Utah 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 nation of origin, his foreign and "Americanized" names, residence, and date of arrival. Information in post-1906 records is more detailed and may include birth dates, birth places, and other information about the immigrant and members of his family.
Naturalization in Territorial Utah
From the 1850s to 1874 immigrants in territorial Utah typically filed for naturalization in the probate courts. Due to problems between the federal government and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, most members went to probate courts because the judges were usually members of the Church, which made it easier to become citizens. From the 1850s to 1896 federal district courts were also used. Other courts, such as county courts, were occasionally used for the naturalization process.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who applied for naturalization during the 1870s and 1880s were often denied because of polygamy. This was seldom a problem after the Manifesto of 1890 when polygamy ended.
Naturalization Since 1896
Since 1896 most naturalizations have been processed by the state district courts or the United States District Court for the District of Utah.
State District Courts. State district courts naturalized immigrants from 1896 to about 1979. The records of these courts are located in the county clerk's office for each county or at the Utah State Archives. The Family History Library has copies of some records.
United States District Court for the District of Utah. The central division office of this court in Salt Lake City has naturalization court orders, petitions, and certificate stubs from 1898 to the present. This office maintains an incomplete but helpful index of their naturalization records from 1908 to the present.
To learn more about the different courts see Utah Court Records.
Copies of the district court naturalization records since 1906 have been sent to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly INS). The INS case files may include the original applications and may contain affidavits, copies of vital record certificates, photographs, emigration materials, and other information. To access these case files, use the Genealogy option at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service website.
The Family History Library has naturalization records for many counties and different courts. In some counties, the records from different courts are combined. There are two naturalization indexes for the most populated areas of the state. Both indexes cover several courts and several counties. The district courts usually covered more than one county. Check the Utah State Archives, Naturalization and Citizenship Records for the counties covered by the different district courts and the years covered.
The following covers several counties:
- 1860–1989 Utah. District Court. (Utah County). Naturalization Index. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1989. FHL film 1643939 and 1643989 The index is divided into two time periods, 1860–1940 and 1940–1989. This index contains naturalizations recorded in district court minutes, petition books, and probate minutes. Besides Utah county, Juab, Millard, and Emery counties are also covered.
- Utah. District Court. (Utah County). Court Minutes, 1852–1966. Provo, Utah: Utah County Microfilming Department, 1962–1966. FHL film 482920 (first of 18) Records of the First and Second Judicial District of the Territory of Utah are covered. The naturalization records are found in books until September 1948. Millard, Juab, and Green River (now Emery) counties' records are included until 1886.
Salt Lake County
- Utah. District Court. (Salt Lake County). Naturalization Records 1853–1936, Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah State Archives and Records Service 1980–1981, 1989–1990. (On 48 Family History Library films beginning with 1643989 item 3.) An index covering territorial and district courts from about 1858–1980 is on the first film in the series. It includes most northern Utah counties. Also in the series is declarations and petitions from 1851–1936. The territorial minutes indexed in this record are found in:
- Utah. District Court. (Salt Lake County). Court Minutes, 1858–1920. Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah State Archives and Records Service, 1981–1982. (On 33 Family History Library films beginning with 1670847.) These early minutes include naturalizations which are arranged chronologically in each volume.