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Search for your ancestors in free Naturalization Records in U.S.A. and Canada. Find Declarations of Intent, First Papers, Alien Registrations, Passport Applications, Naturalization Petitions and Citizenship Certificates. Search substitute naturalization records - ships passenger lists, census records, oaths of allegiance, voters registration lists and more!
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NATURALIZATION RECORDS IN THE USA
 

Finding an Ancestor in Naturalization Records

Find your ancestor's immigration or naturalization year. Search Passport Applications, Alien Registrations, Almshouse Records, Oaths of Allegiance, Census Records, City Directories, Land Records, Ships Passenger Lists, Newspapers or Voters Registrations
USA Naturalization Records USA Passport Applications USA Alien Registrations USA Almshouse Records USA Oaths of Allegiance  
USA Census Records USA City Directories USA Land Records USA Ships Passenger Lists USA Newspapers USA Voters Registrations

Naturalization Records are very important to your genealogy research. Naturalization is the process by which an alien becomes an American citizen. It is a voluntary act. Naturalization is not required. Of the foreign-born persons listed on the 1890 through 1930 censuses, 25 % had not become naturalized or filed their first papers.

Naturalization records can help you find the date, ship, and port of arrival, and the place of birth for your ancestor. How much information is found on them will depend on when the naturalization was done.

The naturalization process did not have to happen in one court, or in one state. Not all aliens became citizens, and not all completed the process once they started it.

Examples of American Naturalization Records

Click on thumbnail images to view full size graphic of Naturalization Records
1795 Petition for Naturalization for Patrick Ryan in Pennsylvania

1795 Petition for Naturalization for Patrick Ryan in Pennsylvania -->
1906 Petition for Naturalization for Christopher Alt in Baltimore Maryland

1906 Petition for Naturalization for Christopher Alt in Baltimore Maryland. Gives occupation, date and place of birth, date of immigration, port of departure and port of arrival, names of children plus dates and locations of births
1912 Petition for Naturalization for Jacob Imfang of Pittsburg Pennsylvania

1912 Petition for Naturalization for Jacob Imfang of Pittsburg Pennsylvania. Gives occupation, date and place of birth, date of immigration, port of departure and port of arrival, name of spouse, names of children plus dates and locations of births
1880 Naturalization includes name, age, country of origin

1880 Naturalization Certificate includes name, age, country of origin
1891 Naturalization Certificate with name, date, country of origin

1891 Naturalization Certificate with name, date, country of origin
1922 Naturalization Certificate with name, age, physical description, wife's name, children's names and ages, country of origin

1922 Naturalization Certificate with name, age, physical description, wife's name, children's names and ages, country of origin
1925 Naturalization Certificate with name, age, physical description, wife's name, children's names and ages, current address, country of origin

1925 Naturalization Certificate with name, age, physical description, wife's name, children's names and ages, current address, country of origin
1941 Naturalization Certificate with photo, name, age, physical description, marital status, country of origin, current address

1941 Naturalization Certificate with photo, name, age, physical description, marital status, country of origin, current address
1832 Declaration of Intent includes name, birthplace, age, settlement location

1832 Declaration of Intent includes name, birthplace, age, settlement location

1846 Declaration of Intent for Daniel Stinger. Provides name of ancestor, current residence, age, country of origin,

1895 Declaration of Intent for Thomas Jones. Gives name, age, occupation, place and date of birth, physical description, current residence, name of ship sailed on, date of immigration, port of departure, port of arrival, last residence, marital status,

1937 Declaration of Intent for Pinchos aka Phillip Goldstein. Includes ancestor name, residence, occupation, physical description, race, nationality, place of birth, date of birth, name of spouse, place and date of marriage, Date and place of spouse's birth, year and port of immigration of spouse, current residence of spouse, number and names of children, location and dates of birth of children, year of immigration of ancestor, name of ship sailed on, port of departure, port of arrival, previous residence, actual name at immigration, and photograph
Choose the state you wish to search for ancestor naturalization records

Naturalization Records Before 1906

Before September 27, 1906, there was no US Naturalization Service, and the BCIS has no naturalization records dated before September 1906. Before the 1906 act, declarations of intention had no expiration date.

Before 1906, the declaration of intent generally contains more genealogically useful information than the petition. Petitions before 1906 usually show only a name, former allegiance, and date of naturalization. The declaration may include the alien's exact date of immigration into the United States.

To locate pre-1906 naturalization records, or any naturalization records filed with courts, start your research at the National Archives (NARA)

Continue reading about pre 1906 Naturalization Records - where to find them, how to find them, and why you need them

Naturalization Courts

Most people went to the court closest to them, usually a county court. Most researchers will find that their ancestors became naturalized in one of the following kinds of courts: county, supreme, circuit, district, equity, chancery, probate, or common pleas court.

Naturalization Process

Naturalization was a two-step process that generally took a minimum of 5 years. These two steps did not have to take place in the same court.

In general, after living in the United States for 2 years, an alien could file a Declaration of Intent (also called First Papers) to become a citizen. After 2 additional years, the alien could Petition for Naturalization. After the petition was granted, a Certificate of Citizenship was issued to the alien. See Changes in Requirements for specific time periods from 1790 to present.

Location of Naturalization Records

  • County Court Records might be at the county court, in a county or State archives, or at a regional archives
  • County Court Records are also held at NARA
  • Federal Court Records naturalization indexes, declarations of intent, and petitions in the NARA regional facility for the State where the Federal court is located.
  • INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) now the BCIS (Bureau of Citizenship & Immigration Services) has records after 1906. BCIS - Bureau of Citizenship & Immigration Services) naturalization records duplicate those found in naturalization courts throughout the country. BCIS holds a variety of citizenship records, among them records relating to derivative citizenship, resumed or restored US citizenship, or loss of US citizenship.

Naturalization Records After 1906

After 1906 the Declaration of Intention contains preliminary information and may have incorrect dates of arrival and anglicized names. However Petitions for Naturalization after 1906 have information that has been verified and matched to an immigration record. Any immigrant arriving after June 29, 1906, could not naturalize until their immigration record (a passenger list) was found.

Since 1906, after an immigrant filed a Declaration of Intention or a Petition for Naturalization in a naturalization court, the Bureau of Naturalization was called upon to provide a certification of the immigrant's arrival record.

The certification, called a Certificate of Arrival was sent to the courthouse, and this allowed the immigrant to naturalize.

To locate post-1906 naturalization records, or any naturalization records filed with courts, start your research at the National Archives (NARA)

Continue reading about post 1906 Naturalization Records - where to find them, how to find them, and why you need them

Military Naturalizations



If you cannot find a Military ancestor's naturalization record, you may want to check Special Cases to see where those records can be found

Women and Naturalization

In general, immigrant women have always had the right to become American citizens, but a succession of laws in the nineteenth century worked to keep certain women out of the naturalization process.

You may want to check Special Cases for more information on Wives and the Naturalization Process

For more information on Women and Naturalization see Women and Naturalization ca. 1802-1940 by Marian L. Smith

Naturalization Special Cases

Wives, Minor Children, Aliens and Military applicants were all considered Special Cases. If your ancestor falls into any of these categories, or if you cannot find his or her naturalization record, you may want to check Special Cases to see where those records can be found (if there are any)


Click on the state you wish to search for naturalization records

 
Did you find your ancestor in our free Naturalization & Citizenship Records? Don't leave without searching for your family origins on Olive Tree Genealogy Free Ships' Passenger lists, family surnames, church records, military muster rolls, census records, land records and much more will help you find that elusive ancestor.

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