Naturalization Language "next preceding"
Can anyone tell me whatthe phrase "next preceding" means in respect to a US naturalization? I'm trying to lock down a timeline yet the language is almost foreign to this native English speaker... "Naturalized April 9, 1879: ...having then declared his intention to become a citizen of the US and proved his residence within thw US for the 3 years next-preceding his arrival at.the age of 21 years." Does anyone have a lick of an idea what that means? Very lost.... Maybe I should have read more Jane Austen...... Amy