Family History Research

Naturalization Records

on February 28, 2011

Saturday I attended the DuPage County Genealogical Society Conference in St. Charles, IL. I heard John Philip Colletta talk about Naturalization Records and Advanced Problem Solving. It was fantastic.

One thing he mentioned was that those declaring their intentions to become citizens were not given a copy of their declaration. It was only in some cases where a person was maybe moving to a new area before final naturalization or wanted the record for a reason that a certified copy was provided.

After Colletta said this, I thought wow, really? This was strange because I have an original certified copy of my husband’s great grandfather’s Declaration of Intention. So now I’m making notes in my conference syllabus to investigate this. The great grandfather died before he was naturalized. Why he would want a copy of his Declaration? Was he planning on leaving Chicago? Did he need it for a specific reason?

Then I did a little research on the topic. I wonder if I mis-heard Colletta when he stated the people did not receive a copy. Maybe he meant before 1906? After 1906, those declaring were given a copy as the paperwork changed. It also raises the question, if the courts were not giving out copies of the Declaration, how could you just walk into another court and apply for final papers? Colletta made it clear several times you could declare and apply for final papers in any court and it did not have to be the same court. What was the process by which they verified you declared your intention?

I will have to look more into that. I did not find that answer in my brief research yesterday. If you have experience with this, please comment.

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2 responses to “Naturalization Records

  1. Interesting question. I am curious to see any comments and what your further investigations bring out. I have an ancestor who was naturalized in Aurora, Illinois but I believe he may have made his declaration elsewhere, possibly St. Louis. I’ve always been curious and finding out would help me at least to fill in his timeline.

  2. Hi Michelle,
    You have probably seen this, but if not, specifically for St. Louis: http://www.slcl.org/branches/hq/sc/nat/nat-project.htm
    I’m not sure what date – pre-1906 or post you are looking at or if these databases have just Declarations. As far as I have been able to tell from my ancestors – they all came to Chicago, declared (or not) and were naturalized (or not). Nothing exciting as delcaring elsewhere that I have discovered yet.

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