Naturalization Papers are available on microfilm at the library.
The naturalization process was completed in a court of law. The process usually required several steps to complete and various documents related to naturalization may be found in the court records described below:
Declaration of Intention. The immigrant filed a declaration of intention to renounce allegiance to foreign governments and to later prove he or she had resided in the country long enough to apply for citizenship. Residency laws changed, but generally speaking, an immigrant filed a declaration of intention up to two years after he immigrated to the United States. The immigrant could declare any time after he arrived after fulfilling the residency requirement. Some immigrants waited as late as 20 years after coming to the United States to begin the process to become a citizen.
Petition. The immigrant had to wait anywhere between one to three years after he filed his declaration to file his petition for citizenship. Most often the petition was filed in a court nearest to the town where the immigrant settled. An Oath of Allegiance was also signed.
Certificate. After all requirements were completed, the immigrant was sworn in as a citizen and issued his or her certificate. The certificate was given from the same court the petition is filed in. It is called the Certificate of Citizenship or Certificate of Naturalization.
In 1906, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization was created, later becoming the Immigration and Naturalization Services or INS. The result was standardized forms throughout the country.
After 1906, naturalization records may contain:
- Birth date & place of immigrant
- Spouse & children
- Birth dates and places for spouse & children
- Port of arrival
- Date of arrival
- Vessel of arrival
- Physical Description
- Marriage date
- Last Foreign Address
- Marital status