Naturalization records can help your family tree research. Naturalization is the process of assuming or being granted citizenship of a country, usually a country other than that of the person’s origin.
In the United States, you may find clues to ancestral origins in naturalization records created after 1906 when the forms were standardized, as these forms contained more personal information.
Prior to 1906 you may find the occasional record with a detailed place of origin, but often only the country is listed.
There are four main documents associated with naturalization records in the United States:
- Declaration of Intention
- Petition for Naturalization
- Oath of Allegiance
- Certificate of Naturalization
The Declaration of Intention (or “first papers”) is signed by the immigrant expresses the person’s intent to become a citizen of the United States after all the requirements are meant. It also renounces citizenship in the person’s previous country and any allegiance to the country or ruler.
The Petition for Naturalization (or “final papers”) is the application the person submits to request the granting of citizenship after all residency requirements have been met and first papers filed.
The petitioner signs an Oath of Allegiance upon being granted citizenship, swearing his or her support and allegiance to the United States. This document may or may not be included in the naturalization records for your ancestor.
The Certificate of Naturalization is the formal document issued to the person to certify that they have been naturalized as a citizen of the United States.
Between 1906 and July 1, 1924 a Certificate of Arrival document was often completed. This document contained the place from which the immigrant immigrated, the arrival point in the United States, the date of arrival and the vessel on which the immigrant arrived.
Alien Registration forms were used in 1940 to 1944 to register every alien as they applied for admission to the country, regardless of their origin.
Passport applications can be another useful source to research your family tree. If an ancestor traveled back home to visit relatives, he may have requested a passport which could also bear the name of his hometown.
Ancestry.com has collections of the naturalization records available through their immigration collection.
Your local library or genealogical society may have access or sign up for the free trial to determine if information about your ancestors is available.
>>> Search Naturalization Records in the Immigration Collection