Wisconsin, Dane County Naturalization Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Wisconsin, Dane County Naturalization Records, 1887-1945 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Dane, Wisconsin, United States
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Flag of Wisconsin
US Locator Map Wisconsin Dane.PNG
Location of Dane County, Wisconsin
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Location of Wisconsin
Record Description
Record Type Naturalization
Collection years 1887-1945
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What Is in the Collection?

The collection consists of images of naturalization records from Dane County, Wisconsin. The records include declarations (1887-1915), petitions (1906-1945), photographs (1841-1955), depositions (1910-1929) and certificate stubs (1907-1926). The records are arranged chronologically. 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 is the process of granting citizenship privileges and responsibilities to foreign-born residents. Counties recorded naturalization procedures in the court records as legal proof of 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).

Be aware that immigrants could naturalize in any court that performed naturalizations including city, county, state and federal courts. As a result they often selected the most convenient court. If they lived in the Eastern District but worked elsewhere, they may have gone to a court closer to work. To begin, look for naturalization records in the courts of the county or city where the immigrant lived. If the county has an index search it first. Next look 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 he submitted the petition.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Wisconsin, Dane County Naturalization Records, 1887-1945.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

They may include the following information:

  • Date of Declaration of Intent or Naturalization
  • Name of immigrant
  • Last foreign residence
  • Current residence
  • Date and place of birth
  • Age at time of declaration
  • Race
  • Marital status
  • Name of spouse, if married
  • Spouse's date if birth
  • Place and date of arrival
  • Names of two witnesses
  • Volume and page number of the petition

Collection Content

Sample Image

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

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

If you do not know this information, check the 1900 or 1910 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.

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page.

  1. Select Record Type, Year Range, and Volume Number

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.


For more tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.


What Do I Do Next?

I Found Who I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use the information to find other records such as emigrations, port records, ship’s manifests, birth, christening, census, and land records.
  • 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.
  • Learn foreign and “Americanized” names
  • Use the information to find church and vital records such as birth, baptism, marriage, and death records. Also search for military, land and probate records.
  • Use the information to find additional family members in censuses.
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family.
  • Church Records often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.

I Can’t Find Who I’m Looking For, What Now?

  • Try viewing the original record. Indexes and transcriptions may not include all the data found in the original records. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relatives that can be verified by records.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search.
  • Try variant 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.
  • Search the indexes and records of Wisconsin, United States Genealogy.
  • Search in the FamilySearch Library Catalog


Citing This Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"Wisconsin, Dane County Naturalization Records 1887-1945" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing State Historical Society, Madison.


Image citation:

When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Wisconsin, Dane County Naturalization Records, 1887-1945.


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