Historically Speaking

Historically Speaking
Got Genealogy? How to Use Naturalization Records in Your Research
By: Sarah Hays, Local History Librarian

Are you struggling to find genealogy research on an immigrant ancestor? Naturalization Records may provide some insight on the information you are looking for about your family history. Naturalization is the process of granting citizenship privileges and responsibilities to foreign-born residents. Naturalization papers are an important source of information about an immigrant’s nation of origin, his/her foreign and “Americanized” names, residence, and date of arrival in the United States. 
 
If your ancestor became a naturalized citizen prior to 1906, the type of information recorded in the naturalization records varied widely. However, in 1906, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization was created (known today as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services [USCIS]). The new agency created new, standardized forms on which to collect the same data for all immigrants. Two copies of the forms were produced for each immigrant – one to be retained by the court, and the other to be held by the Bureau.
 
The post-1906 records were to contain the: birth date and birth place of the immigrant, names of the spouse and children of the immigrant, along with the birth dates and birth places for the spouse and children. Other recorded information included: port of arrival, date of arrival, vessel of arrival, occupation of immigrant, their physical description, marital status and marriage date (if appropriate), age at the time of immigration, residence, and last foreign address.
 
If you are looking to find the naturalization records of your ancestors, here are a few online sources to begin your search:
 

  1. “Finding U.S. Naturalization Records.” www.germanroots.com;
  2. “United States Naturalization and Citizenship.” www.familysearch.org
  3. “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.” www.uscis.gov.

If you are still struggling to find information or if you are interested in learning more about genealogy research, join us at the Barberton Public Library for Genealogy Club. Meetings are the second Tuesday of every month at 10:30 am in the Board Room, located on the library’s lower level. The club meets for a short program led by a club member based on their experience in genealogy research and is followed by a discussion session where members can help each other and offer advice. You can also visit the Local History Room to access photos, books, and other materials to help you in your search. The local history librarian and volunteers are happy to help you locate genealogy sources and offer advice if you need assistance.