Washington, County Naturalization Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Washington, County Naturalization Records, 1850-1982 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Washington, United States
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Location of Washington
Record Description
Record Type Naturalization
Collection years 1850-1982
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in This Collection?

This collection includes records of naturalization proceedings the years 1850 to 1982 from the following counties:

  • Pacific
  • Grays Harbor
  • King
  • Lewis
  • Wahkiakum
  • Clark
  • Lewis
  • Cowlitz

The records include petitions, declarations of intention, certificates, depositions and final papers. The records are arranged chronologically. 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. 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.

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.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Washington, County Naturalization Records, 1850-1982.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The records may include any of the following information:

  • Name and age of petitioner
  • Current residence
  • Date and number of petition
  • Date and place of birth
  • Race, and last foreign residence
  • Date of arrival and port of entry
  • Marital status and name of spouse if married
  • Maiden name of wife
  • Date and place of birth of spouse
  • Date of Declaration of Intent or Naturalization
  • Volume and page number of petition
  • Names of two witnesses
  • Signature of judge or court official

Collection Content

Sample Image


How Do I Search This Collection?

To begin your search, it is helpful to know at least some of the following:

  • The full name of your ancestor.
  • The birth date or place of your ancestor
  • The approximate immigration and naturalization dates.

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.

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page.

  1. Select County
  2. Select Record type, year range and volume number or letter

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.

What Do I Do Next?

If these are indexes, the original records may contain additional information than was not indexed, or the information might have been indexed incorrectly. You may want to search for the original record at the Washington State Archives.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Copy the citation below, in case you need to find this record again later.
  • Use the information found in the record to find other Washington Vital Records such as emigrations, port records, and ship’s manifests.
  • Use the record to learn your ancestor’s foreign and “Americanized” names, if they were different.
  • Use the record to learn the place of origin then search there for their church or vital records such as birth, baptism, and marriage records.
  • Search for death or burial information in in Washington Cemeteries and Washington Newspapers.
  • Use the information found in the record to find Washington Land and Property.
  • Use the information found in the record to find Washington Probate Records.
  • Search this collection for other family members who may have immigrated with the person you are looking for. Search for additional family members in the Washington Census.
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family.

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

  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you find possible relatives.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching Oregon Vital Records.
  • Try different 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.
  • 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, 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.
  • Check the info box above for additional FamilySearch websites and related websites that may assist you in finding similar records.



Known Issues With This Collection

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See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

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 support@familysearch.org. 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

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
"Washington, County Naturalization Records, 1850-1982." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. State Archives, Bellevue.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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