Wisconsin, Dane County Naturalization Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Wisconsin, Dane County Naturalization Records, 1887-1945 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Dane, Wisconsin, United States
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Flag of Wisconsin
US Locator Map Wisconsin Dane.PNG
Location of Dane County, Wisconsin
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Location of Wisconsin
Record Description
Record Type Naturalization
Collection years 1887-1945
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in the Collection?

The collection consists of images of naturalization records from Dane County, Wisconsin. The records include declarations (1887-1915), petitions (1906-1945), photographs (1841-1955), depositions (1910-1929) and certificate stubs (1907-1926). The records are arranged chronologically.

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 following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch .org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

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 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.

To Browse this Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Wisconsin, Dane County Naturalization Records, 1887-1945.

Collection Content

Sample Image

Be aware that immigrants could naturalize in any court that performed naturalizations including city, county, state and federal courts. As a result they often selected the most convenient court. If they lived in the Eastern District but worked elsewhere, they may have gone to a court closer to work.

To begin, look for naturalization records in the courts of the county or city where the immigrant lived. If the county has an index search it first. Next look for the petition (second papers), because they are usually easier to find in courts near where the immigrant eventually settled.

After 1906, the declaration can be filed with the petition as the immigrant was required to submit a copy when he submitted the petition.

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

They may include the following information:

  • Date of Declaration of Intent or Naturalization
  • Name of immigrant
  • Last foreign residence
  • Current residence
  • Date and place of birth
  • Age at time of declaration
  • Race
  • Marital status
  • Name of spouse, if married
  • Spouse's date if birth
  • Place and date of arrival
  • Names of two witnesses
  • Volume and page number of the petition

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor.
  • The approximate date of immigration.
  • The approximate date of naturalization.

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.


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 appropriate "Record Type, Year Range, and Volume Number" 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. 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.

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, 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.
  • 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?

  • 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 counties.

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:

"Wisconsin, Dane County Naturalization Records 1887-1945" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing State Historical Society, Madison.


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 Wisconsin, Dane County Naturalization Records, 1887-1945.


How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

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