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The Path to Citizenship
6/11/2014
The genealogical details produced during the naturalization process your ancestors followed can really add up.

With some exceptions, your immigrant ancestors probably followed a two-step naturalization formula: declaration of intention (first papers) + petition for naturalization (second or final papers) = citizenship. As you'll see from this synopsis, the genealogical details produced during the process can add up, especially for later arrivals.

First papers
In this document, an alien renounced his allegiance to his homeland and declared his intention to become a US citizen. The immigrant could make his declaration as soon as he stepped off the boat. Pre-1906 declarations usually contain the immigrant's name, country of birth or allegiance (for example, an Ireland-born immigrant would've renounced allegiance to the British Crown), application date, and the applicant's signature. Few of these early records give more than the country of origin or the date and port of arrival. Post-1906 declarations of intention also included the applicant's name, age, occupation, personal description, birth date and place, citizenship, current address, last foreign address, vessel and port of embarkation, US port and date of arrival, date of application and signature.

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