Naturalization Records U.S.

 

 

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Obtain Naturalization Records from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Naturalization is the means by which a citizen or alien of one country becomes the citizen of another—in this case, a United States citizen. Of course, genealogists are not interested in how to go about the difficult business of becoming citizens; they are attempting to track down any available historical information about their ancestors. Naturalization records provide a wealth of relevant information for genealogy research. Learn how to obtain these valuable informational records from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services via your own computer.

Visit uscis.gov and click on “About Us and FOIA.” The subsequent menu will show a listing for “History, Genealogy and Education.” Click this category and scroll down to the link for “Naturalization Records.” From this point you will become aware that this agency also contains other records that may be relevant to your particular search that include records pertaining to resumed or lost citizenship. In this case, however, naturalization records are the primary focus.

INS naturalization certificate files, referred to as C-Files are generally comprised of three documents: Declaration of Intention, Petition for Naturalization and Certificate of Naturalization. Researchers have the ability to request these files from this agency if they fall between the 1906-1956 timeframe. These C-Files have been microfilmed and may be requested from INS. This agency did not keep naturalization records prior to September of 1906 so those records must be obtained from the National Archives.

FOIA or Freedom of Information Act allows anyone to request access to immigration records (excepting classified records), but it must be done precisely and in writing to this agency. You will need to mail your written request (a form is also available for this purpose through a link on the site) to:
Director
Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act Program
111 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., 2nd Floor
ULLICO Building
Washington, D.C. 20529
Requests for Alien files should be mailed to:
National Records Center
FOIA/PA
P.O. Box 648010
Lee’s Summit, MO 64064-8010
For procurement information, mail your request to:
USCIS FOIA/PA
70 Kimball Ave.
South Burlington, VT 05403-6813
Should you wish to contact someone in the office for other information or with questions, call 202-272-8269.

The agency states that most of the request they receive do not require fees, but any request may be charged up to $25 in fees, so it is best to plan for this up front. Should your request prove extensive, added fees may pertain, but the agency will contact you before going further with the request.

When you write to contact USCIS, be sure to include a daytime phone number so they may contact you. The more information you can provide about the person the easier they may call up the records for you. Verification of identity or proof of death for the person you are researching is also essential information for a request. Form G-639 may be helpful for your written submission and is available through a link in the site.

As for the information contained in the C-Files—they are a virtual treasure for any genealogy enthusiast. The Declaration of Intention contains information about an individual’s occupation, name, personal description (color, height, complexion, weight, hair color, eye color, distinctive marks), place of birth, birth date, port of arrival, etc…This file alone contains extremely important information for anyone tracing their ancestry.

The Petition for Naturalization contains the name, address, occupation, date of birth, place of birth, date and port of departure, name of transport, date of arrival, port of arrival, signatures of witnesses as well as where and when the petition was filed. After 1915, this record also included name, date & place of birth, and residence of wife and minor children. Some of this information overlaps with that contained on the Declaration of Intent, but it allows a researcher to verify information with a second document as well as to track an individual—whether they are employed in the same manner for instance.

The Certificate of Naturalization was made in duplicate form. The new citizen kept the original copy and a copy was kept at USCIS. After 1929, a photograph was included with this record. This certificate includes date of birth, personal description, marital status, country of former nationality, signature, and location of ceremony where the individual pledged allegiance.

Not surprisingly, each informational item contained in the naturalization records can prove immensely helpful in organizing ancestry information. This agency handles requests for these records on a daily basis and handles each request in a timely manner. However, because of the volume of request made to this agency, plan on waiting about twenty days for basic requests. Complicated requests may require additional time to process.

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