New Jersey Naturalization and Citizenship
Few naturalizations were required in the colonial period since most immigrants came from the British Isles. Naturalizations that did occur can usually be found either in court or legislative records. Between 1702 and 1776, the New Jersey General Assembly passed acts granting citizenship to over 640 specific individuals who petitioned either the Assembly or the Supreme Court. The records seldom give more than names and places of residence. The Supreme Court minutes have naturalizations beginning in 1741. Lists of persons naturalized before 1790 can be found in:
- New Jersey. Supreme Court. Naturalization Records, 1749-1873; Card Index, 1761-1860. Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1978. (Family History Library films 1022906-14.) These microfilms include petitions, 1749-1810 and 1851-1873, also naturalization records, 1761-1860.
- Index to Naturalization Records, 1703-1862. (Family History Library film 913176 item 1.) This is a card index to legislative naturalization petitions, 1703 to 1776, 1785, and 1787 and also to Supreme Court and Chancery Court naturalizations.
- Stevenson, John R. "Persons Naturalized in New Jersey Between 1702 and 1776," The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Record, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Apr. 1897): 86-89. Digital version at New York Family History ($); FHL Book 974 B2n, Volume 28.
- Winkel, Peter A. Naturalizations, Province of New Jersey, 1747-1775, The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey 65 (1990): 1-8, 59-66. (Family History Library book 974.9 B2g.)
- Guide to Naturalization Records in New Jersey. Newark, New Jersey: Historical Records Program, 1941. (Family History Library fiche 6045826.)
After 1790 aliens could declare their intention to become citizens and later be naturalized in any court. Most naturalizations took place in the county courts of common pleas, but naturalizations were also recorded by circuit, chancery (since 1802), supreme, U.S. district, and other courts. A 1794 law granted aliens the right to own real estate if, prior to purchase, they had filed a declaration of intention to become a citizen.
County clerks have naturalization records from about 1795 through 1929. Since 1930 most new citizens have naturalized at the U.S. District Court of New Jersey at Newark, Trenton, or Camden. County clerks also have separate volumes of military petitions of soldiers who were naturalized after Civil War and World War I service.
The Family History Library has court of common pleas naturalization records to 1906 for all counties except Camden. The state archives has these same records for all counties, including Camden. Collections by other courts include:
- New Jersey Court of Chancery.Naturalization Records, 1832–1847, 1852, 1856-1858, 1861–1862. (Family History Library film 1022907)
- New Jersey Supreme Court.Naturalization Records, 1749–1873; Card Index, 1761–1860. FHL film 1022906 (first of 8)
- United States District Court for New Jersey. Petition for Natualization...1914–1945. FHL film 2397433 (first of 185)
- Naturalization declarations and petitions and indexes for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, 1838 to 1985, are at the National Archives — Northeast Region.
The records listed above often give the person's town or county of birth and sometimes give the birth date, place and date of emigration, and place and date of arrival in the United States.
The following is an inventory of the naturalization records found in the various courthouses in New Jersey as of 1941:
- Guide to Naturalization Records in New Jersey. Newark, New Jersey: Historical Records Program, 1941. (Family History Library book 974.9 A3h; fiche 6045826.) This book does not list the names of persons. It tells the type of naturalization records, and the years they were kept, in each county prior to 1940.