Arkansas Naturalization and Citizenship
Naturalization is the process of granting citizenship to foreign-born residents. Naturalization papers are an important source of information about an immigrant’s place of origin, his foreign and Americanized names, residence, and date of arrival.
Immigrants to the United States have never been required to apply for citizenship. Of those who applied, many did not complete the requirements for citizenship. Evidence that an immigrant completed citizenship requirements can be found in censuses, court minutes, homestead records, passports, voting registers, and military papers. Even if an immigrant ancestor did not complete the process and become a citizen, he may have filed a declaration. These declarations can be very helpful.
RecordsVarious types of records were created during the naturalization process, including declarations of intention, petitions for naturalization, oaths of allegiance and certificates of naturalization and citizenship. Each record can give details about a person, such as age, residence, country or city of origin, ethnic background, the date and port of arrival, the name of the ship, names of spouse and children with their birth dates and places, and previous residences or current address.
Records for earlier years usually contain less information than those after 1906, when the federal court system for naturalization was revised and details such as birth date and place, physical description, and marital status may be given.
About 40 percent of the counties in Arkansas have pre-1906 records. The following is a statewide index:
- Works Projects Administration. Index to Naturalization Records in Arkansas, 1809-1906. Washington, District of Columbia : Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service, [n.d.]. FHL film 1730849 At various libraries (WorldCat.
In 1906 the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) was created, forms were standardized, and duplicate records were created by the court and sent to the INS. To access these records, download a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) form from www.uscis.gov, fill it out and send it to the addresss listed on the form. You may also contact the National Archives Southwest Region (Ft. Worth) for naturalization records.