Source Information

Ancestry.com. U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992 (Indexed in World Archives Project) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors in partnership with the following organizations:
Original data: Selected U.S. Naturalization Records. Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.

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About U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992 (Indexed in World Archives Project)

Contained in this database are indexes to naturalization records (primarily declarations and petitions) for various courts (predominantly U.S. District and Circuit courts) and years. The states whose records are currently included in the database are Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, New York, Tennessee, Washington, and Vermont. The records are either sheets containing lists of names or individual index cards. Some records summarize a large part of genealogical information and others have no introduction, but start directly with the index cards.

Records in this collection were indexed through the World Archives Project (see "Where to go from here" below for more info). Records from other states will be added to this database as they are completed in the World Archives Project and eventually, this collection of Naturalization Indexes will be the largest available online.

Information in this index:

  • Surname
  • Residence
  • Birth date
  • Age
  • Date certificate issued
  • Court issued at
  • Petition or declaration number
  • Volume and page numbers
  • Former Nationality

Because this database only contains indexes, you will need to order a copy of the original paperwork from the National Archives. The regional offices of the National Archives most often are the repository where the records are now located. In some cases the original records may be available on microfilm at the Archives in Washington, D.C. See below for addresses of where to request copies of original documents. This index will give you the information you need to obtain the copy of the original paperwork. It is always best to provide the Archives as much information as possible when requesting a record.

Introduction to Naturalization Records

The act and procedure of becoming a citizen of a country is called naturalization. In the U.S. naturalization is a judicial procedure that flows from Congressional legislation. Previous to the first naturalization act in 1790, there were no uniform standards; consequentially, before September 1906, various federal, state, county, and local courts generated a wide variety of citizenship records that are stored in sundry courts, archives, warehouses, libraries, and private collections. After 1906 the majority of naturalizations took place in federal courts.

The changes in Naturalization laws over the years are important to understand as they would have greatly impacted when your ancestor was able to become naturalized, as well as the exact process he or she had to go through to become a citizen. For example, some naturalization acts required residency in the U.S. for a certain number of years, some excluded certain ethnicities from being able to become citizens, and others granted citizenship status in exchange for military service.

The Naturalization Process

The first responsibility for an immigrant wishing to become an official U.S. citizen was to complete a Declaration of Intention. These papers are sometimes called First Papers since they are the first forms to be completed in the naturalization process. Generally they were filled out fairly soon after an immigrant's arrival in America. Due to some laws, there were times when certain groups of individuals were exempt from this step.

After the immigrant had completed these papers and met the residency requirement (usually five years), the individual was able to submit their Petition for Naturalization. Petitions are also known as Second or Final Papers because they are the second and final set of papers completed in the naturalization process. A naturalization oath or oath of allegiance was also required. A copy of this oath is often filed with the immigrant's first or second papers. After they had completed all citizenship requirements they were issued a certificate of naturalization. Many of these documents can be found in the records of the court in which they were created.

Other naturalization records include naturalization certificate stubs and certificates of arrival. Many immigrants took out their First Papers as soon as they arrived in America, in whatever county and state that may have been. Later they would file their Second Papers in the location in which they took up residence.

NARA Regional Contact Info:

Alaska:

For copies of the original file, write to:

National Archives at Seattle
6125 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, Washington 98115-7999
Phone: 206-336-5115
Email: seattle.archives@nara.gov

California

For copies of the original file, write to:

National Archives at San Francisco
1000 Commodore Drive
San Bruno, CA 94066-2350
Phone: 650-238-3501
Email: sanbruno.archives@nara.gov

National Archives at Riverside
23123 Cajalco Road
Perris, CA 92570
Phone: 951-956-2000

Superior Court of California, County of San Diego
Central Records
220 West Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619-450-7361

Los Angeles County Records Center
222 N. Hill St., Room 212
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: 213-974-5191

Connecticut:

For copies of the original file, write to:

National Archives at Boston
380 Trapelo Road
Waltham, MA 02452-6399
Phone: 781-663-0144
E-mail: waltham.archives@nara.gov

Hawaii

For copies of the original file, write to:

Hawaii State Archives
Kekauluohi Building
Iolani Palace Grounds
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Phone: 808-586-0329

Website: http://hawaii.gov/dags/archives

Illinois

For copies of the original file, write to:

National Archives at Chicago
7358 South Pulaski Road
Chicago, IL 60629-5898
Phone: 773-948-9001
Fax: 773-948-9050
Email: chicago.archives@nara.gov

Louisiana

For copies of the copies of the original files write to:

National Archives at Fort Worth
1400 John Burgess Drive
Fort Worth, Texas 76140

Phone: 817-831-5620
Fax: (817) 551-2034

Email: ftworth.archives@nara.gov

Maine:

For copies of the original file, write to:

National Archives at Boston
380 Trapelo Road
Waltham, MA 02452-6399
Phone: 781-663-0144
E-mail: waltham.archives@nara.gov

Montana

For copies of the copies of the original files write to:

National Archives at Denver
17101 Huron Street
Broomfield, Colorado 80023
Phone: 303-604-4740
E-mail: denver.archives@nara.gov

New England

For copies of the original file for naturalizations performed in New England, write to:

National Archives at Boston
380 Trapelo Road
Waltham, MA 02452-6399
Phone: 781-663-0144
E-mail: waltham.archives@nara.gov

New York

For copies of the original file for naturalizations performed in federal courts in New York, write to:

National Archives at New York City
One Bowling Green, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10004
Toll-free: 1-866-840-1752 or 212-401-1620
Fax: 212-401-1638
E-mail: newyork.archives@nara.gov

For copies of the original file for naturalizations performed in other New York City courts, write to:

New York County Clerk's Office
Division of Old Records
60 Centre Street, Room 161
New York, NY 10007
Phone: 646-386-5395

Pennsylvania

For copies of the copies of the original files write to:

National Archives at Philadelphia
14700 Townsend Road
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19154-1096
Phone: 215-305-2044
Email: philadelphia.archives@nara.gov

Tennessee

For copies of the copies of the original files write to:

National Archives at Atlanta
5780 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, GA 30260
Phone: 770-968-2100
Email: atlanta.archives@nara.gov

Washington

For copies of the copies of the original files write to:

National Archives at Seattle
6125 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, Washington 98115-7999
Phone: 206-336-5115
Email: seattle.archives@nara.gov

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