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 for Vermont have been filed primarily in county and district courts. You can obtain copies of declarations and petitions from the clerk of the appropriate court or from the Public Records Division in Montpelier. The Public Records Division and the National Archives-Northeast Region (Boston) also have naturalization records for the United States District Court, Vermont District, at Burlington, Chittenden County.
New England naturalization records for 1791 to 1906 were copied and indexed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the late 1930s. Some of the records are more recent than 1906. The copies and index are at the National Archives-Northeast Region (Boston). The original records remain in the courts. The National Archives in Washington, DC, 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. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M1299. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1983. (Family History Library films 1429671–787.) The Soundex index cards are arranged by state and then by name of the petitioner. The cards show the date of naturalization, the name and location of the court, and the volume and page or certificate number of the naturalization record. The index for Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire is on films 1429717–87.
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).
The Family History Library has copies of naturalization records for the counties of Rutland and Lamoille. They can be found in the Family History Library Catalog by using a Place Search under:
VERMONT, [COUNTY]- NATURALIZATION AND CITIZENSHIP
Vermont State Archives, Naturalization Records: http://vermont-archives.org/collect/pdf/naturalizations.pdf