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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
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.
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.
Naturalization Records After 1906
1925 Naturalization Certificate with name, age, physical description, wife's name, children's names and ages, current address, country of origin (Click on 1925 Naturalization Certificate to view larger image)
After 1906 the Declaration of Intention contains preliminary information and may have incorrect dates of arrival and anglicized names. However petitions after 1906 have information that has been verified and matched to an immigration record. An immigrant who arrived after June 29, 1906, could not naturalize until the government located their immigration record (a passenger list).
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. This was done to satisfy the naturalization requirement that everyone who arrived since June 29, 1906 had to have a legal immigration record if they wanted to become a U.S. citizen.
In 1926 verification clerks began to record the verification (record check) and certification activity on each passenger list record. The annotations can be found on any passenger list, before or after 1926, but they will all relate to naturalization activity occurring in 1926 or later. So finding that ships passenger list with your ancestors name on it, may help you determine his or her exact date and place of naturalization
[For more details and help interpreting naturalization annotations see Markings on the Manifest's Occupation Column by Marian L. Smith, Historian of the BCIS]
BCIS naturalization certificate files (C-Files) include a duplicate copy of all naturalization records after September 26, 1906. C-Files include all US naturalizations from all States and Territories, and from all courts (Federal, State, and local). C-Files contain a copy of the Declaration of Intention to become a US Citizen (to 1952), Petition for Naturalization, and Certificate of Naturalization.
Declarations filed after Sept 27, 1906, were only good for 7 years. If the
immigrant did not petition within the 7 years, the declaration expired and the immigrant had to start over again from the beginning.
Most C-Files from 1906 to 1956 are on microfilm, with the remainder in paper form, and BCIS has an index to those that have been filmed. They are available with a Freedom of Information/Privacy Act request to BCIS Headquarters in Washington, D.C. For naturalization records after 1956, Freedom of Information requests must be sent to the appropriate BCIS District Office
Also see Citizenship Documents issued by BCIS since 1906
To locate post-1906 naturalization records, or any naturalization records filed with courts, start your research at the National Archives (NARA)
Are you looking for Naturalization Records before 1906?
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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