Minnesota Naturalization and Citizenship
Naturalization is the process of granting citizenship privileges and responsibilities to foreign-born residents. Naturalization papers are an important source of information about an immigrant's place of origin, 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.
Various types of records were created during the naturalization process, including declarations of intention, petitions for naturalization, oaths of allegiance, and certificates of citizenship. Each record can give details such as a person’s age, residence, place of origin, date and port of arrival, name of the ship, spouse, children, and current address.
Naturalization records in Minnesota made before 1906 have no general index, although individual volumes from some courts may be indexed. Applications for citizenship are essential records to search in a state with so many immigrants. Even if an immigrant ancestor did not complete the process and become a citizen, he or she may have filed an application. These application records still exist and can be very helpful.
Naturalization records have been filed in the United States Circuit and District Courts, in the Minnesota Supreme Court, and in the county district courts in Minnesota. An index to Minnesota Supreme Court records is in:
- Pope, Wiley R. Minnesota Genealogical Index. St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Family Trees, 1984. (FHL book 973 D22p.) About 7,000 names of the 87,000 names in this index appear to be from naturalization by the Minnesota Supreme Court, books A–M, 1858–1910. The index lists volume, page number, and year of application. Some of the records are missing, but the surviving records are at the Minnesota Historical Society Library.
The Family History Library has naturalization records to 1911 or later for most federal circuit courts and district courts in Minnesota.
National Archives--Great Lakes Region
Federal courts existed in cities such as Minneapolis, St. Paul, Fergus Falls, Mankato, and Winona. Naturalization records from the United States circuit and district courts held at Duluth are found in: National Archives–Great Lakes Region (Chicago)
7558 South Pulaski Road
Chicago IL 60629
The Family History Library has records to 1906 or later for county district courts in six or seven counties. Naturalization records from district courts in all of Minnesota’s remaining counties have been transferred to the Minnesota Historical Society Library. As records are microfilmed there, the films become available from the Minnesota Historical Society through interlibrary loan to public libraries.
Published indexes to naturalization records of more than 45 Minnesota counties have been issued by the Range Genealogical Society. Most are available at the Minnesota Historical Society Library. Contact the Iron Range Research Center for more information.
Naturalization and citizenship records are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under: MINNESOTA – NATURALIZATION AND CITIZENSHIP MINNESOTA, [COUNTY] – NATURALIZATION AND CITIZENSHIP MINNESOTA, [COUNTY, [TOWN] – NATURALIZATION AND CITIZENSHIP
Minnesota Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2001.