Virginia Naturalization and Citizenship
In the colonial era, the general assembly and the governor granted citizenship to aliens. Some of these records have been published in the sources listed in Virginia Public Records.
Later naturalization records could be filed in a city, county, state, or federal court. Naturalization information is usually found in the orders and minutes of the various local courts of Virginia that were kept by the county clerk in each courthouse.
Most of the surviving original county court record books before 1865 have been transferred to the Library of Virginia. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of most of these. They are listed in the Family History Library Catalog Place Search under VIRGINIA, [COUNTY] - COURT RECORDS. Copies of declarations, petitions, and certificates still at the county courthouse can be obtained by contacting the clerk's office.
Records of the Eastern U.S. District Court held at Richmond and Alexandria, and the Western U.S. District Court, held at Charlottesville and Big Stone Gap, are at the National Archives—Mid-Atlantic Region. The Family History Library has filmed naturalizations for the Eastern District for 1867-1938 and Western District for 1908-1929. The Library of Virginia has some U.S. court records for 1790-1861.
A good place to start colonial Virginia naturalizations searches is:
- Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt. Denizations and Naturalizations in the British Colonies in America, 1607-1775. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 2005. FHL Book 970 P4b
N.B. It was not necessary for British and Irish immigrants to Colonial America to become naturalized, as the colonies belonged to Great Britain.
Giuseppi published records found in England, which include Virginia references:
- Giuseppi, Montague S . Naturalizations of Foreign Protestants in the American and West Indian Colonies (Pursuant to Statute 13 George II, c. 7) . London: Huguenot Society Publishing , 1921 . Free Name Search; publisher's bookstore: Genealogical.com; FHL Book 972.92 P4gm 1964. Digital version at Ancestry ($) and through the FHLC link - free.
- Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt. "Naturalizations and Denizations in Colonial Virginia," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 73 (1985):109-116. Digital version at National Genealogical Society website ($); FHL Book 973 B2ng v. 73 (1985).
FamilySearch has begun to digitize its Virginia naturalization collection, see: Virginia Naturalization Petitions (FamilySearch Historical Records).
- Name Search at Genealogical.com is a comprehensive name index to 638 books and CDs published or reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Company (now Genealogical.com). For a complete list of the works included, see http://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Publications_in_Name_Search_at_Genealogical.com; Publications in Name Search at Genealogical.com]