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IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION RECORDS

Have you been searching for years and wondered where can you find immigration and naturalization records for a family member that came to America? Or you finally found a single index card with name/s misspelled, or numbers printed in a corner but don't know how to find more information?  Or you found the Declaration of Intent or Petition for Naturalization, but not the Certificate of Naturalization. Where is it? Most of these records can be found at the National Archives!!

 

Keep in mind that immigration records to America are distinct from the naturalization process to become a legal US citizen. Some immigrants never become naturalize citizens. Plus, there are many laws that governed the naturalization process for immigrants in America during the 1800s and early 1900s, depending on whether they were head of household, spouse, or dependents.

 

Immigration Records at the National Archives:

Introduction · Immigration · Passenger Lists · Border Crossings Canada · Border Crossings Mexico

 

Naturalization Records at the National Archives:

Naturalization Intro, Process, Record Locations · Women · United States Customs Immigration Service

US Customs Service Records 1820-1891 · Records of the INS, 1891-1957 · FAQs

 

Most of the immigration and naturalization records have been microfilmed. Many copies of the microfilm are available at NARA's regional locations, so please check the location to see if one is near your home. It is also likely that many of the microfilm publications have been digitized and released on either Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org. The microfilm will be listed by title of the microfilm publication in the catalog, click on the publication title, then search for the ancestor. Original naturalization certificates were less likely to be microfilmed or digitized. Naturalization court records are located in state archives where the individual was naturalized or at National Archives regional locations that serve that area. Use this link and go to the bottom of the page to see potential naturalization record locations.