Illinois, County Naturalization Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|Access the Records|
Illinois, County Naturalization Records, 1800-1998
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Illinois, United States|
|Flag of Illinois|
|Location of Illinois|
|Record Type||Naturalization Records|
- 1 What is in This Collection?
- 2 What Can These Records Tell Me?
- 3 Collection Content
- 4 How Do I Search This Collection?
- 5 What Do I Do Next?
- 6 Citing this Collection
- 7 How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
What is in This Collection?
The collection consists of images of naturalization records from county courthouses in Illinois for the years 1800 to 1998. The content and time period varies by county. Few counties have records after 1945.
To Browse This Collection
|You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Illinois, County Naturalization Records, 1800-1998.|
What Can These Records Tell Me?
The following information may be found in these records:
- Full name of Petitioner
- Name of court
- Place of residence
- Date and place of birth
- Date of emigration, date of arrival
- Port of entry and name of ship
- Date and place of Declaration of Intent to become citizen
- Name of spouse
- Date of marriage
- Number of children, name and residence of each child
- Birth date and place of birth of each child
- Able to speak English?
- Affidavit of witness(es)
Naturalization is the process of granting citizenship privileges and responsibilities to foreign-born residents. The first naturalization act was passed in 1802. Immigrants to the United States were not required to apply for citizenship. Of those who did apply, many did not complete the requirements for citizenship.
Naturalization to become a U.S. citizen was 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 First Papers were normally filed five years before the Final Papers because of the five-year residency requirement to become a citizen.
No centralized files existed before 1906. In 1906 federal forms replaced the various formats that had been used by the various courts. Copies were sent to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), creating a central file for naturalization papers. The INS is now known as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Naturalization records are generally well preserved, but some records may have been lost to fire or other disasters.
The information that was current at the time of naturalization was usually reliable. However, there was always a chance for misinformation. Errors may have occurred because of the informant’s lack of knowledge or because of transcription errors or other circumstances.
How Do I Search This Collection?
Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:
- The full name of your ancestor
- The approximate date of immigration
- The approximate date of naturalization
- The ancestor’s residence at the time of naturalization
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. If your ancestor naturalized before 1900, check the census records to see when he or she first appeared in the census. This will give you a 10 year window in which they may have immigrated.
Search the Index
View the Images
View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
- Select the County
- Select the Record Type, Year Range, Volume Number/Letter to view the images
|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at Illinois, County Naturalization Records, 1800-1962. Some catalog records link to multiple references. In this case, click on a reference to find a camera icon to see images.|
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?
When you have located your ancestor’s naturalization record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example, you can use naturalization records to:
- Learn an immigrant’s place of origin
- Confirm their date of arrival
- Learn foreign and “Americanized” names
- Find records in his or her country of origin such as emigrations, port records, or ship’s manifests
I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?
- Look for the Declaration of Intent soon after the immigrant arrived, then look for the Naturalization Petition five years later when the residency requirement would have been met. Look for naturalization records in federal courts and then in state, county, or city courts
- An individual may have filed the first and final papers in different courts and sometimes in a different state if the person moved
- Immigrants who were younger than 18 when they arrived did not need to file a Declaration of Intent as part of the process
- If your ancestor had a common name, be sure to look at all the entries for a name before you decide which is correct
- Continue to search the naturalization records to identify siblings, parents, and other relatives in the same or other generations who may have naturalized in the same area or nearby
- The witnesses named on naturalization records may have been older relatives of the person in the naturalization process. Search for their naturalizations
- You may want to obtain the naturalization records of every person who shares your ancestor’s surname if they lived in the same county or nearby. You may not know how or if they are related, but the information could lead you to more information about your own ancestors
I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?
- Check for variant spellings. Realize that the indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings and misinterpretations
- Look for an index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records
- Search the naturalization records year by year
- Search the indexes of nearby counties
The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of Illinois.
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
- "Illinois, County Naturalization Records, 1800-1998." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 19 March 2019. Various county courthouses, Illinois.
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.
How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
| We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records. |
Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.