Lawrence County, Ohio - NaturalizationEdit This Page
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Indexes - Naturalization
| How to Access Index
|| Time Period
|| Record Type
|| Library or Archives where index is located:
|| First film number or book number if at FHL
|| Note about the index:
|| Where the records are located (film number or repository)|
|| Clerk of Courts
|| Lawrence County Courthouse, Ironton, Ohio
|| This index does not provide the court where the naturalization took place, or the reference info. You must use the date of naturalization to help locate the correct document either in the Court of Common Pleas or the Probate Court
|| 1303193; 317748; Lawrence County Courthouse, Ironton, Ohio|
|| 1817-1860; 1862
|| Declarations, Petitions, Journal
|| Probate Court; Court of Common Pleas
|| Lawrence County Courthouse, Ironton, Ohio
|| 977.1 A1 no. 725
| Microfilm or Original Records
|| District Court: Southern District
|| Chicago Branch of the National Archives, Chicago, Illinois
|| Surname index, separated by district court. Includes Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, and Steubenville
|| 1839184; Chicago Branch of the National Archives, Chicago, Illinois|
Records - Naturalization
|How to Access||Time Period||Record Type||Court||Library or Archive where records are located:|| First Film # or book #, if at FHL
||Note about the Records:|
|Microfilm||1852-1878||Journal||Probate Court||Lawrence County courthouse, Ironton, Ohio||317748||Index is at the beginning of the journal. This record contains naturalization records as well as other records mixed in.|
|Microfilm or Original Records||1877-1906||Declarations and Petitions||Probate Court||Ohio University Library, Athens, Ohio; Archives/Library Division, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio||1303193||Includes surname index at the beginning of each volume.|
|Microfilm||1907-1954||Declarations and Petitions||Court of Common Pleas||Ohio University Library, Athens, Ohio||1845758||Includes surname index at the beginning of each volume.|
|Microfilm or Original Records||1916-1951||Declarations||District Court: Southern District||Chicago Branch of the National Archives, Chicago, Illinois||1839182||Includes surname index at the beginning of each volume.|
|Microfilm or Original Records||1916-1951||Petitions||District Court: Southern District||Chicago Branch of the National Archives, Chicago, Illinois||1839184 item 4||Includes surname index at the beginning of each volume.|
|Microfilm||1918-1919||Petitions||District Court: Southern District||Chicago Branch of the National Archives, Chicago, Illinois||183918 item 2||Military Naturalizations|
| Original Records
||1852-1905||unknown||Circuit Court: Southern District: Western Division||Chicago Branch of the National Archives, Chicago, Illinois||Not at FHL|| |
| Original Records
||1859-1963||Petitions||District Court: Southern District: Western Division, Cincinnati||Chicago Branch of the National Archives, Chicago, Illinois||Not at FHL|| |
| Original Records
||1906-1930||unknown||District Court: Southern District: Western Division, Dayton||Chicago Branch of the National Archives, Chicago, Illinois|| Not at FHL
|| National Archives reference number:|
Key to Libraries/Archives
- Archives/Library Division, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio: you can visit the Ohio Historical Society and do your own research, however, they have limited hours. The OHS will also do research for a fee.
- Chicago Branch of the National Archives, Chicago, Illinois: Research requests can be made by email or by phone. Research can also be done in person. FAQ about the Chicago Branch.
- FHL (Family History Library), Salt Lake City, Utah: These microfilms are available for patron use at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. The library is open to the public. FHL hours. Also, most films can be accessed through a loan system in the over 4,500 Family History Centers around the world. Call your local for hours and more information about viewing microfilm. There is a small fee to rent the film. Books cannot be loaned out to Family History Centers but may have been indexed on FamilySearch or must be viewed at the Family History Library. There are no search services at the FHL or at Family History Centers. The first film number or book number for the resources available at the Family History Library is provided on the charts above with links to the Family History Library Catalog, which states more information about the source.
- Lawrence County Courthouse, Ironton, Ohio: You must call the courthouse to see what records are still in their possession. A fee usually applies for all copies of records.
- Ohio University Library, Athens, Ohio: If the record is on microfilm, Ohio University Library offers Inter-Library Loan as a service. Textual records must be viewed in person at the library.
How to Find Naturalization Records
The top chart contains the indexes to naturalization records available for Lawrence County. It should be noted that many of the naturalization record volumes containing declarations and petitions also contain indexes at the beginning of the volume. Note the years and courts that each index covers to make sure that all possible sources are searched for the applicant’s naturalization records.
By Time Period
The first naturalization law was passed by Congress in 1790. Throughout the 19th and 20th Century there were many naturalization laws passed that altered the naturalization process. For most years, there was a 5 year residency required before an immigrant could complete the naturalization process and be naturalized.
Lawrence County was created in 1815 from the counties of Gallia and Scioto, Ohio. The earliest naturalization records in Lawrence County begin in 1817 although some only exist in index form with no records surviving.
