Maryland Naturalization Petitions (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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Maryland Naturalization Petitions, 1906-1931 .
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Maryland, United States|
|Flag of the United States of America|
|Seal of the National Archives|
|Record Type||Naturalization Petitions|
|Record Group||RG 21: Records of District Courts of the United States|
|Microfilm Publication||M1640. Naturalization Petitions of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland,1906-1930. 43 rolls.|
|Arrangement||Numerical by petition number|
|National Archives Identifier||654310|
|National Archives and Records Administration|
- 1 What is in the Collection?
- 2 What Can these Records Tell Me?
- 3 How Do I Search the Collection?
- 4 What Do I Do Next?
- 5 Citing this Collection
- 6 How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
What is in the Collection?
The collection consists of approximately 13,800 naturalization petitions filed in the U.S. District Court for the district of Maryland. It also includes certificates of arrival, oaths of allegiance, and declarations of intention to naturalize. The collection corresponds to NARA publication M1640: Naturalization Petitions of the US District Court for the District of Maryland, 1906-1931. Index provided by Fold3.com.
The card index is arranged alphabetically by surname. It 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.
The naturalization volumes vary in size and format. Prior to 1906, each document was usually handwritten on one page. From the late 1800s and on, printed forms were used. After 1906, many entries were typewritten. 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. Naturalization is the process of granting citizenship privileges and responsibilities to foreign-born residents. New York’s counties recorded naturalization procedures in the court records as legal proof of citizenship. The courts handling naturalizations changed several times so the card index was created as a way to quickly access specific records.
What Can these Records Tell Me?
Cards contain only the following information:
- Petition number
- Date of petition
- Volume and page number of the petition
Cards may include the following additional information:
- Declaration number
- Date of declaration
- Volume and page number of the declaration
- Certification number
- Date of issuance
A Declaration of Intent and Naturalization includes the following:
- Date of Declaration of Intent
- Full name and age of declarant
- Date and place of birth
- Current residence
- Date of arrival and port of entry, including name of ship
- Occupation and race
- Physical description
- Last foreign residence
- Marital status
- Spouse's name with date and place of birth
- Names of witnesses
- Name and signature of court official
Petitions for Naturalization may include the following:
- Name of petitioner
- Current residence and occupation
- Birth date and place of petitioner
- Date and place of emigration
- Date and port of entry in U. S. including name of ship
- Marital status
- Wife's maiden name
- Number of children
- Birth date and place of spouse
- Names of witnesses
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 approximate date and place of naturalization
If you do not know this information, check the 1900 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.
Search the Index
Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
- Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
- Click Search to show possible matches
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.
|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/1854313|
What Do I Do Next?
I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?
- Use the information to find other records such as emigrations, port records, and ship’s manifests.
- 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.
- Learn foreign and “Americanized” names
- Learn the place of origin and find church and vital records such as birth, baptism, marriage, and death records. Also search for military, land and probate records.
- Use the information to find additional family members in censuses.
- 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. Indexes and transcriptions may not include all the data found in the original records. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
- If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relatives that can be verified by records.
- 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.
- Try variant spellings of your ancestor’s name.
- 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 Maryland, United States Genealogy.
- Search in the FamilySearch Library 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.
- "Maryland, Naturalization Petitions 1906-1931" Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing "Naturalization Petitions of the US District Court for the District of Maryland, 1906-1930." Fold3.com. http://www.fold3.com : n.d. NARA microfilm publication M1640. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):
How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
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