Re: Affirming My Belgian Heritage

Roger Gallet


Thank you for continuing to work with me on my project!  I will try to answer your friend Yvon's questions as best I can.  His questions center around the sequence and timing of events pertaining to my grandfather's naturalization and my father's birth, his return to Belgium, and his citizenship status.  

My grandparents (Julien Gallet and Julia Lambert), both Belgian citizens by birth in Belgium, emigrated to the U.S. in 1922.  They settled in Chicago, Illinois.

My father (Arthur Gallet) was born in Chicago on January 15, 1928.  His birth in the U.S made him a U.S. citizen. 

My grandfather achieved naturalization as a U.S citizen on June 29, 1928 -- 5 months AFTER my father's birth.  My grandfather was still a Belgian citizen at the time of my father's birth, so Belgian citizenship also applied to my father; he must have carried dual citizenship.  My grandmother was never naturalized as a U.S. citizen.

My grandparents divorced, and subsequently, in December 1934 (just shy of my father's 7th birthday) my father went with my grandmother to live in Brugge, Belgium.  My father, now living in Belgium, was a U.S. citizen by birth in the U.S. and a Belgian citizen by birth to a Belgian father.  That may answer the question of why the Germans didn't deport him.  Either that or they never found out he was also American.

After my father's ordeal as a political prisoner and his liberation and release from prison, he decided to return to the U.S. to live.  He returned to Chicago, Illinois in the summer of 1946, and reunited with his father (Julien Gallet).  Without question my father's citizenship status was as a U.S. citizen when he returned to the States.  I have in my possession his actual United States passport, issued by the American Consulate General in Antwerp on May 29, 1946.  This passport had an expiration date of November 29, 1946 and was only valid for travel in "necessary countries en route to the United States from Belgium".  He traveled on a Swedish American Line ship (I don't know the name of the ship) from Gothenburg, arriving in New York on July 1, 1946.

As far as the link you provided to the V.O.PG.V website, I was already familiar with that, as it was also given to me by the daughter of one of my father's fellow political prisoners.  As for the other links, they unfortunately did not work out too well for me.

Finally, I still look forward to becoming an official member of The Belgian Researchers as soon as you receive my elusive check in the mail.

Roger Gallet             

From: <> on behalf of Regine Brindle via <babette602001@...>
Sent: Wednesday, February 3, 2021 6:57 AM
To: <>
Subject: Re: [thebelgianresearchers] Affirming My Belgian Heritage
Hello Roger,

I heard back from my friend Yvon.  He has a lot of questions and explains why the embassy would not be much help.

He sent me a link to this page.
WOW, what a terrific story!

He feels your answer should be found in his POW file.
Do you have this?

My grandfather was a Belgian POW during WWII and i was able to get a copy of this file without any trouble.

I also noticed that there was a reference on your father's obit site that his parents divorced.

The questions Yvon raises have to do with timing and the way things done back then.

As I am studying the Women's Suffrage question right now, I learned that US born women who married unnaturalized aliens lost their US citizenship.
The first thing the League of women Voters went to work on after the 19th Amendment was ratified (1920), was to ensure this would no longer be the case.
I am not sure exactly when this took place but before 1928.
So his question was whether or not your grandfather's naturalization occurred before the return to Belgium.
Were they considered Belgians or US citizens?
The Germans automatically deported the Americans, he says.
Since Arthur went to school in Bruges, it would seem they were not deported.

How did he return to the US? As an American citizen?

Yvon says the embassies can not do this search for people.

So...  I would check with Bruges to see if there was a record of a passport application there.
I believe the link Mieke shared last week would be a good place to start.

There is a list online but I could not find Arthur Galler.

Looking forward to hearing the story from you and yes we would love to place a summary of this account in our newsletter if you are so inclined to share.


On Monday, February 1, 2021, 2:55:34 PM EST, Roger Gallet <r_gallet@...> wrote:

Regine and Mieke,

Thank you both very much for all the information you provided; it was much more than I expected!  Thanks especially for my grandparents birth and marriage records.  They are among those requested by the Belgian Consulate, so that my Belgian citizenship can be officially registered.

One more document that I need is any Belgian document, such as a passport or other type of identification document, for my grandfather.  Any ideas on how to obtain something like that?

Best Regards,
Roger Gallet 

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