Louisiana, Naturalization Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Record Description

Naturalization records from the National Archives - Southwest Region. Includes the Louisiana Index to Certificates 1831-1906. This collection is being published as images become available.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Louisiana, Naturalization Records, 1831-1906.

Record Content

The information given for each petition includes the following:
  • Full name of petitioner
  • Current address
  • Country of birth
  • Date and place of arrival
  • Names of two witnesses
  • Date of petition
  • Petition number
  • Other facts of reacord
  • Volume and page number of petition

Declaration of Intent and Naturalization Petitions may include any of the following:

  • Name of immigrant
  • Country of birth
  • Arrival date
  • Date of Declaration of Intent or Naturalization
  • Names of witnesses
  • Signature of judge or court official
  • Birth date
  • Birthplace
  • Age
  • Race
  • Last foreign residence
  • Current residence
  • Arrival place
  • Marital status
  • Name of spouse
  • Maiden name of wife
  • Birth date of spouse
  • Residence of spouse

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • The full name of your ancestor
  • The approximate immigration and naturalization dates
  • The ancestor’s residence

If you do not know this information, check the 1900 or 1910 census, then calculate the possible year of naturalization based on the date of immigration. The 1920 census may tell you the exact year of immigration or naturalization.

Search the Collection

To search the collection image by image
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select "Surname Range" category which takes you to the images.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.

For example, you can use naturalization records to:

  • Learn an immigrant’s place of origin
  • Confirm their date of arrival
  • Learn foreign and “Americanized” names
  • Find records in his or her country of origin such as emigrations, port records, or ship’s manifests

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Look for the Declaration of Intent soon after the immigrant arrived, and then look for the Naturalization Petition five years later, when the residency requirement would have been met. Look for naturalization records in federal courts and then in state, county, or city courts.
  • An immigrant may have filed the first and final papers in different courts and sometimes in a different state if the person moved. Immigrants who were younger than 18 when they arrived did not need to file a Declaration of Intent as part of the process.
  • If your ancestor had a common name, be sure to look at all the entries for a name before you decide which is correct.
  • Continue to search the naturalization records to identify siblings, parents, and other relatives in the same or other generations who may have naturalized in the same area or nearby.
  • The witnesses named on naturalization records may have been older relatives of the person in the naturalization process. Search for their naturalizations.
  • You may want to obtain the naturalization records of every person who shares your ancestor’s surname if they lived in the same county or nearby. You may not know how or if they are related, but the information could lead you to more information about your own ancestors.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Check for variant spellings. Realize that the indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings and misinterpretations.
  • Try a different index if there is one for the years needed. You may also need to search the naturalization records year by year.
  • Search the indexes of nearby localities.

General Information About These Records

While there were various types of naturalization records, the Declaration of Intent and Naturalization Petition usually had the most complete genealogical information.

The first naturalization act was passed in 1802. Immigrants to the United States were not required to apply for citizenship. Of those who did apply, many did not complete the requirements for citizenship.

Naturalization to become a U.S. citizen was a two-part process: the Declaration of Intent to Naturalize, or First Papers, and the Naturalization Record (including the Naturalization Petition), or Final Papers. The First Papers were normally filed five years before the Final Papers because of the five-year residency requirement to become a citizen.

No centralized files existed before 1906. In 1906 federal forms replaced the various formats that had been used by the various courts. Copies were sent to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), creating a central file for naturalization papers. The INS is now known as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Naturalization records are generally well preserved, but some records may have been lost to fire or other disasters.;

The index is very accurate and the information that was current at the time of naturalization was usually reliable. However, there was always a chance for misinformation. Errors may have occurred because of the informant’s lack of knowledge or because of transcription errors or other circumstances.

Naturalization is the process of granting citizenship privileges and responsibilities to foreign-born residents. Counties recorded naturalization procedures in the court records as legal proof of citizenship. 

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Contributions to This Article

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Citations for This Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection citation:

"Louisiana, Naturalization Records, 1831-1906" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Immigration and Naturalization Service. National Archives, Southwest Region, Fort Worth, Texas.

Image citation:

The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Louisiana, Naturalization Records, 1831-1906.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 7 October 2014, at 20:28.
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