Monday, February 15, 2010

NARA Naturalization Records


A little-known genealogical dataset from the National Archives and Records Administration is the group of NARA naturalization record indexes that are available online, covering a period from the mid-19th to early 20th centuries.

These are name indexes, rather than actual records themselves.  They are neither huge nor comprehensive, but for those with family roots in the covered geographical areas, they are a useful resource.

The records generally show names, dates, and country of origin, and sometimes include very useful aka remarks, such as the alternative surnames shown here:


  • Ditondo     Angela     6/23/1936     Italy     aka Angela Yeradi, Ieradi

The largest name index looks to be for naturalization records from St. Paul Minnesota and surroundings.  You'll find a lot of Scandinavian, Prairie Home Companion-sounding names here, like Odmund, Herm, and Erithjof, along with a large number of European names, and smaller numbers from all over the world.

There are other online name indexes for:


In addition to the name indexes, there are a small number of actual naturalization records from NARA available online, includuing declarations of intention (to become naturalized as a U.S. citizen) and petitions for naturalization requesting citizenship.

Head to the Naturalization Page of ARC (the Archival Research Catalog) and click on a country of interest to see the actual records available.  Take note of the ARC search terms that are automatically used, as you can easily modify these to fine-tune the search, or to look for specific names.

Don't forget to also check for your family history at Ancestry.com and  NewspaperArchive. These are subscription databases, but they are among the most powerful research tools available for looking into family roots.

For finding someone, Intelius is the best people-search service on the web (but I'd suggest steering clear of their 'special offers').

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