Louisiana, Eastern District Naturalization Petitions, 1838-1861 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Louisiana, Eastern District Naturalization Petitions, 1838-1861 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Louisiana, United States
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Record Description
Record Type Naturalization Petitions
Record Group RG 21: Records of District Courts of the United States
Collection years 1838-1861
Microfilm Publication P2233. U.S. District Court at New Orleans, Naturalization Petitions,1838-1861. 2 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 350
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in This Collection?

This collection is an index to naturalization proceedings filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, which was located in New Orleans from 1838–1861. The papers include petitions for naturalization, oaths of the petitioner, and two witnesses. Declarations of Intention filed in other courts are occasionally included.

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 information given for each petition includes the following:

  • Name of the petitioner
  • Residence
  • Country of birth
  • Place and date of arrival
  • Names of two witnesses
  • Petition number
  • Date of petition
  • Volume and page number of the petition

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

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The approximate date and place of 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.

What Do I Do Next?

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

  • Make sure to fully transcribe and cite the record entry for future reference; see the section Citing this Collection for assistance. Save or print a copy of the image
  • Use the information found in the record to find other records such as emigrations, port records, and ship’s manifests.
  • Use the record to learn your ancestor’s foreign and “Americanized”.
  • Use the record to learn the place of origin and find their church and vital records such as birth, baptism, and marriage records.
  • Use the information found in the record to find land and probate records.
  • Use the record to see if other family members who may have immigrated with the person you are looking for are listed and have additional information or leads; you may also find additional information on new family members in censuses.
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family.
  • Church Records were kept years before counties began keeping records. They are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.

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.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby town or county.
  • Try different spellings of your ancestor’s name.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • 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, 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.
  • Check other possible ports of entry
  • Check the info box above for additional FamilySearch websites and related websites that may assist you in finding similar records.

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

"Louisiana, Eastern District Naturalization Petitions, 1838-1861." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. From "US District Court at New Orleans, Naturalization Petitions, 1838-1861." Database. Fold3.com. http://www.fold3.com : 2012. Citing NARA microfilm publication P2233. 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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