Massachusetts, Naturalization Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Massachusetts, Naturalization Records, 1906-1917
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Massachusetts, 
United States
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Record Description
Record Type Petitions for Admission to Citizenship
Record Group RG 21: Records of District Courts of the United States
Collection years 1906-1929
Microfilm Publication M1368. Petitions and Records of Naturalizations of the U.S.District and Circuit Courts of the District of Massachusetts. 330 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 595176 Searchable Content
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
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National Archives and Records Administration


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

Petitions for admission to citizenship and records of naturalization from the U.S. District and Circuit of Massachusetts for the period, Sept. 1906- April 3,1917 covering volumes 1 to 92. The collection is part of Record Group 21 Records of the United States District Courts of the United States and is National Archives microfilm publication M1368 Petitions and Records of Naturalizations of the U.S. District and Circuit Courts of the District of Massachusetts, 1906-1929, 330 rolls. The collection includes military naturalization petitions from Camp Devens and the Boston area.

The records are arranged by the date the petition was filed.

  • U.S. District Court Petitions, September, 1906-June, 1929, vols. 1-425,rolls, 1-309. This series also included military petitions from Camp Devens and the Boston area, vols. 130A-145
  • U.S. District Court Military Petitions, January-July 1919, rolls 310-317
  • U.S. Circuit Court Petitions, October, 1906-December, 1911, rolls 318-330


Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Massachusetts, Naturalization Records, 1906-1917.

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

The following information may be found in these records

Petition

  • Name of the petitioner
  • Residence
  • Country of birth
  • Place and date of arrival
  • Names of two witnesses
  • Petition number
  • Date of petition
  • Volume and page number of the petition

Declarations of Intent and Naturalization Petitions

  • Name of the immigrant
  • Country of birth
  • Arrival date
  • Date of Declaration of Intent or Naturalization
  • Names of witnesses
  • Signature of judge or court official
  • Birth date
  • Birthplace
  • Age
  • Race
  • Last foreign residence
  • Current residence
  • Arrival place
  • Marital status
  • Name of spouse
  • Maiden name of wife
  • Birth date of spouse
  • Residence of spouse

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

The actual naturalization volumes vary in size and format. Prior to 1906 each document was usually handwritten on one page. From the late 1800s and on, printed forms were used. After 1906, many entries were typewritten.

While there were various types of naturalization records, the Declaration of Intent and Naturalization Petition usually had the most complete genealogical information.

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.

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.

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).

Naturalization records are generally well preserved, but some records may have been lost to fire or other disasters.

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

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • 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 or 1910 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 the Type of Register, Volume Number and Year Range 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]

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.

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

Use naturalization records to:

  • Learn an immigrant’s place of origin
  • Confirm their date of arrival
  • Find records in his or her country of origin such as emigrations, port records, or ship’s manifests
  • Look for the Declaration of Intent soon after the immigrant arrived, and then look for the Naturalization Petition five years later, when the residency requirement would have been met. Look for naturalization records in federal courts and then in state, county, or city courts
  • An individual may have filed the first and final papers in different courts and sometimes in a different state if the person moved. Immigrants who were younger than 18 when they arrived did not need to file a Declaration of Intent as part of the process
  • If your ancestor had a common name, be sure to look at all the entries for a name before you decide which is correct
  • Continue to search the naturalization records to identify siblings, parents, and other relatives in the same or other generations who may have naturalized in the same area or nearby
  • The witnesses named on naturalization records may have been older relatives of the person in the naturalization process. Search for their naturalizations
  • You may want to obtain the naturalization records of every person who shares your ancestor’s surname if they lived in the same county or nearby. You may not know how or if they are related, but the information could lead you to more information about your own ancestors

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

  • Check for variant spellings of the names
  • Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

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

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.

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