Dear Ms. Blakeslee,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
There were no automatic naturalizations. The first law that military service impacted naturalization was during the Civil War. he first law that military service impacted naturalization was during the Civil War. An act of July 1862 stated that any alien age 21 or older who had enlisted (or may enlist) either through regular or volunteer service and had been (or would hereafter be) honorably discharged, could be admitted to become a citizen of the US upon his petition (without any previous declaration of intention or requirement to prove more than one year’s residency in the US). This means a veteran could expedite the process, but there would still be paperwork available through the court where the naturalization petition was filed.
Since 1790 naturalization proceedings have been a function of the federal government, which may be performed by either a state or federal court. Because of this delegation of responsibility to the states, records relating to naturalization are found in many repositories on several different levels of government federal, state, and local. Please see the New York State Archives’s page on Naturalization Records for more information about the naturalization processes over time as well as the various institutions that hold records concerning naturalization in the State of New York.
We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!
[Information provided in part by Elizabeth Burnes, Subject Matter Expert]