with Mary Pilling, Greenwood, and Mary’s grandchildren.

Here is William Wilkinson:

I believe that this is John Pilling:

I also recall seeing a record in the Massachusetts Archives saying that Greenwood was born in Trawden. I believe that that was his Petition for Naturalization. Hopefully I have a hard copy of that somewhere.

William Wilkinson

William was born in 1840, so he was about 9 years younger than Greenwood. Here is his Naturalization:

As far as I know, his arrival in New York in 1858 is not correct. In fact, I have this as his marriage in Bacup, England in 1859:

This is interesting as I had that William married Tamar Dawson. This seems to say that she was Tamar Burus, daughter of William Burus [Burrows?]. A Mary Dawson is a witness. I see that my Ancestry tree has her father as William Barnes. I have that William arrived in Boston in 1869:

Witnesses for William’s Naturalization

First, I should point out that Wiliam and Greenwood’s Naturalizations were both on the same day. That leads to the idea that they all went up to Boston together.

Here, Greenwood’s name was in and signed and then crossed out. John Pilling was one witness. My guess is that William got his naturalization first and was able to be a witness for Greenwood. However, because of this Greenwood could not be a witness for William. The typed part says “both citizens of said United States”. If Greenwood’s Naturalzation was after William’s he wouldn’t have been a citizen yet. I don’t know who John Armstrong was.

John Pilling’s Witnesses

To complete the circle, here were John’s witnesses to his 1867 Naturalization:

This is likely John Dickey in New Bedford in 1870:

He was likely known through work or possibly through John’s Scottish wife.

This is likely Thomas Watson in New Bedford in 1870:

In 1884, Thomas apparently remarried for a third time:

This Thomas lists his birth Town as Brindle, Lancashire. This appears to be Thomas’ marriage to Elizabeth in Boston in 1852:

Summary and Conclusions

  • A discovery of a Naturalization record for Greenwood adds some detail to his life for the year 1874
  • I followed a bit in the lives of two of Greenwood’s half brothers who vouched for his trustworthiness on his Naturalization.
  • Another bonus was in seeing Greenwood’s tenuous signature which is a connection between him and us in the present time.
  • My assumption is that Greenwood and his younger half brother William dependended on their older half brother John Pilling to show them the ropes in the New World




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