West Virginia Naturalization Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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West Virginia Naturalization Records, 1814-1991
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
West Virginia, 
United States
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Flag of West Virginia
US Locator West Virginia.png
Location of West Virginia
Record Description
Record Type Naturalization
Collection years 1814-1991
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
West Virginia County Clerks


What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

The collection consists of a variety of naturalization records for 32 of 55 West Virginia counties. The records cover the years 1814 to 1991. Records include the following:

  • Declarations of intention
  • Petitions
  • Oaths of allegiance
  • Certificates of naturalization
  • Registers of naturalizations granted and/or denied
  • Card files of naturalization
  • Naturalization orders
  • Lists of naturalized citizens
  • Naturalization dockets

Naturalization is the process of granting citizenship privileges and responsibilities to foreign-born residents. The counties recorded naturalization procedures in the court records as legal proof of citizenship. The courts with authority to deal with naturalizations changed several times so the card index was created as a way to quickly access specific records.

Naturalization to become a U.S. citizen was a two-part process: the Declaration of Intent to Naturalize, or First Papers, and the Naturalization Record (including the Naturalization Petition), or Final Papers. The First Papers were normally filed five years before the Final Papers because of the five-year residency requirement to become a citizen.

The first naturalization act was passed in 1802. Immigrants to the United States were not required to apply for citizenship. Of those who did apply, many did not complete the requirements for citizenship.

No centralized files existed before 1906. In 1906 federal forms replaced the various formats that had been used by the various courts. Copies were sent to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), creating a central file for naturalization papers. The INS is now known as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

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For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Year of immigration
  • Native country
  • Birth place
  • Birth date

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

Coverage Table[edit | edit source]

The following counties are included in this collection.

  • Barbour
  • Berkeley
  • Brooke
  • Clay
  • Fayette
  • Gilmer
  • Greenbrier
  • Hampshire
  • Hancock
  • Hardy
  • Harrison
  • Lewis
  • Logan
  • Marion
  • Mason
  • McDowell
  • Mineral
  • Mingo
  • Monongalia
  • Nicholas
  • Ohio
  • Pocahontas
  • Preston
  • Raleigh
  • Randolph
  • Roane
  • Summers
  • Tucker
  • Upshur
  • Wetzel
  • Wood
  • Wyoming

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • The full name of your ancestor
  • The approximate immigration and naturalization dates
  • The ancestor’s residence

If you do not know this information, check the 1900 census and then calculate the possible year of naturalization based on the date of immigration. The 1920 census may tell you the exact year of immigration or naturalization.

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name by visiting the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page

  1. Select County
  2. Select Record Type, Date Range and Volume to view the images

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Add the new information to your records
  • Use the information to find the person in other records
  • Analyze the entry to see if if provides additional clues to find other records of the person or their family

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor
  • Search the indexes of nearby localities
  • As with any index, transcription errors may occur. When at all possible, search in original documents

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of West Virginia.

Known Issues[edit | edit source]

Click here for a list of known issues with this collection.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.