California County Naturalizations (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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California, County Naturalizations, 1849-1949 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
California, United States
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Location of California
Record Description
Record Type County Naturalizations
Collection years 1849-1949
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites



What is in the Collection?

The collection consists of naturalization records for the years 1849 to 1949 from the following counties (coverage dates will vary by county):

  • Nevada
  • Orange
  • Placer
  • Sacramento
  • San Francisco
  • Sonoma
  • Santa Clara
  • Stanislaus
  • Santa Barbara
  • San Benito
  • San Diego
  • Solano
  • Sutter
  • Yolo
  • Yuba
You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for California, County Naturalizations, 1849-1949.

Collection Content

Sample Images

The petition includes the following:

  • Name of the petitioner
  • Residence
  • Country of birth
  • Place and date of arrival
  • Names of two witnesses
  • Petition number
  • Date of petition
  • Volume and page number of the petition

The Declaration of Intent usually includes the following:

  • Name of the 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 Do I Search the Collection?

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 and 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.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒ Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the appropriate "County"
⇒ Select the appropriate "Record Type, Year Range, and Volume number or letter" which takes you to the images.

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

What Do I Do Next?

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 individual 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.

What If I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For?

  • Check for variant spellings of the names.
  • Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.


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:

“California County Naturalizations, 1849-1949.” Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. County clerk offices, California.

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 California, County Naturalizations, 1849-1949.


How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.