Where can I find naturalization records?The US Naturalization Service was formed on September 27, 1906, thus the they do not have any naturalization records dated before September 1906. Prior to that date, any "court of record" (municipal, county, state, or federal) could grant U.S. citizenship.
Find Naturalization Records Prior to 1906
Before September 27, 1906
Pre-1906 naturalization records may still be at the county court where the naturalization took place, or in a county or State archives. As a general rule, the National Archives does not have many naturalization records created in state or local courts (prior to 1906), however some county court naturalization records have been donated to the National Archives. This list of National Archives microfilm publications details their available naturalization records. These can be ordered through the Order Online! on the National Archives Web site.
Find Naturalization Records After 1906
September 27, 1906 and later
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) holds naturalization certificate files, known as C-Files, for all naturalizations date after September 26, 1906. C-Files are duplicate copies of the original naturalization records and should contain at least a copy of the Declaration of Intention to become a US Citizen (to 1952), Petition for Naturalization, and Certificate of Naturalization. Occasionaly, C-Files contain additional documents or correspondence.
USCIS maintains an index to the C-Files, and can retrieve individual records based on name, date of birth, and place of birth. C-Files from 1906 to 1956 have been microfilmed, and are available via Freedom of Information/Privacy Act request to USCIS Headquarters in Washington, D.C. For naturalization records after 1956, Freedom of Information requests should be sent to the appropriate USCIS District Office.
- Request the "Naturalization Certificate File (C-File)"
- Provide the name, date of birth, place of birth (at least the country) and residence (city or county and state) of the naturalized citizen. If the individual was born less than 100 years ago, you'll also need to provide proof of death (such as sa death certificate), or notarized permission from the individual.
Requests for naturalization records from the USCIS can often take several months, so you may find it quicker to try these other options for pre-1906 naturalization records:
- Look for the naturalization record in the local (usually county) court which served the immigrant's place of residence.
- The Family History Library has microfilmed many naturalization records. Check the Family History Library Catalog to see what's available. These microfilms can be ordered and viewed through your local Family History Center.