Puerto Rico, Records of Foreign Residents (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Access the records: Puerto Rico, Records of Foreign Residents, 1815-1845 .

Title in the Language of the Record

Documentos de Naturalización de Extranjeros en Puerto Rico

Record Description

This collection of naturalization records for foreigners in Puerto Rico includes the years 1815-1845. This collection includes requests by foreigners for permission to reside in Puerto Rico (Letters of Domicile), some correspondence, lists of foreigners residing in Puerto Rico, and a few copies of final naturalization papers (Letters of Naturalization). During this time period, Puerto Rico belonged to Spain. Therefore, the documents pertain to foreigners becoming Spanish subjects and are written in Spanish. Puerto Rico was ceded to the United States in 1898. These records were transferred to the National Archives in 1943 and correspond to NARA publication T1170: Extranjeros (Foreigners) in Puerto Rico, 1815-1845. This collection is organized in alphabetical order by surname.

The Royal Decree of Graces of 1815 is a legal order approved by the Monarchy of Spain (King Ferdinand VII) in 1815, which contained the regulations for promoting the population, commerce, industry, and agriculture of the Island of Puerto Rico. Because of economic and political issues in Europe, many Spaniards and later Europeans took advantage of this grant, attracted also by the offer of free land to cultivate in the island. The new settlers were given a Letter of Domicile, which allowed them to reside and work legally in the island. After five years of residence in the island, they had a choice to make: become Spanish subjects and be granted a Letter of Naturalization that made them legal citizens, or reject the oath and return to their homelands. The majority of the settlers accepted the naturalization laws.

Naturalization is the process of granting citizenship privileges and responsibilities to foreign-born residents. These records were created to guarantee the rights of naturalized citizens to all the new settlers.

Naturalization records are regularly accurate and the information listed reliable. However, some transcription errors or other circumstances may have occurred. Nonetheless, these records are a good source for genealogical research.

For an alphabetical list of names currently published in this collection, select the Browse.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"Puerto Rico, Records of Foreign Residents, 1815-1845" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing NARA microfilm publication T1170. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content