British Columbia Naturalization Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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British Columbia, Naturalization Records, 1859-1926 .
This article describes a collection of records at
British Columbia,  Canada
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Location of British Columbia, Canada
Record Description
Record Type Naturalizations
Collection years 1859-1926
Languages English
Title in the Language
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
British Columbia Archives, Victoria

What is in this Collection?

This collection includes records from 1859 to 1926. These records include naturalizations from the counties of Victoria and Cranbrook, British Columbia. They include applications, oaths of allegiance, naturalization certificates and other documents. The Canadian Citizenship Act of January 1, 1947 introduced Canadian citizenship to Canada. Prior to that time Canadians who were born in the United Kingdom were considered British subjects.

Immigrants to Canada have never been required to apply for citizenship. Some nationalities were more likely to naturalize than others. Until 1947, settlers from Britain were considered citizens of Canada without needing to naturalize. Of those from other countries who applied, some did not complete the requirements for citizenship. Evidence that an immigrant completed citizenship requirements can be found in censuses, court minutes, homestead records, passports, voting registers, and military papers. British Columbia did not join Canada until 1871 so naturalization and citizenship were handled by the colonial government(s) before 1871. The earliest naturalization records are Oaths of Allegiance signed from 1859 and are in the British Columbia Archives. Naturalization records may be an important piece in discovering your family's history.

These records may contain information about where your ancestor came from, which is the most valuable piece of information when tracing them in their homeland. Without a place of origin, previous generations cannot be identified with much solidarity. Naturalization records may also give information on your ancestor's immigration, such as the date he or she arrived or the ship he or she rode on. These are all valuable pieces of information if you were to look for an ancestor's name in a passenger list.

To Browse this Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for British Columbia Naturalization Records, 1859-1926.

What Can these Records Tell Me?

Application records usually include:

  • Name of immigrant
  • Date of immigration
  • Residence
  • Place of origin
  • Date of arrival in Canada

Oaths of allegiance records usually include:

  • Name of immigrant
  • Date of immigration
  • Residence
  • Years residing in Canada

Naturalization records usually include:

  • Name of immigrant
  • Occupation
  • Residence
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Date of immigration
  • Name of ship

After 1915, records may also include birth dates, birthplaces and other information about the immigrant and the immigrant’s family.

Collection Content

Sample Images

How do I Search the Collection?

You can search the index or view the images or both. To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The name of a relative or date of the event

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page then:

  1. Select the County
  2. Select the Record Type, Box and File Numbers, and Years

Important: There are indexes available in the Cranbook records. The indexes are located in the file folder, Index Box 1 to Box 9, 1905-1923. Find your ancestor's name and look for the box, file and folio numbers located by their name. This is the information you will use to find your ancestor in the collection. The numbers you are looking for are located at the bottom of each page. In addition, Christopher J. P. Hanna developed an index to British Columbia Naturalizations from 1859-1882 [Title: BCARS, GR 1554, British Columbia Archives, no date of publication]. This is available at the British Columbia Genealogical Society Library or through other libraries. Also, a British Columbia Genealogical Society volunteer is indexing the earliest British Columbia naturalizations and this index is available on the British Columbia Genealogical Society's Research Projects web page and is being updated as indexing continues.

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images.

For more tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • If you haven't already looked, passenger arrival records can help you determine when an ancestor arrived and the port of departure. They can also help identify family and community members who arrived together and the country they came from.
  • Use the information found in the Naturalization Records to determine when vital events in your ancestor's life occurred. This can lead to information that can point to additional family members and generations.
  • Use the information to find other records such as birth, christening, census, land marriage and death records.
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family.
  • Church Records often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.

I Can’t Find Who I’m Looking for, What Now?

  • Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relations that can be verified by records.
  • There are very few passenger lists for ships coming into Canada before 1865. Lists were not made or were destroyed. The Library and Archives Canada website has posted an index of some lists that have survived.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search.
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name, especially French versions.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Search the indexes and records of British Columbia, Canada Genealogy.
  • Search in the British Columbia Archives and Libraries.
  • Search in the FamilySearch Catalog

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"British Columbia, Naturalization Records, 1859-1926." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2017. Citing County Court. British Columbia Archives, Victoria.

Image Citation

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for British Columbia, Naturalization Records, 1859-1926.

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