Ohio, County Naturalization Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Ohio, County Naturalization Records, 1800-1977 .
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Ohio, United States
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Flag of Ohio
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Location of Ohio
Record Description
Record Type Naturalization Records
Collection years 1800-1977
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites

What is in the Collection?

The collection consists of images of naturalization records from county courthouses in Ohio for the years 1800 to 1977. The record content and time period varies by county. Some counties have indexes that cover years later than 1954.

Naturalization is the process of granting citizenship privileges and responsibilities to foreign-born residents. 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 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.

Collection Content

Sample Image

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

Information found in this collection may include:

  • Full name of petitioner
  • Name of court
  • Date of emigration
  • Place of residence
  • Occupation
  • Date and place of birth
  • Date of declaration
  • Date of marriage
  • Spouse's full name (usually a woman's maiden name is given)
  • Spouse's date and place of birth
  • Names of children and their places of birth
  • Name of judge
  • Names of witnesses

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 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. If your ancestor naturalized before 1900, check the census records to see when he or she first appeared in the census. This will give you a 10 year window in which they may have immigrated.

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in the requested information on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

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 "County"
⇒Select the "Record Type, Year Range, and Volume" which takes you to the images.

As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.

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.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

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.
  • Look for the Declaration of Intent soon after the immigrant arrived, 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.

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

  • Check for variant spellings. Realize that the indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings and misinterpretations.
  • Look for an index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the naturalization records year by year.
  • Search the indexes of nearby counties.
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Don't overlook FHL Place United States, Ohio items or FHL Keyword Ohio items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see Ohio Archives and Libraries.

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:

"Ohio, County Naturalization Records, 1800-1977." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):
The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Ohio, County Naturalization Records, 1800-1977.
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 Ohio, County Naturalization Records, 1800-1977.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

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.