New York, Southern District, U.S District Court Naturalization Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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New York, Southern District, U.S District Court Naturalization Records, 1824-1946
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
New York, United States
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Record Description
Record Type Naturalization Petitions
Record Group RG 21: Records of United States District Courts
Collection years 1824-1946
Microfilm Publication M1972. Petitions for Naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1907-1944. 1457 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 575701 350
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in This Collection?

This collection contains naturalization petitions for the U.S. District Court, Southern District which sat in New York, New York.

The records from 1824-1906 have volume numbers 64-162 on rolls 1-68.The records from 1906-1946 have a certificate numbers from 1-436400 on rolls 69-1457.


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. Before 1790, British immigrants were considered citizens of the British colonies in America, and later American citizens. Some Protestant immigrants from other European countries requested citizenship from civil authorities. After swearing allegiance, immigrants were generally granted citizenship. The process by which other immigrants could become citizens of the British Empire or the American colonies, and later American citizens, was handled by the individual colonies then states until 1906, when the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization standardized immigration laws and procedures. 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 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. The surname may be spelled differently in records that were closer to your ancestor's immigration date.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for New York, Southern District, U.S District Court Naturalization Records, 1824-1946.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Before 1906, the information recorded on naturalization records differed widely and often didn't mention the immigrant's town of origin or parents' names. These records may contain:

  • Arrival date and port of entry
  • Name and age of immigrant
  • Age of immigrant
  • Current residence of immigrant
  • Country of origin or allegiance

In 1906, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization was created and later renamed Immigration and Naturalization Services or INS. Some results included standardized forms throughout the country and copies of naturalization papers sent to the INS in addition to the court keeping a copy. Naturalization records after 1906 contain more detailed information about the immigrants and their families. The INS is now known as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Possible information given in post-1906 naturalization records include:

  • Name of declarant
  • Date of Declaration of Intent
  • Age and occupation of declarant
  • Physical description of declarant
  • Declarant's date and place of birth
  • Declarant's marital status
  • Spouse's name
  • Spouse's date and place of birth
  • Names of children
  • Children's dates and places of birth
  • Date of arrival and port of entry
  • Name of ship
  • Departure date and port of departure
  • Current U. S. residence
  • Last foreign address

Collection Content

Sample Images

Immigrants could naturalize in any court that performed naturalizations. That included city, county, state and federal courts. Begin by looking for naturalization records in the courts of the county or city where the immigrant lived. Look first for the petition (second papers), because they are usually easier to find in courts near where the immigrant eventually settled. After 1906, the declaration can be filed with the petition as the immigrant was required to submit a copy when the petition the petition was submitted. 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.

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the person you are looking for
  • The approximate immigration and naturalization dates
  • Where your person lived after immigration
  • Other identifying information such as birth place, age or date of arrival

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

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

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the Record Type, Date Range, Volume or Box Range to view the 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 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.

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

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, 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

Record Finder

Consult the New York Record Finder to find other 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
"New York, Southern District, U.S District Court Naturalization Records, 1824-1946." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 31 May 2018. Citing NARA microfilm publication M1972, Southern District of New York Petitions for Naturalization, 1897-1944. Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685 - 2009, RG 21. National Archives at New York.
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.

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