2 Replies Latest reply on Aug 2, 2021 11:33 AM by Josette Schluter

    Seeking naturalization papers of William Hillebrand

    Julie Brundige Newbie

      Searching for my gg grandfather in naturalization papers. I found a petition for naturalization with some numbers on it, but how can I be sure this is him? What do those numbers mean? William Hillebrand was born in 1828 in Prussia and he resided in Michigan in 1860. Not sure where before that.

        • Re: Seeking naturalization papers of William Hillebrand
          Josette Schluter Scout

          Dear Ms. Brundige,

          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          The date that the Petition of Naturalization was issued can help to determine what the information included on the document is. Prior to September 27, 1906, any "court of record" (municipal, county, state, or Federal) could grant United States citizenship. Often petitioners went to the court most geographically convenient for them. As a general rule, the National Archives does not have naturalization records created in state or local courts. However, a few indexes and records have been donated to the National Archives from counties, states, and local courts. You should contact the National Archives at Chicago at chicago.archives@nara.gov that serves Michigan to determine if records from lower courts are available. In certain cases county court naturalization records maintained by the National Archives are available as microfilm publications.  Records from state and local courts are often at state archives or county historical societies, so you may wish to contact the Archives of Michigan email: archivesl@michigan.gov


          In most cases, the National Archives will not have a copy of the certificate of citizenship. Two copies of the certificate were created – one given to the petitioner as proof of citizenship, and one forwarded to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from [NARA Unit]. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          Not knowing which form you are viewing it is difficult to determine what particular numbers are on the document. Petitions of naturalization post-1906, usually included the petition number (at the top left corner of the form) and on the back if the petitioner was granted citizenship, then the certificate of naturalization number was documented. The courts did not retain a copy of the actual certificate of naturalization and so the number was recorded on the back of the petition.


          All INS records are now overseen by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS maintains duplicate copies of court records (including the certificate of citizenship) created from September 27, 1906 through March 31, 1956 within Certificate Files (C-Files). Beginning on April 1, 1956, INS began filing all naturalization records in a subject’s Alien File (A-File). C-Files and certain A-Files may be requested through the USCIS Genealogy Program.


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


          • Re: Seeking naturalization papers of William Hillebrand
            Susannah Brooks Pioneer

            Could you post the numbers?  Naturalization petitions from that time period give very little information about an individual.  If the naturalization took place in the county where he was living at the time, then it is probably your ancestor.  You can check the closest census to make certain that there was no other immigrant adult in the same county with the same name.