Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Exploring the U.S. Naturalization Records Indexes

I recently began searching a bit in the U.S. Naturalization Records Indexes on Ancestry.  I was somewhat expecting not to find my ancestors in the index, simply because it was previously believed that many of them never went through the process of becoming naturalized citizens.  Yet again it's been proven - don't believe everything you hear!

I first searched for Walter Leeming, my 2nd great grandfather who I knew came to the US (via Canada) in 1899, according to the 1900 US census.

I found Walter's card easily and then began to search for the other members of his family, some of whom were born in England, others in Canada.

I quickly found another record, this one for Walter's oldest son, John Edward Leeming, who was also born in England.  Note the dates on these two records are the same.   Father and son became citizens together, with the same witnesses.

I next turned my attention to another 2nd great grandfather, George Roe.  With many spelling variations (Row, Rowe, Wroe) on various records, I had much trouble finding George in passenger arrival lists but managed to find him in this index without a problem.

Note that George's card appears to be incomplete.  After speaking with a nice employee at the NARA in Waltham, MA, I learned that George filed his declaration of intention (also called First Papers) in the Albany County Court on 8 August 1898, and his petition in Adams on 30 Mar 1901.  He did not appear in court to complete the process.

The NARA offers copies of the naturalization documents for $7.50.  I have ordered copies of the documents for Walter and John and will post them in a follow-up later this week.


  1. I keyed hundreds of these cards. They are a great resource and include so much information.

  2. You found such clear images with great information. My ancestors came to the U.S. and filed papers during the 1860s and 1870s when they were filed at the county level so I haven't looked at the Ancestry index.