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Old Jan 18th 2016, 4:07 pm   #1
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Default British passport/citizenship and Southern Rhodesia --> moved to UK Immy

Hi there everyone, I'm new here so sorry if this isn't the place to ask about this.

I'm wondering if someone can hopefully give me some advice/an opinion on my mother's chances of qualifying for a British passport and what we would need to do so.

My mum was born in April 1947 in Southern Rhodesia. Her mother, born in 1929, was from Poland and her father remains unknown to this day. My grandmother was taken to Southern Rhodesia to the Camp Bwana Mbukwa displaced persons camp and that's where she became pregnant and gave birth to my mother. Through Ancestry.co.uk I have been able to confirm that my mother and grandmother came to England via passenger ship, arriving at Southampton on 18th October 1948.

My mum was married to a Turkish man who lived here in the UK with a British passport. She had 4 children, who all have British passports. She later married a British man, my father, and had myself and my sister, both of us also have British passports. She has lived in the UK since she arrived aged 2 and has never left, she has worked and paid tax with a national insurance number, she receives a state pension etc.

The biggest issue is that my mum has absolutely no documentation. There was a fire that meant that all records of her birth along with everything else from the displaced persons camp was destroyed. I have attached a copy of the image I've found with the incoming passenger list but that's literally all the evidence that we have. Unfortunately my grandmother's family have long been lost to us and, as far as she knew, they had all died but we've just recently found one of her brother's (my mother's uncle) living in Canada and whilst my parents don't have lots of money, we want to try and get her over to meet him before it's too late but the £1,005 fee it costs to apply for British citizenship/naturalisation or whatever it is just isn't possible for them so I'm hoping that someone might be able to give some helpful advice! If anyone knows of anyone who have been through a similar experience I'd welcome hearing about it.
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Old Jan 18th 2016, 8:09 pm   #2
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Default Re: British passport/citizenship and Southern Rhodesia

Did your mother ever hold a British passport or was registered as a British citizen? Which passport did your mother and grandmother travel on to the UK in 1948?
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Old Jan 18th 2016, 8:11 pm   #3
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Default Re: British passport/citizenship and Southern Rhodesia

No my mum has never held any passport. I don't know whether my grandmother did. She was in a displaced persons camp in S.R. and came over with a number of other people from the camp. I believe she was given the choice of the UK, Canada and another country.
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Old Jan 18th 2016, 8:49 pm   #4
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Default Re: British passport/citizenship and Southern Rhodesia

Try searching the National Archives' British citizenship records for both your mother and grandmother. Any details you don't know or aren't sure of you can leave blank. Your mother may have been registered along with her mother without her realising it.

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Old Jan 18th 2016, 9:22 pm   #5
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Default Re: British passport/citizenship and Southern Rhodesia

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Originally Posted by carolinec View Post
Hi there everyone, I'm new here so sorry if this isn't the place to ask about this.
.
There is never a wrong place on BE Caroline & I'll keep an eye in case it helps to move this to another area.

BritInParis is first rate at this type of thing so you've started out in good safe hands.

I'm into genealogy as a hobby & am subscribed to Ancestry and FindMyPast so if you want me to search anything for you simply message me.

The attachment hasn't uploaded . For that you need to click on the paperclip icon at the top of the text box.
Browse to select the image and then click upload. Wait for it to upload and then close the window
Click the paperclip icon again and select the file. It will appear in the post.
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Old Jan 18th 2016, 9:30 pm   #6
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Default Re: British passport/citizenship and Southern Rhodesia

Thank you to you both. I have completed the NA request form for both my mother and grandmother to see what they come back with. We have, rather amazingly, discovered a surviving sibling of my grandmother in Canada this week. So my mother, who until now has had no extended family of her own, has an uncle and a host of cousins/second cousins. She is talking about wanting to visit but that means getting a passport, which we have no idea how to go about at all. Why is everything so complicated?! I totally took my straight forward Britishness for granted applying for mine.
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Old Jan 19th 2016, 4:27 pm   #7
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Default Re: British passport/citizenship and Southern Rhodesia

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Originally Posted by carolinec View Post
Thank you to you both. I have completed the NA request form for both my mother and grandmother to see what they come back with. We have, rather amazingly, discovered a surviving sibling of my grandmother in Canada this week. So my mother, who until now has had no extended family of her own, has an uncle and a host of cousins/second cousins. She is talking about wanting to visit but that means getting a passport, which we have no idea how to go about at all. Why is everything so complicated?! I totally took my straight forward Britishness for granted applying for mine.
Easier when you're born in the UK See what the NA turns up. Worst case scenario we could have a go at applying for your mother's Polish passport.
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Old Jan 19th 2016, 8:09 pm   #8
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Default Re: British passport/citizenship and Southern Rhodesia

NA came back today (I'm amazed how quickly!) and said they have no records for that for my mum or grandmother unfortunately.
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Old Jan 19th 2016, 9:32 pm   #9
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Default Re: British passport/citizenship and Southern Rhodesia

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Originally Posted by carolinec View Post
NA came back today (I'm amazed how quickly!) and said they have no records for that for my mum or grandmother unfortunately.
That's a blow. I really thought that would turn up something. I'm going to have to have a think about this if there's no documentation. The lack of birth certificate is particularly troublesome. Form NS is likely to be the best option but if there's no paperwork at all even that may not be possible.

