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Pennsylvania NATURALIZATION RECORDS
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
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Naturalization Before 1906
Oaths of Allegiance: The Pennsylvania State Archives maintains naturalization lists of the Supreme Court and Courts of Nisi Prius (Record Group-21) for the years 1740-1773. These lists consist of names of those people who swore an oath of allegiance to the British Sovereign.
All naturalizations filed in Pennsylvania prior to 1790 occurred in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and are located in the Pennsylvania State Archives
The Philadelphia City Archives has declarations of intention and petitions for naturalization which were filed in the city and county courts only between 1790 and 1930.
The Division of Archives and Manuscripts of The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, located in the William Penn Memorial Museum and Archives Building in Harrisburg, has the official lists fo aliens naturalized by Pennsylvania Courts, 1740-1773.
Records pertaining to names of those naturalized in Pennsylvania by special and private acts are found in COLONIAL RECORDS (vol. 1, 2, 3, 9, and 10), THE STATUTES AT LARGE OF PENNSYLVANIA (vol. 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8), and PENNSYLVANIA ARCHIVES (Series 1, Vol. 1, 3, and 4). These volumes are readily available in historical and genealogical collections in libraries throughout Pennsylvania. Outside of Pennsylvania the volumes are generally found only in the larger public and state libraries.
Early provincial and state records can be found in the published "Pennsylvania Archives" series. Naturalizations through the county court are held in the courthouse records and many are being published. Federal court naturalizations and their indexes are available on microfilm. Early "oaths of allegiance" required of many "foreign" immigrants are in published form. Since Philadelphia was a center for immigration, numerous oaths and naturalizations of persons who later moved westward may be found there.
County naturalizations are often held in the office of the "prothonotary" who is simply a county official who functions as a clerk of courts.
Naturalization records of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 1794-1868 (Record Group-33) are available for the Eastern District (Philadelphia), Southern District (Chambersburg), and Western District (Pittsburgh). An index of the records of the Eastern District in Philadelphia covering the years 1794-1868 has been published in Philadelphia Naturalization Records: An Index to Records of Alliens' Declarations of Intention and/or Oaths of Allegiance, 1789-1880, in the United States Circuit Court, United States District Court, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Quarter Sessions Court, Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia (Detroit, MI: Gale Research Company, 1982)
Naturalization After 1906
For records after 1906, see NARA - Philadelphia Branch or the local office of Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS). The LDS FHL has some microfilmed records of naturalization for some Pennsylvania Counties. If you don't know where your ancestor was naturalized, ask INS to check their Index to Naturalizations 1906-1956.
NARA Mid-Atlantic Region
Center City, Philadephia
900 Market Street
Philadelphia PA 19107-3000
Databases & Records
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Guide to Naturalization Records of the United States & They Became Americans: Finding Naturalization Records and Ethnic Origins
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