Some things catch your attention and are just such good examples they can’t be passed by. I found this gentleman named Hindu Sam classified as an Indian living in Manhattan, NYC, NY in the World War I draft registrations. There were two red flags right away, one being his name and the other being where he lived.
New York was a destination locations for people from all over the world, so I always look at the actual registration card for anyone registered there.
Hindu Sam was not literate and could not read or write. We know this because he signed his name with a X and a witness.
Hindu Sam probably wasn’t his name. This man was born in Bombay, Hindustan, India. He very probably did not speak English, or if he did, not well. When asked what country he had allegiance to, Great Britain was entered. This always throws people, and the answer is the same in 1917 as it was in the 1600s. India was a British Colony. In 1917 it’s only interesting in that it helps us eliminate people who are classified as Indian that are not Native American. In the 1600s it was of more importance, because some people from the “East Indies” were imported as servants with English families and subsequently had families here.
What could be confusing in 1917, if one didn’t look closely, is that Hindu Sam worked in Onondaga Co., NY, the county in which the Onondaga Indian reservation is located.
I wonder whatever happened to Hindu Sam. Looking at the records on Ancestry.com, we find Hindu Sam in 1914 living in the poorhouse, working as a cook, on Staten Island. He has been in the US for one year, was not feeble minded and could do labor. His wife and parents were in India. I didn’t find Hindu Sam by that or a similar name in the 1920 or 1930 census. Maybe Hindu Sam went back to India, used a different name, or died.