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Rhode Island Naturalization Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Rhode Island Naturalization Records 1907-1991
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Rhode Island, United States
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Record Description
Record Type Naturalizations
Record Group RG 21: Records of District Courts of the United States
Collection years 1907-1991
National Archives Identifier 350 3508341
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


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

The records in this collection consist of naturalization declarations and petitions for the U.S. District Courts of Rhode Island from 1907 to 1991. These records were digitized at the National Archive at Boston, Waltham, Massachusetts and are a collaboration with the National Archives and Records Administration(NARA) and Ancestry.com. These records are part of Records of District Courts of the United States Record Group 21 in the Records of the District Courts of the United States.

U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Rhode Island

U.S. District Court for the District Court of Rhode Island

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 naturalization 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 naturalization 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.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Rhode Island Naturalization Records 1907-1991.

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

The following information may be found in these records:

  • Name
  • Place of Birth
  • Age
  • Date of Birth
  • Home Address at time of Naturalization
  • Physical Description and Picture
  • Last Place of foreign residence
  • Country of birth
  • Occupation

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

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

Before using this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The approximate date of naturalization

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 Collection Browse Page:
  1. Select County
  2. Select Record Type, Year Range and Volume Number or Letter 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]

Indexes and transcriptions may not include all the data found in the original records. Look at the actual image of the record to verify the information found in the index and to find additional information.

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

  • Use the information found in the record to find other records such as emigrations, port records, and ship’s manifests
  • Use the information you find in the record to find more details about the person you are looking for such as foreign and Americanized names
  • 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
  • Use the information found in the record to find land and probate records

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • 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, or even initials
  • 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

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

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

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 can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
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]

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 Historical Records.

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