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The earliest that your ancestors could have filed for naturalization (petition) would have been 5 years after their arrival in the US, assuming that they had remained in the US for the entire 5 year period. After 1906 naturalization petitions had to be filed through a federal court. Naturalization petitions for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which was located in Philadelphia are available on Ancestry.com, familysearch.org, and Fold3.com.
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Dear Mr. Lupo,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
As the previous poster mentioned, beginning on September 27, 1906, the responsibility for naturalization proceedings was transferred to the Federal courts. For access to the records of Federal courts in Pennsylvania, please contact the National Archives at Philadelphia (RE-PA) via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and request a search for his naturalization records by including the name of petitioner (including known variants); date of birth; approximate date of entry to the US; approximate date of naturalization; where the individual was residing at the time of naturalization (city/county/state); and country of origin.
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).
Certificates of citizenship were issued by the Federal courts until October 1991 when INS took over responsibility for naturalization proceedings. 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 since September 27, 1906 and may be requested through the USCIS Genealogy Program.
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 RE-PA. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.
We also suggest that you consult NARA’s Naturalization Records website for an overview of the naturalization process
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!
Hello Ms. Jensen,
WOW! Thank you so very much. I really appreciate it. It would great if I cold get such leads with my research in Italy. But I doubt it:)
Do you know the towns that they came from in Italy? Italian towns have both civil registration records and church records from the time period that they would have been in Italy. The Family History Center in Salt Lake City has digital or microfilm copies of the records from many towns. These records are available through familysearch.org (free website but you must register for a username & password) either at home or some only viewable at your local Family History Center.
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You can look at some of the columns on the census records to see if it indicated your grandparents were naturalized. This is a good place to start. Looking at the laws in effect at the time they would have naturalized will help you understand the process they faced. Sometimes people started the process and did not finish so you may not find all the documents possible. Some also start at the point they entered the US and finished in a county were they lived. So don't just concentrate on where they ended up living.
There are pre 1906 records to be found in county courts and typically they hold very limited information. When the process changed in 1906 the forms required more information. Some people finished their process quickly and some took years to finish. Make sure you look for name variances as not everyone could read and write the English language when they arrived. Also the people filing out the forms may not be a native speaker so the names can be spelled very different because of interpretation. Exhaust all possibilities of county and federal repositories.
Washington State Archives