California, San Diego Naturalization Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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California, San Diego Naturalization Index, 1868-1958
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
San Diego, San Diego County, California, United States
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US Flag 1867-1877 (37 stars)
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Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Type Naturalization Index
Collection years 1868-1958
Microfilm Publication M1526. Index to Naturalized Citizens from the Supreme Court of San Diego, California, 1868-1958. 5 rolls.
Arrangement Alphabetical by petitioner's name
National Archives Identifier NAID 7551473
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in This Collection?

The California, San Diego Naturalization Index collection is a card index to naturalization petitions for the San Diego Superior Court. The naturalization petitions between 20 April 1904 to 19 June 1956 are included in this index. The records in this collection are California State records that have been archived with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and have been assigned the NAID number NAID 7551473.The cards are arranged alphabetically by surname and cover petitions numbered 2788 to 19883. For the petitions covered in this index see National Archives NAID 7560827.


General Information About Naturalization Records “’Naturalization’” is a voluntary process through which immigrants can become American citizens. By becoming naturalized citizens, immigrants are granted the same rights, privileges and protections as natural born citizens. Individual States handled naturalizations until 1906 when the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization standardized immigration laws and procedures. Naturalization to become a U.S. citizen is a two-part process: The Declaration of Intent to Naturalize, or First Papers, and the Naturalization Record (including the Naturalization Petition), or Final Papers. The general requirements for citizenship include residency in one U.S. state for one year and in the United States for five years The First Papers were normally filed five years before the Final Papers because of the five-year residency requirement to become a citizen. Naturalization papers are an important source of information about an immigrant's nation of origin, his foreign and “Americanized” names, residence, and date of arrival. Naturalization records were created to process naturalizations and keep track of immigrants in the United States. Naturalization records are generally reliable, but may occasionally be subject to error or falsification. Be sure to search all possible spellings for the surname of the person for whom you are looking. Think about how the surname was pronounced, and how it sounded in the immigrant’s probable accent. Immigrants or their families often changed or “Americanized” the spelling and pronunciation of their names especially their surname, thus the surname may be spelled differently in records that were closer to your ancestor's immigration date. Also, because immigrants were allowed to naturalize in any court, they often selected the most convenient court. For example, if an immigrant lived in Maine, but worked in Vermont or New Hampshire, they may have gone to a court closer to work.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The index cards include the following:

  • Petition number
  • Date of petition
  • Name of person naturalized
  • Date and place of naturalization
  • Volume and page number of the petition
  • Declaration number
  • Date of declaration
  • Volume and page number of the declaration
  • Certification number
  • Date of issuance

Declaration of Intent and Naturalization Petitions usually include:

  • Name of the immigrant
  • Country of birth
  • Arrival date
  • Date of Declaration of Intent or Naturalization
  • Names of witnesses
  • Signature of judge or court official

In post-1906 records, you may also find:

  • Birth date
  • Birthplace
  • Age
  • Race
  • Last foreign residence
  • Current residence
  • Arrival place
  • Marital status
  • Name of spouse
  • Maiden name of wife
  • Birth date of spouse
  • Residence of spouse

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The full name of your ancestor
  • The approximate immigration and naturalization dates
  • The ancestor’s residence

If you do not know this information, check the 1900 census and then calculate the possible year of naturalization based on the date of immigration. The 1920 census may tell you the exact year of immigration or naturalization.

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches


How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

If these are indexes, the original records may contain additional information than was not indexed, or the information might have been indexed incorrectly. You may want to search for the original record.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use the information found in the record to find port records, and ship’s manifests
  • Use the record to learn the place of origin then search there for vital records such as birth, baptism, marriage, and death
  • Use the information found in the record to find additional family members in census records
  • Use the information found in the record to find probate records
  • Use the information found in the record to find land and property records
  • If applicable, search for military records as well

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?

  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you find possible relatives
  • Try different spellings of your ancestor’s name
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names.

Research Helps

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of California.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
"California, San Diego Naturalization Index, 1868-1958." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. From "Naturalization Index Cards from the Superior Court of San Diego, CA, 1868-1958." Database. Fold3.com. http://www.fold3.com : n.d. Citing NARA microfilm publication M1526. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.

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