Before 1906, naturalization records, declarations of intention and petitions, contained limited information. Each court determined the necessary information to process the immigrant. Thus, the contents of records are inconsistent. Because the information could vary significantly from court to court, it is highly recommended that both the declaration and the petition should be located for the applicant. Generally speaking, the information provided on a declaration or petition record MAY include:
- Port of arrival
- Date of immigration
- Country of origin
- Age of applicant
The information provided on naturalization records change significantly in 1906, when the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was created (now the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS). INS began to keep copies of naturalization records and provide forms for the courts that naturalized. Information included on both the declaration and petition generally included the following information for the applicant:
- Birth date and place
- Last foreign address
- Personal description
- Port and date of arrival
- Wife and children with their birth dates and places
- Country of birth or allegiance
By Record Type
There are two major record types in naturalization records: declaration of intention and petition.
Declaration of Intention:
Also referred to as first papers, the declaration of intention is the first court record stating the applicant’s desire to become a citizen of the United States. It usually is filed after 1 to 2 years residency in the United States. It usually includes a renouncing of allegiance to their former country and an oath of allegiance to the United States. Before 1906, the declaration of intention may contain different information than the petition and both documents should be obtained. Before 1906, information on a declaration may include port of arrival, date of immigration, country of origin, and age of applicant. After 1906, much of the same information is listed on both the declaration and petition including (among other information): birth date and place of applicant, port and date of arrival, wife and children with their birth dates and places.
There were times the declaration of intention was not required for someone naturalizing. From1824 to 1906, immigrants under the age of 21 (whose parents did not naturalize) could be naturalized without filing a declaration of intent after they reached the age of 21 and had met the residency requirements. The declaration could be submitted with the petition.
Honorable discharge from military service also exempted soldiers from having to apply a declaration of intention. In 1862 only the Army had this provision. Navy and Marines also had this provision starting in 1894.
The petition is also referred to as “second papers” or “final papers.” It is recorded approximately 2 to 3 years after the declaration is filed and after 5 years residence in the United States, depending on the naturalization law in place at the time. The petition is the final paper filed with the court by the applicant. Before 1906, the petition may contain port of arrival, date of immigration, country of origin, and age of applicant. After 1906 it may include birth date and place of applicant, port and date of arrival, wife and children with their birth dates and places.
Other Naturalization Records:
For Lawrence County, there are other miscellaneous naturalization records. These include journal entries about dates of declaration and naturalization. It also includes oaths of allegiance. Information in these records varies by time period. Search for the declaration and petition first, then look for other naturalization records.
Naturalization could be granted by any court - including city, county, state or federal courts. The immigrant was not required to naturalize in his county or district court boundaries but could choose the most convenient court. This court could be in the neighboring county, such as Scioto, Galia, or Jackson. After 1906, more naturalizations took place in the federal courts, but local courts did continue to naturalized. Therefore, both federal and local courts should be searched.
The declaration and petition could be processed in different courts in different parts of the country depending on where the immigrant lived. After 1906, a copy of the naturalization records (declaration and petition) were always submitted to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). If a naturalization record cannot be located in the records listed above for an individual naturalized after 1906, a copy can be obtained for a fee from the former INS, now called United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The courts granting naturalization to applicants living in Lawrence County included the Clerk of Court, Probate Court, Court of Common Pleas, Circuit Court and District Court. Lawrence County was in the Ohio District in 1815 when it was created. Lawrence County was assigned to the Ohio Southern District in 1855. In 1911, it was assigned to the Southern District, Western Division where it remains today.
AT USCIS - AFTER 1906
Beginning in September 1906, the federal government began regulating the naturalization process. The Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (now the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS), required specific forms for declarations and petitions. Only these forms could be used and the Bureau controlled the number of courts able to naturalize by controlling distribution of the forms. However, local, state, and federal courts were all allowed to naturalize. Therefore, copies of the applicant's naturalization papers were kept by the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization.
The Declaration of Intent (Form 2202) was completed in triplicate. The court kept the original and gave copies to the applicant and the Bureau. The Petition for Naturalization (Form 2204) was kept by the court and a duplicate was sent to the INS. The Certificate of Naturalization (Form 2207) was given to the new citizen. A duplicate was sent to the INS and the court kept the stub. Additional files were created by the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization and are discussed on the the USCIS website.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has instituted the Genealogy Program for the public to access all records up to 1956 created by this agency, formerly Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Be sure to review the Genealogy Frequently Asked Questions website to expedite your order and ensure success in your request.
- Naturalization Certificate Files (C-files) from September 27, 1906 to April 1, 1956
- Alien Registration Forms from August 1, 1940 to March 31, 1944
- Visa files from July 1, 1924 to March 31, 1944
- Registry Files from March 2, 1929 to March 31, 1944
- Alien Files (A-files) numbered below 8 million (A8000000) and documents therein dated prior to May 1, 1951
When ordering by mail, use forms G-1041 (for an index search) and G-1041A (to obtain the file). Do not submit G-1041A until you have completed a search with form G-1041 UNLESS you have a valid file number. Once the form is filled out, include a money order or cashier's check. Cash or a personal check will not be accepted. There are NO refunds for incorrect file numbers submitted or for negative results. The mailing address is:
- USCIS Genealogy Program
P.O. Box 805925
Chicago, Illinois 60680-4120
The fee schedule is:
Form G-639, the Freedom of Information Act/FOIA form, should be used for naturalization records after 1956.
There are several books written on naturalization records and proceedures in the United States. Those include the following:
- Newman, John J. American Naturalization Records 1790-1990. Bountiful, UT: Heritage Quest, 1998.
- Szucs, Loretto Dennis. They Became Americans. Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry Inc., 1997