Pennsylvania Eastern District Petitions for Naturalization - FamilySearch Historical Records
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Pennsylvania, Eastern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1795-1931
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|Flag of the United States of America|
|US Flag 1777-1795 (13 stars)|
|National Archives and Records Administration Logo|
|Record Type||Naturalization Petitions|
|Record Group||RG 21: Records of the District Courts of the United States|
|Microfilm Publication||M1522. Naturalization Petitions for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania,1795-1930. 369 rolls.|
|National Archives Identifier||567321|
|National Archives and Records Administration|
- 1 What is in This Collection?
- 2 What Can These Records Tell Me?
- 3 Collection Content
- 4 How Do I Search This Collection?
- 5 What Do I Do Next?
- 6 Citing This Collection
What is in This Collection?
The records consist of naturalization petitions for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for the years 1795 to 1931. The records corresponds to NARA publication M1522 part of Record Group 21 Records of District Courts of the United States.
Naturalization is a voluntary process by which immigrants can become American citizens and receive the rights granted with citizenship. Before 1790, British immigrants were automatically considered citizens. Some Protestant immigrants from other counties swore allegiance and requested citizenship from civil authorities. The process by which foreign immigrants could become citizens of the British empire colony, and later American citizens, was handled by the individual states until 1906, when the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization standardized immigration laws and procedures. The general requirements for citizenship include residency in one U.S. state for one year and in the United States for five years.
Naturalization papers are an important source of information about an immigrant's nation of origin, his foreign and “Americanized” names, residence, and date of arrival. Naturalization records were created to process naturalizations and keep track of immigrants in the United States. Immigrants could naturalize in any court that performed naturalizations. That included city, county, state and federal courts. Begin by looking for naturalization records in the courts of the county or city where the immigrant lived. Look first for the petition (second papers), because they are usually easier to find in courts near where the immigant eventually settled. After 1906, the declaration can be filed with the petition as the immigrant was required to submit a copy when he submitted the petition. Because immigrants were allowed to naturalize in any court, they often selected the most convenient court. If they lived in the Eastern District but worked elsewhere, they may have gone to a court closer to work.
Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.
To Browse This Collection
|You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Pennsylvania, Eastern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1795-1931.|
What Can These Records Tell Me?
Before 1906, the information recorded on naturalization records differed widely and often didn't mention the immigrant's town of origin or parents' names. These records may contain:
- Arrival date and port of entry
- Name and age of immigrant
- Age of immigrant
- Current residence of immigrant
- Country of origin or allegiance
In 1906, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization was created and later renamed Immigration and Naturalization Services or INS. Some results included standardized forms throughout the country and copies of naturalization papers sent to the INS in addition to the court keeping a copy.
Naturalization records after 1906 contain more detailed information about the immigrants and their families. Possible information given in post-1906 naturalization records include:
- Name of declarant
- Date of Declaration of Intent
- Age and occupation of declarant
- Physical description of declarant
- Declarant's date and place of birth
- Declarant's marital status
- Spouse's name
- Spouse's date and place of birth
- Names of children
- Children's dates and places of birth
- Date of arrival and port of entry
- Name of ship
- Departure date and port of departure
- Current U. S. residence
- Last foreign address
How Do I Search This Collection?
Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:
- The name of your ancestor
- The approximate date of naturalization
Search the IndexSearch by name on the Collection Details Page.
- Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
- Click Search to show possible matches
View the Images
View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
- Select the Item description to view the images.
|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at Pennsylvania, Eastern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1795-1931. Some catalog records link to multiple references. In this case, click on a reference to find a camera icon to see images.|
How Do I Analyze the Results?
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?
Whenever possible, view the original records to verify the information and to find additional information that might not be reported. These pieces of information can lead you to additional records and family members.
I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?
- Add any new information to your records
- Use the information to find other records such as emigrations, port records, ship’s manifests, birth, christening, census, and land records
- Learn foreign and “Americanized” names
- Use the information to find additional family members in census records
- Search for land and probate records
- Search for vital records, such as birth, marriage, and death
I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?
- Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relatives
- If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality
- Standard spelling of names typically did not exist. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images
- Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names, or even initials
The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of Pennsylvania.
- Beginning Research in United States Naturalization Records
- Pennsylvania Guided Research
- Research Tips and Strategies
- Step-by-Step Research
Related Family History Library Holdings
- Pennsylvania. Supreme Court. Declarations of intention, 1832-1906.
- United States Circuit Court. Eastern District. Naturalization petitions and records, 1795-1911.
- United States District Court. Eastern District. Naturalization petitions, 1795-1931, and declarations, 1906-1931; index 1795-1928
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Citing This Collection
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The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
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