United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
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|Record Type||Naturalization Index|
|Record Group||RG 85: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service|
|Microfilm Publication||M1299. Index to New England Naturalization records, 1791-1906. 117 rolls.|
|National Archives Identifier||4498967|
|National Archives and Records Administration|
- 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?
Index to naturalization documents filed in courts in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The collection is located at the the National Archives Northeast Region and is NARA microfilm publication M1299 part of Records Group 85 Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
The majority of the records cover the date range of 1791-1906 but there are a few pages of outlying records from 1921, 1923, and 1932.
The index consists of 3x5 inch cards arranged by state then by Soundex coded names of petitioners. For more information on the Soundex see FamilySearch Wiki: Soundex
To Browse This Collection
|You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906.|
What Can These Records Tell Me?
The index cards usually contain the following:
- Name of immigrant
- Place of residence
- Title and location of court granting certificate of naturalization
- Volume and page number where certificate is recorded
- Country of birth
- Age or birth date
- Date of arrival and U. S. port of entry
- Names 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
- Last foreign residence
- Current residence
- Arrival place
- Marital status
- Name of spouse
- Maiden name of wife
- Birth date of spouse
- Residence of spouse
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. Naturalization records are generally well preserved, but some records may have been lost to fire or other disasters. The index is very accurate and 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.
While there were various types of naturalization records, the Declaration of Intent and Naturalization Petition usually had the most complete genealogical information.
History of the Records
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.
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).
How Do I Search This Collection?
When searching the index it is helpful to know:
- The full name of your ancestor
- The approximate immigration and naturalization dates
- The ancestor’s residence
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.
Search the Index
View the Images
View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
- Select Locality - Soundex Range to view the images.
|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906. 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 in the New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 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 the locator information found in the index (such as name of court, page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestors in the records
- Use naturalization records to learn an immigrant’s place of origin
- Use naturalization records to confirm their date of arrival
- Use naturalization records to learn foreign and “Americanized” names
- Use naturalization records to 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
- Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned
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
- 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 and records or nearby localities
The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the United States.
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
- "United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication M1299. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
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.
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