Has your mother not ever had problems proving her identity to open a bank account or similar? When was the fire? Did both these marriages take place in England or Wales? Does your mother have her marriage certificates?

Last edited by BritInParis; Jan 19th 2016 at 9:38 pm. Reason: Pondered on this further
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Old Jan 19th 2016, 9:34 pm   #10
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Default Re: British passport/citizenship and Southern Rhodesia

Huge shame.

I know what you mean about taking stuff like this for granted.

On a far lesser note , my Mum came from Republic of Ireland & married my English Dad. It wasn't until we applied for her first passport ever when she was in her mid 50's or so that we realised it wasn't that simple as she had never taken the 'oath' . A family joke from there on in was that my wonderful Mum was a British Object not Subject.

Forgive me BiP if I have that slightly wrong. It was a while ago.

Bip. How was it that these lovely tough ladies were able to go from Rhodesia to the UK without papers of some sort. Mind you my Mum came from RoI in 1952 to the UK without papers too.
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Old Jan 19th 2016, 9:43 pm   #11
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Default Re: British passport/citizenship and Southern Rhodesia

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Huge shame.

I know what you mean about taking stuff like this for granted.

On a far lesser note , my Mum came from Republic of Ireland & married my English Dad. It wasn't until we applied for her first passport ever when she was in her mid 50's or so that we realised it wasn't that simple as she had never taken the 'oath' . A family joke from there on in was that my wonderful Mum was a British Object not Subject.

Forgive me BiP if I have that slightly wrong. It was a while ago.
Much easier in those for a wife to take British citizenship after marrying her British husband in those days. If your parents were married before 1949 it would have been automatic. It would have been a simple registration process in the 1950s although presumably your mother had to take an oath in front of a solicitor from the sounds of it? Citizenship ceremonies weren't introduced until as late as 2004.

Quote:
Bip. How was it that these lovely tough ladies were able to go from Rhodesia to the UK without papers of some sort. Mind you my Mum came from RoI in 1952 to the UK without papers too.
Probably on displaced persons papers. I was assuming that Grandmother had registered/naturalised both herself and Mother without Mother's knowledge after arriving. With the National Archives search drawing a blank that doesn't seem the case. The process could have taken place in Rhodesia but nearly all of those records were not retained.

Last edited by BritInParis; Jan 19th 2016 at 9:55 pm. Reason: Clarification
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Old Jan 19th 2016, 9:47 pm   #12
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Default Re: British passport/citizenship and Southern Rhodesia

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Much easier in those for a wife to take British citizenship after marrying her British husband in those days. If your parents were married before 1949 it would have been automatic.
Noo. They were married 3 months after meeting 1953
Yes. She did have to do something like that from dim memory. It tickled my Dad no end.

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I am going to move this topic over to the Visa & Immigration section of the MovingBackToTheUK forum. It may not seem like the right place as you are all already in the UK but what it will do will be to gain you a far wider audience from our BE membership.
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Last edited by BEVS; Jan 19th 2016 at 9:54 pm.
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Old Jan 19th 2016, 10:06 pm   #13
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Default Re: British passport/citizenship and Southern Rhodesia --> moved to UK Immy

Thanks everyone. It's a confusing and difficult situation!

My mum has a bank account which I assume she opened no problem. She has worked from the age of 16 until she retired. She gets a state pension. But yet no paperwork/documentation although she does have her marriage certificates. I have absolutely no idea how idea how they got over here (other than on the ship obviously) or whether they had any documentation. I don't know when or where the fire was, it's just what she was told. I'm really clueless about how to go about this. Even if applying for citizenship was an option, which it isn't at £1500, she still has no documentation.
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Old Jan 19th 2016, 10:12 pm   #14
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Default Re: British passport/citizenship and Southern Rhodesia --> moved to UK Immy

Quote:
Originally Posted by carolinec View Post
Thanks everyone. It's a confusing and difficult situation!

My mum has a bank account which I assume she opened no problem. She has worked from the age of 16 until she retired. She gets a state pension. But yet no paperwork/documentation although she does have her marriage certificates. I have absolutely no idea how idea how they got over here (other than on the ship obviously) or whether they had any documentation. I don't know when or where the fire was, it's just what she was told. I'm really clueless about how to go about this. Even if applying for citizenship was an option, which it isn't at £1500, she still has no documentation.
Is your grandmother still alive?
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Old Jan 19th 2016, 10:13 pm   #15
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Default Re: British passport/citizenship and Southern Rhodesia --> moved to UK Immy

No unfortunately she died nearly 20 years ago. Her information was a little shaky at the best of times in terms of accuracy.
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