Texas, Naturalization Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Texas Naturalization Index, 1898-1991  and Texas Naturalization Records, 1906-1989.
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Texas, United States
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Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Type Naturalization
Record Group RG 21: Records of District Courts of the United States
Collection years 1898-1991
National Archives Identifier 45097805661974424085 350
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in the Collection?

The collections consists of naturalization records for Dallas and San Antonio from the National Archives - Southwest Region. The collections are from Record Group 21 Records of District Courts of the United States.

U.S. District Court for the Dallas Division of the Northern District:

  • Index to petitions, 1908-1989, NAID 4509780
  • Declarations of intention from 1906 -1922, NAID 566197

U.S. District Court for the San Antonio Division of the Western District:

  • Index to petitions covers 1933-1985 NAID 4424085
You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Texas, Naturalization Records, 1906-1989.


You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Texas, Naturalization Records, 1906-1989.

Collection Content

Sample Images

Naturalization is the process of granting citizenship privileges and responsibilities to foreign-born residents. Counties recorded naturalization procedures in the court records as legal proof of citizenship. 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 index 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.

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

The information generally found in the indexes includes the following:

  • Name
  • Date
  • Volume
  • Document or page number

Declaration of Intent and Naturalization Petitions usually include the following:

  • Name of the immigrant
  • Date and place of birth
  • Port of departure
  • Name of ship
  • Port of entry and arrival date
  • Date of Declaration of Intent or Naturalization
  • Personal description of immigrant
  • Age, occupation and marital status of immigrant
  • Name of spouse
  • Last foreign residence
  • Current residence
  • Names of witnesses
  • Signature of judge or court official

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • 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 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 by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

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

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

With either search keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

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

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s naturalization 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?

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.
  • Indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings and misinterpretations.

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

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Try a different index if there is one for the years needed. You may also need to search the naturalization records year by year.
  • Search the indexes of nearby localities.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.


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:

"Texas, Naturalization Index, 1898-1991" & "Texas, Naturalization Records, 1906-1989." Database with Images. i>FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing National Archives and Records Administration, Southwest Region, Fort Worth, Texas.


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 Texas, Naturalization Records, 1906-1989.

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 Texas, Naturalization Records, 1906-1989.


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 Texas, Naturalization Records, 1906-1989.

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 Texas, Naturalization Records, 1906-1989.


How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

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