British Columbia Naturalization Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: British Columbia Naturalization Records, 1859-1926 .

Record Description

This collection will include records from 1859 to 1926.

These records will include naturalizations from the counties of Victoria and Cranbrook, British Columbia. They include applications, oaths of allegiance, naturalization certificates and other documents.

The Canadian Citizenship Act of January 1, 1947 introduced Canadian citizenship to Canada. Prior to that time Canadians who were born in the United Kingdom were considered British subjects.

Immigrants to Canada have never been required to apply for citizenship. Some nationalities were more likely to naturalize than others. Until 1947, settlers from Britain were considered citizens of Canada without needing to naturalize. Of those from other countries who applied, some 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.

British Columbia did not join Canada until 1871 so naturalization and citizenship were handled by the colonial government(s) before 1871. The earliest naturalization records are Oaths of Allegiance signed from 1859 and are in the British Columbia Archives.

For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"British Columbia, Naturalization Records, 1859-1926" Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013. Citing County Court. British Columbia Archives, Victoria.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

Application records usually contain the following information:

  • Name of immigrant
  • Date of immigration
  • Residence
  • Place of origin
  • Date of arrival in Canada

Oaths of allegiance records usually contain the following information:

  • Name of immigrant
  • Date of immigration
  • Residence
  • Years residing in Canada

Naturalization records usually contain the following information:

  • Name of immigrant
  • Occupation
  • Residence
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Date of immigration
  • Name of ship

After 1915 records may also include birth dates, birthplaces and other information about the immigrant and the immigrant’s family.

How to Use the Record

To begin your search in this collection, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Name of immigrant
  • County
  • Approximate year of residence

Search the Collection

To search the collection image by image select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page:
⇒ Select the appropriate "County"
⇒ Select the appropriate "Record Type, Box and File Numbers, and Years" category which will take you to the images.

Look at the images one by one 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.

Using the Information

  • Passenger arrival records can help you determine when an ancestor arrived and the port of departure.
  • They can also help identify family and community members who arrived together and the country they came from.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

If you are unable to find your ancestor’s name, you may find emigration information on neighbors of your ancestor. Neighbors from the British Isles or Europe often settled together in Canada. Canadians who went to the United States sometimes settled in groups.

There are very few passenger lists for ships coming into Canada before 1865. Lists were not made or were destroyed. The Library and Archives Canada website has posted an index of some lists that have survived. Some of these indexed names have been gathered from declarations of aliens and names of some Irish orphans.

General Information About These Records

There are indexes available in the Cranbook records. The indexes are located in the file folder, Index Box 1 to Box 9, 1905-1923. Find your ancestor's name and look for the box, file and folio numbers located by their name. This is the information you will use to find your ancestor in the collection. The numbers you are looking for are located at the bottom of each page.

Christopher J. P. Hanna developed an index to British Columbia Naturalizations from 1859-1882 [Title: BCARS, GR 1554, British Columbia Archives, no date of publication]. This is available at the British Columbia Genealogical Society Library or through other libraries.

A British Columbia Genealogical Society volunteer is indexing the earliest British Columbia naturalizations and this index is available on the British Columbia Genealogical Society's Research Projects web page and is being updated as indexing continues.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

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.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box. British Columbia, Naturalization Records, 1859-1926

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.