Finding US Naturalization Records

US Nationalization records can be great sources of information for someone doing genealogy. All post-1906 records should contain the town of birth for the person naturalized, and some pre-1906 records may also contain this information (although pre-1906 records are not standardized and are much less likely to have the exact town). For purely historical value, they are interesting documents and should always contain your relative’s signature on them.

However, finding US Naturalization records is complicated, and getting copies of those records can be even more complicated. There are a few ways to go about finding records, but one very good resource is the National Archives which has an online ordering system that some people don’t know about. You can order copies of US Naturalization records for $7.50 each, and receive them either scanned onto a CD, or copied onto paper. Records usually ship in less than two weeks. Records exist from as early as 1790 and as recently as 1992, although not all locations have records from all years.

One frustrating aspect of the National Archives site is that you have no way, in advance of logging into the site and beginning the order process, to know whether they have records from the place and year you are looking for, which means you might spend time going through the login and ordering processes only to find out they don’t have records from the year you need.

In an attempt to make this process a little bit easier, I’ve created a table listing all the States and Cities for which Naturalization records can be ordered from the National Archives, and have listed the ranges of years for which records are available. You can now go to the Naturalization page on this web site to see the complete table of Nationalization record holdings at the National Archives.

Note that each of the general resources I have created on this site now have their own tabs across the top of each page, one each for Forms (the B&F Forms System), Search (B&F Enhanced Genealogy Search) and now Naturalization.

In future I hope to enhance the Naturalization page with other resources specific to accessing Naturalization records. Let me know what you think.

4 thoughts on “Finding US Naturalization Records

  1. Thanx for your info re 1920 census place/date of naturalization! I can hardly wait to dig this gem out! Jim Turner 4-12-11

  2. Jim,

    While the year is listed, the place is not listed explicitly.

    However, based on the addresses you extract from each census, hopefully you can figure out where the person was living when they were naturalized. For example, if it says in the 1920 census that the person was naturalized in 1911, you should probably assume they were living in the same place as they were in the 1910 census.

    Keep in mind that people didn’t have to naturalize in the closest court to where they lived. It might have been near where they worked, etc.

    The best thing is to collect as many addresses as you can for the person in question, and also to try searching all the online indexes of Naturalization records. There are a lot more indexes online then there are actual records. Ancestry.com and Footnote.com both have extensive collections of index cards listing information on Naturalization. If you find the index card, you should be able to figure out where the naturalization took place, and in the case of NY where you are required to provide the petition number, it should be on these cards as well.

    Other good sources for searching indexes of naturalizations are German Roots (http://www.germanroots.com/naturalization.html) and Italian Genealogy (http://italiangen.org/databaselist.stm), neither of which are specific to those ethnicities in their coverage of naturalization indexes.

    Philip

  3. I have been trying to find where get copies of naturalization records. I have found individuals in the Soundex Index to Naturalization Petitions for the Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa district. I used the information found on the index card, including certificate number and date of naturalization to request copies from the NARA, but was told that there was no record found. Any suggestions?
    Thank you,
    JJD

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