Vermont 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.
Various 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.
Naturalization records in Vermont were filed in the municipal courts, county courts, superior courts, district courts, and circuit courts.
- The National Archives Northeast Region (Boston) has applications filed in U.S. circuit and district courts from about 1842 to 1955.
- For naturalization records and indexes from state and federal courts available at the Family History Library (FHL), see Vermont - Naturalization and citizenship. Naturalization records held by a county or city court are identified by searching under the county or city name.
- Many Vermont naturalization records are available at the Vermont State Archives.
In the late 1930s, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) copied and indexed New England naturalization records for 1791 to 1906. The copies and index are at the National Archives Northeast Region (Boston). The National Archives in Washington, D.C., and the Family History Library have microfilm copies of the index:
- United States, Immigration and Naturalization Service. Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906. Washington, D.C.: The National Archives, 1983. FHL films 1429671-787.
Some of the records are more recent than 1906. The index gives the name and location of the court, the date of naturalization, and the volume and page number (or certificate number) of the naturalization record.
Also online at FamilySearch Historical Records. (Learn more.)
For naturalization records after September 1906, contact the National Archives Northeast Region (Boston) or access the Genealogy Program at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly INS).