Re: Working Backwards from Certificate of Naturalization #general

Lisa Lepore <llepore@...>

On Mon, 24 Oct 2005 14:55:59 UTC, dmc@... (Doug Cohen)

After 1906, all naturalizations were in the federal district court. You
need to find the archives of the district court in Albany (nearest NARA
branch -- either Pittsfield or Varick St. in Manhattan, I would assume) and
ask them for the naturalization petition.
snip <
From: "Stan Goodman" <SPAM_FOILER@...>

This is very interesting to me. I had been led to believe that
naturalizations were done in county courts as well, even after 1906.
Is this my misunderstanding? I have sought the natuaralization of my
pgf in the records of the pertinent county courts (Essex and Hudson
counties, in NJ) without success; have I been barking up the wrong
tree? That's easy to do >from this distance.

My tentative conclusion had been that he was not, in fact naturalized,
although he was telling census enumerators >from 1910 that he was a

snip <
Stan -

Doug's information about the location of the naturalization papers
is not correct. There is confusion here between NARA and
the INS. After 1906, the naturalizatons could still take place
in any court. What happened in 1906 is that the naturalization process
came under the jurisdiction of the US Federal government, so that
the policy and documentation would be standardized. A copy of the
paperwork was sent to the Bureau of Naturalization, which is now
the INS. Look at this website for more information

If your grandfather was naturalized after 1906, you should follow the
instructions to request a freedom of information act request.

A person could still go to any court in order to apply for citizenship.
In fact, the writer of the original question said exactly that -

"Howie Axelrod" <highwind1@...> wrote
There is a certificate number, a Petition number, and volume number on
the document. It was issued Albany, Albany County, NY, in 1920.
In general, NARA does not have records that were created at the state &
local levels regardless of the time period. The exception to this statement
is that some states donated their state records to NARA. NARA would only
have the naturalization records for the Federal District or circuit courts
of the various states. These records would be located in the regional NARA
branch which holds the federal records pertaining to your state.

At the state level then, the records could be in any court, including the State
Supreme Court, or the local criminal court, or the county courts in states which
them. If you have actually searched the county court records in NJ, and didn't
find them, and you have searched at NARA, you probably need to go back
to New Jersey and see if there are other courts where these records could
be located. My great grand father was naturalized in RI at the state's
Supreme Court in 1901, and his sisters at the US District court in RI in 1931.

Sometimes the courts are not aware that naturalizations occured there, especially
if this is a service they no longer provide. You should check with a state or
county historical society to get a better idea of where these records might be.
In RI, they have a state judicial archive center which contains all the
naturalizations processed in their courts.

According to "They Became Americans", Loretto Dennis Szucs, the
NJ State archives has NJ naturalization records for the colonial period and
part of the 19th century. She also says most of the naturalization records from
1800's to the present are filed at each county clerk's office, and not the court.

I found this web address for the NJ state archives, but it seems to be out
of service at the moment - hopefully just a temporary glitch

Unfortunately, some of the older records >from the states' courts did not survive,
or will not provide much useful information even if you do find them.
There is always the possibility your ancestor was never naturalized....

I have never sent for a passport application, so I can't help with that.

My information is >from the above mentioned book, the NARA website,
and the INS info page.

Hope this helps you and others find something,
Lisa Lepore
Mendon, MA

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