The naturalization process
Types of naturalization records
Clues to naturalization
Finding naturalization records
Ancestry.com’s research wiki, offers summaries of court records available each state.
Before you visit a courthouse, check the website or call ahead to ask about locations of historical records and research rules. Otherwise, look for microfilmed court records in the FamilySearch online catalog. Run a Places search for the county and look under Court Records or Naturalization and Citizenship. You can rent microfilm for viewing at a FamilySearch Center near you.
Clues in naturalization records
If you’re looking for an immigrant’s name at birth, place of birth or arrival date, you might find what you need in his naturalization records. Although earlier records might provide only the country of birth, post-1906 records usually provide enough detail to help you find passenger records and launch your research in your ancestral homeland.
Even early records name witnesses who swore to your ancestor’s good character and legal arrival on US shores. In later records, witnesses are named on the immigrant’s oath of allegiance. Always note the names of these witnesses, because they may be family members or at least give you a picture of your ancestor’s social circle. Your ancestors also may show up as witnesses on naturalization applications of their relatives, friends, neighbors or co-workers.
- 1927, immigrants across the United States used this standard form to declare their intention to become citizens.
- Details in post-1906 declarations usually include a specific place of birth and a physical description. The description of Frederick’s injury may help identify him in other records.
- A married applicant provided the spouse’s name and birthplace.
- In 1927, immigrants intending to naturalize had to wait at least two years after filing a declaration of intention to file a petition for naturalization.
Petition for Naturalization:
- The top section of this 1901 document records the name of the applicant, Patrick Duffy, his military service and the filing date. Beginning in 1862 for the Army and 1894 for the Navy and Marines, those honorably discharged from military service could skip the declaration of intention and fulfill a residency requirement of just one year.
- In this section, the commissioner testifies that he has examined the applicant and witness, and found the applicant has satisfied the requirements of citizenship.
- A witness’ address, signature and testimony on his familiarity with the applicant’s moral character and fulfillment of the residency requirement are included.
- Personal information is limited in petitions filed before Sept. 27, 1906, but this one provides the name and address of the applicant, date and country of his birth, date and port of arrival, and US military enlistment and discharge dates are listed. This can help you find the right Patrick Duffy in passenger lists.