How do I find my ancestors naturalization papers?

I am looking for my Great Uncle’s naturalization papers. He was naturalized either before, during or after his service in WWI. He came with his mother (his father was already here) from Sicily, to Rochester, NY.  Thank you!

  • Dear Cachelle Guadagnino,

    Thank you for posting your request to History Hub!

    The National Archives has custody of any Naturalization records from Federal courts dated prior to October 1991.  If your Great Uncle was naturalized prior to September 1906, the naturalization could have taken place through a municipal, county, state, or federal court; any naturalizations after September 1906 was through Federal courts only.  Please consult our Online Naturalization Records, 1790-1995 guide in order to find where to search online for the Federal court records. The guide is organized alphabetically by state.

    The online databases found on the guide consist of Ancestry, Fold3, and Family Search. There may be a fee for using the Ancestry and Fold3 service, but Family Search is available for free with the creation of an account.  Ancestry and Fold3 may be accessed for free through a NARA facility or through any participating universities or public libraries.

    As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all National Archives research rooms nationwide, including those at Presidential Libraries, are closed to the public until further notice. Please check NARA’s web page about COVID-19 updates for the latest information. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.

    We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

    ****Edit: Naturalizations after September 1906 were not only through Federal courts.  Beginning on September 27, 1906, naturalization was encouraged to transfer to the Federal courts when US naturalization law imposed a fee structure.  It is possible that naturalization took place in a lower court from the early to mid 20th century, as it took time for lower courts to let go of the practice.  Over half of all naturalizations were done in state or local courts prior to 1926 and even some areas, such as Kansas, have naturalization petitions in local courts as recent as the 1980s.  I apologize for any confusion and would like to thank our Subject Matter Expert for immigrant records in Kansas City for pointing out my error.***

  • Thank you, for the information, Lori. I think my Great Uncle may have become naturalized for his service in WWI.  That is only a guess!!!  He was born August 7, 1891.


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