Pennsylvania Eastern District Naturalization Indexes (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Pennsylvania, Eastern District Naturalization Indexes, 1795-1952 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Pennsylvania, United States
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Record Description
Record Type Naturalization Indexes
Record Group RG 21: Records of the District Courts of the United States
Collection years 1795-1952
Microfilm Publication M1249. Indexes to Naturalization Petitions to the U.S. Circuit and District Courts for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania,1795-1931. 60 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 350
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in the Collection?

Three soundex card indexes to naturalization petitions and declarations of intention from the U.S. Circuit and District Courts for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The information typically includes the name of the individual, petition number, declaration number, birth date, date of petition or declaration, and occasionally other pieces of information: name variations, marriage information, etc. This collection corresponds to NARA M1248: Indexes to Naturalization Petitions to the U.S. Circuit and District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1795-1952 and is part of Record Group 21 Records of the District Courts of the United States.

  • 1795-1906, Rolls 1-8
  • 1906-1926, Rolls 9-36
  • 1926-1952, Rolls 37-60

The soundex index is a phonetic index that groups together names that sound alike but are spelled differently, for example, Stewart and Stuart. The index cards are filed according to the soundex number associated with each family name and then by given names. For more information on soundex indexes and help with coding names and using the index, see the Soundexwiki article.

“’Naturalization’” is a voluntary process through which immigrants can become American citizens. By becoming naturalized citizens, immigrants are granted the same rights, privileges and protections as natural born citizens. Before 1790, British immigrants were considered citizens of the British colonies in America, and later American citizens. Some Protestant immigrants from other European countries requested citizenship from civil authorities. After swearing allegiance, immigrants were generally granted citizenship. The process by which other immigrants could become citizens of the British Empire or the American colonies, and later American citizens, was handled by the individual colonies then states until 1906, when the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization standardized immigration laws and procedures. The general requirements for citizenship include residency in one U.S. state for one year and in the United States for five years. Naturalization papers are an important source of information about an immigrant's nation of origin, his foreign and “Americanized” names, residence, and date of arrival. Naturalization records were created to process naturalizations and keep track of immigrants in the United States. Naturalization records are generally reliable, but may occasionally be subject to error or falsification. Be sure to search all possible spellings for the surname of the person for whom you are looking. Think about how the surname was pronounced, and how it sounded in the immigrant’s probable accent. The surname may be spelled differently in records that were closer to your ancestor's immigration date.

To Browse this Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Pennsylvania Eastern District Naturalization Indexes, 1795-1952.

What Can these Records Tell Me?

Soundex index cards usually include the following:

  • Name
  • Birth place
  • Age, Gender, Occupation and Nationality
  • Last permanent residence
  • Final destination
  • Name and address of relative or friend
  • Arrival date and port of entry
  • Name of ship
  • Line number on passenger list
  • Volume, page number

Collection Content

Sample Image

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
  • At least one other piece of information

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.

  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page.

  1. Select Date Range
  2. Select Name Range

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?

Whenever possible, view the original records to verify the information and to find additional information that might not be reported. These pieces of information can lead you to additional records and family members.


I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Use the information to find other records such as emigrations, port records, ship’s manifests, birth, christening, census, and land records.
  • Learn foreign and “Americanized” names
  • Use the information to find additional family members.
  • 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.
  • 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 while searching the index or browsing through images.
  • 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 Pennsylvania, United States Genealogy.
  • Search in the Pennsylvania Archives and Libraries.
  • Search in the FamilySearch Library Catalog

Citing this Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection citation:

"Pennsylvania, Eastern District Naturalization Indexes, 1795-1952." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing NARA microfilm publication M1248. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

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 Pennsylvania Eastern District Naturalization Indexes, 1795-1952.


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 Pennsylvania Eastern District Naturalization Indexes, 1795-1952.


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