California, Northern U.S. District Court Naturalization Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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California, Northern U.S. District Court Naturalization Index, 1852 - 1989
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|California, United States|
|Flag of the United States of America|
|Seal of the National Archives|
|Record Type||Naturalization Card Index|
|Record Group||RG 21: Records of the District Courts of the United States|
|Microfilm Publication||M1744. Index to Naturalization in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California,1852-ca. 1989.|
|National Archives Identifier||2524850 350|
|National Archives and Records Administration|
- 1 What is in the Collection?
- 2 Collection Content
- 3 What Can this Collection Tell Me?
- 4 How Do I Search the Collection?
- 5 What Do I Do Next?
- 6 Known Issues with This Collection
- 7 Citing This Collection
- 8 How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
What is in the Collection?
This collection is a card index to naturalization records in the circuit and district courts of California for the years 1852 to 1989. The cards are arranged alphabetically by surname.
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.
The following collections are covered by this index:
- Duplicate Certificates of Citizenship, 1852-1906 NAID 2524822
- Naturalization Depositions, 1907-1963 NAID 2602672
- Applications for Repatriation, 1936-1969 NAID 2601974
- Petitions for Naturalization Transferred from Other Courts, 9/21/1952-8/23/1990 NAID 627696
- Petitions for Naturalization,10/23/1903-9/17/1991 NAID 605234
|You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for California, Northern U.S. District Court Naturalization Index, 1852-1989.|
What Can this Collection Tell Me?
Index cards generally include the following information:
- Petition number
- Date of petition
- Alien Registration number
- Name and residence of immigrant
- Birth date of immigrant
- Date certificate issued
- Court where certificate issued
Declaration of intent and naturalization petitions usually included the following:
- Declaration number
- 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 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. While there were various types of naturalization records, the Declaration of Intent and Naturalization Petition usually had the most complete genealogical information.
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).
Naturalization records are generally well preserved, but some records may have been lost to fire or other disasters.
Naturalization is the process of granting citizenship privileges and responsibilities to foreign-born residents. California’s 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.
How Do I Search the Collection?
To begin your search 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 by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in the requested information on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.
View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒ Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒ Select the "Description" which takes you to the images.
Be aware that with either search you may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination. Keep in mind:
- There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
- You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
- Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
- If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
- Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.
What Do I Do Next?
When you have located your ancestor in the 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 Who I was Looking for, What Now?
You can 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.
- 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 naturalization.
- 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 Who 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 of nearby counties.
|Don't overlook FHL Keyword California, Naturalization and Citizenship items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog.|
Known Issues with This Collection
For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to email@example.com. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.
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.
- "California, Northern U.S. District Court Naturalization Index, 1852-1989." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication M1744. Pacific Sierra Region, San Bruno: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):
How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
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