California Naturalization and Citizenship

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Naturalization proceedings were under the jurisdiction of the district court (a state court not a federal court) from 1850 until 1880. The county court was also given this responsibility from 1862 to 1880. The county clerk was the clerk of both these courts and kept the records. An 1872 state statute required the clerk to keep two alphabetical sets of records, one for declarations and one for admission to citizenship.

In 1880 the district and county courts were discontinued and the superior court took over all their functions, including naturalization. The county clerk was also the clerk of this court.

Post-1906 Records[edit | edit source]

In 1906 the Immigration and Naturalization Service was created, forms were standardized and court records were duplicated and sent to the INS. These records can be accessed by downloading a FOIA (Freedome of Information Act) form from Post-1906 records are also available at the National Archives at San Francisco for northern and central California, and the National Archives at Riverside for southern California.

Availability[edit | edit source]

Northern US District Court Naturalization Index (1852-1989) is now online. More information at [California, Northern U.S. District Court Naturalization Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)]

Southern District Court (Central) Naturalization Index (1915-1976) is also online. More information at [California, Southern District Court (Central) Naturalization Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)]

California, San Diego Naturalization Index, 1868-1958. More info at California, San Diego Naturalization Index - FamilySearch Historical Records

The Family History Library has microfilm copies of naturalization records for many California counties. Search individual counties in the FamilySearch Catalog to determine the library holdings. Declarations of intention (1870-1931) for Alameda County, for example, are available at the Family History Library.

Naturalization records could also be filed in U.S. district courts after 1850. In counties where a federal district court sits, the federal court, not the superior court, has jurisdiction over naturalization. The Family History Library has:

Voting Records with Naturalization Information[edit | edit source]

The Family History Library also has an extensive collection of voting records that name the court where an individual applied for naturalization and the date (see "Voting Registers" section).

[edit | edit source]

Wiki articles describing these collections are found at:


California Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2003.

NOTE: All of the information from the original research outline has been imported into this Wiki site and is being updated as time permits.