A. E. Jordan
From: Daniela <sciakyd@...>
I'm trying to find out what it means when a record says Naturalization: Supreme Court of Washington, DC 1922.
Yes this person naturalized it says in the Supreme Court of Washington DC. Search the court on the Internet and find either the clerk or the record room and ask them what the process is for retrieving the document and where they are stored. The National Archives is making a big effort working even with local courts to scan the old records but if you are not lucky enough to find them online go to the court... it is the simplest route.
There are some special files of military naturalizations bu for the most part unless the person was active in the military at the moment the records are with the local court. Generally the military exemption simply took you around the waiting periods. I just worked on one who was naturalized in the federal court in Brooklyn and attached to he application is a letter saying the person had served in the military for a year in 1942 so they were to get immediate naturalization but the record was with the court not the military. He had been dismissed from the military due to poor health prior to the naturalization.
The naturalization process evolved over time. Prior to 1906 it was possible to go to the local court or the federal court to go through the process. So when you are dealing with someone who lived in a city or major metropolitan area you really need to check multiple courts.
The federal government started to centralize and standardize the naturalization process in 1906 but local courts continued to at least the 1920s also doing naturalizations. There is a master file in Washington DC at CIS of all the naturalizations in all courts after 1906 but it is costly and time consuming to access and my experience is they have trouble finding the records. Again start with the local court or the regional NARA offices have most of the federal court records.
One more challenge is that there was no residency requirement so for example someone might have lived in Brooklyn but worked in Manhattan and thought it was simpler to do it in Manhattan and filed there. Usually it is close to home but it does not have to be.
Also the process was to use a 21st century term portable. Meaning someone lived in Manhattan and filed first papers. Then moved to Brooklyn and hence to do his declaration went to the Brooklyn court instead of returning to the Manhattan court. The Brooklyn court checked the Manhattan records to confirm the first papers had been filed and then took over the process. I just saw one of these cases where attached to the first papers is a letter between the courts attesting to the records. When I can I have to go to the second court to find the remainder of the naturalization record.
Hope that helps