If your immigrant ancestors settled in St. Louis — or took advantage of the opportunity to become US citizens there before hitting the trail west — you may find their naturalization records with a new, easy-to-use source. The St. Louis Genealogical Society has posted a database <stlgs.org/natsearch.aspx> of 93,000 index cards to city court naturalizations filed between 1816 and 1906, when the federal government took over the citizenship process.
Before the society completed an index to the cards last year, the records were scattered among various courts and offices. (Read our report in the June 24, 2004, Family Tree Magazine E-mail Update newsletter at <www.familytreemagazine.com/newsletter/archive.html>.) The Works Progress Administration created the index cards from naturalization records in the 1930s.
Search the collection by your ancestor’s name, address, country or year of naturalization, or by the witness’ last name. You also can enter a Soundex code to catch spelling variations. (Visit <www.familytreemagazine.com/soundex.html> to calculate Soundex codes for your family’s surnames.)
Select a first name in the results list to see a transcription of the person’s index card, which gives the country of origin, the date and court of naturalization (click on Court for a key to court-name abbreviations), and witnesses’ names. The listing also has a handy What Do I Do Next? button, which leads to instructions on finding microfilm of the original records.