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.
AvailabilityNaturalization records were generally filed in the circuit courts in each county. About 40 percent of the counties in Arkansas have pre-1906 records. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of the records for some of these counties. For residents of Little Rock (Pulaski County), for example, the library has declarations of intention and some final certificates, 1870 to 1918.
A statewide index to naturalization records of Arkansas was compiled by the Works Projects Administration for the years 1809-1906 FHL film 1730849. Copies of this index are at the National Archives Southwest Region (Ft. Worth), the Arkansas History Commission, and the U.S. District Court in Fort Smith, Arkansas, as well as the Family History Library.
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.