Branching Out: Gateway to Naturalizations

Branching Out: Gateway to Naturalizations

St. Louis, the most common launchpad for 19th-century westward pioneers, presented the last opportunity for many immigrants to become US citizens before hitting the trail.


St. Louis, the most common launchpad for 19th-century westward pioneers, presented the last opportunity for many immigrants to become US citizens before hitting the trail. Until a few years ago, their naturalization cards were scattered among the city’s courthouses and federal offices.

The St. Louis Genealogical Society <www.stlgs.org> (StLGS) has since completed an index to the cards. By year’s end, StLGS will post this resource — named the Naturalization Project index for now — and digital images of the cards on its Web site.

The index covers 93,000-plus naturalizations made in St. Louis city courts from 1816 to 1906, when the US government took over the citizenship process.

“The index will contain the names of individuals naturalized, the date, country of origin, which court, and the court volume and page number for the official entry in the naturalization record books,” says StLGS president Barbara Savalick. Those books are on microfilm at the Missouri State Archives <www.sos.mo.gov/archives>, the St. Louis County Library <www.slcl.lib.mo.us> and the St. Louis Public Library <www.slpl.lib.mo.us>.

No need to wait for the Naturalization Project index to go online: If you think your ancestors were naturalized in St. Louis, request a $6 lookup ($5 for StLGS members) via the StLGS Web site.

From the December 2004 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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