Washington, County Naturalization Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Washington, County Naturalization Records, 1850-1982 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Washington, United States
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Flag of Washington
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Location of Washington
Record Description
Record Type Naturalization
Collection years 1850-1982
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in the Collection?

This collection includes records of naturalization proceedings the years 1850 to 1982 from the following counties:

  • Pacific
  • Grays Harbor
  • King
  • Lewis
  • Wahkiakum
  • Clark
  • Lewis
  • Cowlitz

The records include petitions, declarations of intention, certificates, depositions and final papers. The records are arranged chronologically.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Washington, County Naturalization Records, 1850-1982.

Collection Content

Sample Image

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. 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.

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

The records may include any of the following information:

  • Name and age of petitioner
  • Current residence
  • Date and number of petition
  • Date and place of birth
  • Race, and last foreign residence
  • Date of arrival and port of entry
  • Marital status and name of spouse if married
  • Maiden name of wife
  • Date and place of birth of spouse
  • Date of Declaration of Intent or Naturalization
  • Volume and page number of petition
  • Names of two witnesses
  • Signature of judge or court official

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search, it is helpful to know at least some of the following:

  • The full name of your ancestor.
  • The birth date or place of your ancestor
  • The approximate immigration and naturalization dates.
  • The ancestor's Spouse's name
  • The age of your ancestor at the time of arrival
  • 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.

Compare the information on the image to what you already know about your ancestor to determine if it is the correct family or person. You may need to compare several images before you find your ancestor.


View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Pagethen:
⇒ Select the "County" category
⇒ Select the "Record Type, Date Range and Volume"


For 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 Washington, United States Genealogy.
  • Search in the Washington Archives and Libraries.

Known Issues with This Collection

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See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered


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:

"Washington, County Naturalization Records, 1850-1982." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing State Archives, Bellevue.

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 Washington, County Naturalization Records, 1850-1982.


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.