Best Source for Naturalization Records?

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Jim2814
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Best Source for Naturalization Records?

Postby Jim2814 » 30 Apr 2010, 15:27

What is the best source for searcing for and obtaining Naturalization records? My GGF and GGM were both natualized in 1898, and I would like to know what details are on their records. Would Ancestry be the best place?

Thanks to All!

Jim

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johnnyonthespot
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Re: Best Source for Naturalization Records?

Postby johnnyonthespot » 30 Apr 2010, 15:42

1898 is really difficult.

USCIS does not have any records pre-dating 1906 and I believe the same applies to the National Archives.

Do you know where the naturalization took place? Your only option will likely be the local courts and/or city/state archives. Ancestry has some of these records, but only for a few select cities.
Carmine

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Re: Best Source for Naturalization Records?

Postby wldspirit » 30 Apr 2010, 16:06

More information on the naturalization process, where these records can be located, prior to 1906 and after, and the information which can be obtained:

Archives

Note that many records prior to 1906 did not contain as much detail as after 1906.

The Records

It is impossible to provide hard-and-fast rules about the content or even the existence of naturalization records. The 1905 Report to the President of the Commission on Naturalization remarked:

The methods of making and keeping the naturalization records in both the Federal and State courts are as various as the procedure in such cases. Thus the declaration of intention in some courts consists merely of the bare statement of the intention and the name and allegiance of the alien, while in other courts it also includes a history of the alien.... In a majority of courts alien applicants are not required to make the declaration of intention required by law ... and in other courts he is. Previous to 1903 a majority of courts did not require petitions or affidavits; other courts did. Some courts keep a naturalization record separate from the other records; other courts include the naturalization record in the regular minutes of the court. Some records contain full histories of the aliens, but a majority of the records show only the name, nationality, oath of allegiance, and date of admission.

In 1903 a Justice Department investigator made even more condemnatory comments:

I find the naturalization records in many cases in a chaotic condition, many lost and destroyed, and some sold for old paper. Most the records consist of merely the name and nativity of the alien with no means of identifying aliens ofthe same name....In numerous cases I find aliens naturalized under initials instead of Christian names, surnames misspelled or changed entirely, and names of witnesses inserted in place of the alien naturalized....The examination of the records discloses the remarkable fact that never, since the first enactment of the naturalization laws, has any record been made in any court of the names of minor children who, under the operation of the statutes, were made citizens by the naturalization of their parents.
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DeFilippis78
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Re: Best Source for Naturalization Records?

Postby DeFilippis78 » 30 Apr 2010, 16:48

NARA does have prior to 1906. At least for New Yor City.I had them search for my relatives that early. They also directed me to the county clerk where they lived at the time.

Alicia

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Re: Best Source for Naturalization Records?

Postby wldspirit » 30 Apr 2010, 22:37

The link above does include an index, with the availability of dates.
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