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Illinois, Northern District (Eastern Division), Naturalization Index - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Illinois, Northern District (Eastern Division), Naturalization Index, 1926-1979  and lllinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950
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CID1838804
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Illinois, United States
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Record Description
Record Type Naturalization Index
Record Group RG 85: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service
Collection years 1840-1979
Microfilm Publication M1285. Soundex Index to Naturalization Petitions for the United States District and Circuit Courts, Northern District of Illinois, and Immigration and Naturalization Service District 9, 1840-1950.
National Archives Identifier 449801111659081160705
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

The first collection consists of a card index to naturalization petitions for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern Division of the Northern District of Illinois, in ChicagoNAID 1165908. The card index was compiled from the following series: "Naturalization Petition and Record Books, 1906 - ca. 1975" NAID 281842, "Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991" NAID 593882, and "Overseas Naturalization Petition Books, 1942-1956" NAID 1183015.


Indexes the following collections

  • Naturalization Petition and Record Books, 1906-ca. 1975, NAID 281842
  • Petition for Naturalization,1906-1991,NAID 593882
  • Military Naturalization Petition and Record Books, 1918-1922,NAID 1182054
  • Naturalization Petitions,1872-1902,NAID 1225038
  • Municipal and county naturalization records in northern Illinois, northwestern Indiana, eastern Iowa and southern Wisconsin


The index includes the following counties for Illinois: Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Champaign, Cook, De Kalb, Du Page, Ford, Fulton, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, Lake, La Salle, Lee, Livingston, Marshall, McHenry, McLean, Mercer, Ogle, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Stephenson, Tazewell, Vermilion, Warren, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago, and Woodford.

The index includes the following counties for Indiana: Benton, Fulton, Jasper, Lake, La Porte, Marshall, Newton, Porter, Pulaski, St. Joseph, and Starke.

The index includes the following counties for Iowa: Allamakee, Appanoose, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Cedar, Chickasaw, Clayton, Clinton, Davis, Delaware, Des Moines, Dubuque, Fayette, Floyd, Grundy, Hardin, Henry, Howard, Iowa, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Mahaska, Mitchell, Monroe, Muscatine, Scott, Tama, Van Buren, Wapello, Washington, and Winneshiek.

The index includes the following counties for Wisconsin: Adams, Brown, Calumet, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Door, Florence, Fond du Lac, Forest, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Lafayette, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Milwaukee, Oconto, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Portage, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Shawano, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago, and Wood.

The actual naturalization volumes vary in size and format. Prior to the late 1800s each document was usually handwritten on one page. From the late 1800s and on, printed forms were used. After 1906 many entries were typewritten.

While there were various types of naturalization records, the Declaration of Intent and Naturalization Petition usually had the most complete genealogical information.


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.

After 1906 the entries generally include the name of petitioner; address; name of the court in which naturalization occurred; certificate, petition, or other identifying document number; country and date of birth; date and place of arrival in the United States; date of naturalization; and name and address of witnesses. Although space was provided for this information, it is not always present on every card. Index cards for naturalizations taking place prior to 1906 typically contain only the name of the petitioner, the name of the court in which naturalization occurred, document number, country of origin, and the date of naturalization.

Naturalization is the process of granting citizenship privileges and responsibilities to foreign-born residents. Most counties recorded naturalization procedures in the court records as legal proof of citizenship. The courts handling naturalizations changed several times so the card index was created as a way to quickly access specific records.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Illinois, Northern District (Eastern Division), Naturalization Index, 1926-1979.
You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for lllinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950.


The Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950 is NARA publication M1285: Soundex Index to Naturalization Petitions for the United States District and Circuit Courts, Northern District of Illinois and Immigration and Naturalization Service District 9, 1840-1950. This card file is an index to petitions for residents of northern Illinois, northwestern Indiana, southern and eastern Wisconsin, and eastern Iowa. Filed by Soundex codes the entries prior to 1906 differ from those after 1906.It includes no records from Cook County, Illinois, prior to 1871 as these records were destroyed by fire. For more information about Soundex indexes and instructions for coding names, see the Wiki article “Soundex."

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

Index cards for naturalizations taking place prior to 1906 typically contain the following information. Not all information is provided on every card. :

  • Name of the petitioner
  • Residence of petitioner
  • Birth date of petitioner
  • Name of the court in which naturalization occurred
  • Document number
  • Country of origin
  • Date and port of entry of arrival in U.S.
  • Date of naturalization
  • Names and addresses of witnesses

Most cards that index naturalizations after 1906 provide space for the following information:

  • Name of petitioner
  • Address
  • Name of the court in which naturalization occurred
  • Certificate, petition, or other identifying document number
  • Country of origin
  • Date of birth
  • Date and place of arrival in the United States
  • Date of naturalization
  • Name and address of witnesses

Declaration of Intent and Naturalization Petitions usually included the following:

  • 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

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Image[edit | edit source]

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The full name of your ancestor
  • The approximate year of immigration
  • The approximate year of naturalization
  • The place where your ancestor lived

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.

Illinois, Northern District (Eastern Division), Naturalization Index, 1926-1979[edit | edit source]

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

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

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the Name Range to view the images

Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950[edit | edit source]

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

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

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the Soundex Range to view the images

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

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?[edit | edit source]

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.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • 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
  • Look for the Declaration of Intent soon after the immigrant arrived, and 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?[edit | edit source]

  • Check for variant spellings. Realize that the indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings and misinterpretations
  • Try a different index if there is one for the years needed. You may also need to search the naturalization records year by year
  • Search the indexes of nearby counties

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

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

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

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:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
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?[edit | edit source]

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