Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

Naturalization and Citizenship Records

The naturalization process consisted of two parts. First, a resident alien declared his intent, in court, to become a United States citizen at some future date. This was called the Declaration of Intention. Second, the individual renounced his allegiance to his home county and swore allegiance to the United States in a citizenship hearing at least two years after the declaration. After completing these requirements, he received the Certificate of Citizenship.

Before 1906

Examples of a pre-1906 Declaration
of Intent and Naturalization

Federal law outlined the naturalization process, but individual courts dictated many of the specifics. An individual could make the Declaration of Intention at any court in the nation; not necessarily to a court in his place of residence. The form varied somewhat from court to court but generally it provides the researcher with only minimal information: the individual's name, country of origin, and the names of two witnesses.

The individual could apply for citizenship two years later provided he had been a U.S. resident for five years and was a resident of the state or territory where the court was located for at least one year. There was no upper time limit to apply for citizenship. Those who had come to the U.S. as minors (whose parents were not naturalized) did not have to file a prior declaration of intention. At the citizenship hearing, the resident alien renounced his allegiance to his home country, witnesses swore to his worthiness of becoming a citizen, and he took an oath to the United States. The court issued a certificate of citizenship to the successful candidate indicating his name, country of origin, witnesses' names, and his sworn fidelity to the United States.

If an individual completed either part or all of this process in Utah, there are many courts to check prior to statehood (1896). Each county had a County Probate Court until 1896. There are also District Courts which served multiple counties. Furthermore, district court boundaries changed over time (see historical jurisdictions chart), so researchers may need to check the records of several district courts. The Utah Supreme Court's records should also be checked. If the residence of the individual is known, it is possible he filed in the most geographically convenient court, but there was no legal requirement to do so.

After 1906

Examples of post-1906 Declaration of Intent and Naturalization

In 1906 the federal Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (now U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) standardized naturalization procedures. This included providing the same forms for all the courts to use. These contain much more information than the earlier records. The declaration and naturalization forms not only include name and country of origin, but often age, occupation, marital status, immigration information, names of children, etc.

At this time, the individual was required by law to file with the court having jurisdiction over the area in which he lived, not just in any court in the country. The time frame was also narrowed. An individual had to declare his intent to become a citizen at least two years prior to applying for citizenship, but he could only apply for citizenship within seven years after the declaration. Therefore, checking for a Declaration of Intention first can narrow the search for the exact date of naturalization to five years.

Naturalization records are available from many Utah district courts up to the middle of the twentieth century. However, all naturalization records since 1906 have copies available from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. A Genealogy Program has now been established to handle requests for historical records dated from 1893 to about 1956. An index exists and may be searched for a fee. Requests for searches and copies of documents are made by mail or online.

For naturalization records after 1956, submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
National Records Center, FOIA/PA Office
P. O. Box 648010
Lee’s Summit, MO 64064-8010

If the individual was born more than 100 years ago however, the National Archives may have naturalization "Alien Files" created after 1956 as part of an ongoing transfer process.

Finally, if the individual was naturalized very recently, one may be able to request a Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document from USCIS. Submit Form N-565 which is available online at www.uscis.gov/n-565.

Exclusions and Exceptions

Various minority groups (e.g., Chinese, Blacks, Native Americans, Hawaiians) or immigration sources (such as Southern Europe) may not have been permitted citizenship, especially starting later in the 19th century. Though at time veterans were allow to waive parts of the process or wait less time.

  • 1882 - Chinese Exclusion Act, which would be extended in some form until 1902 (22 Stat. 58).
  • 1891 - Classes of persons denied right to immigrate to U.S.—insane, paupers, persons with contagious diseases, persons convicted of felonies or misdemeanors of moral turpitude, and polygamists (26 Stat. 1084)
  • 1900 - Hawaii Organic Act, granting U.S. citizenship to residents on or before August 12, 1898 (31 Stat. 141).
  • 1921 - Quota Act limiting immigration from each country based on population in 1910 Census (42 Stat. 5).
  • 1924 - Immigration Act with more limits, especially from Southern and Eastern Europe, plus Middle Easterners, East Asians, and Asian Indians (43 Stat. 153).
  • 1924 - Indian Citizenship Act, granting citizenship to all Native Americans born within the borders of United States (43 Stat. 253).
  • 1965 - "National quotas" replaced with "annual ceilings" for number of immigrants, strongly relying on family relationships for granting requisite visas for immigration (9 Stat. 911).

Women and Children

From 1855 to 1922, a married woman automatically assumed the citizenship of her husband; if an American woman married a foreign national, she lost her U.S. citizenship. Similarly, if a foreign national married a U.S. citizen, she automatically became a citizen. Her only documentation would be her marriage license and the naturalization (or birth) record of her husband.

With the passage of the Cable Act in 1922 women were allowed to naturalize on their own (42 Stat. 1021). A married women whose husband was a citizen did not need to file a Declaration of Intent. A woman who had lost her citizenship through marriage and regained it under the Cable Act could file to naturalize in any naturalization court. In 1936, Congress passed a new act allowing a woman who had lost her citizenship between 1907-1922 through marriage to a foreign national to take an oath of allegiance for citizenship to be restored.

From 1790 to 1940 children under the age of 21 automatically assumed citizenship with the naturalization of their father. Before 1906 names of minor children rarely appear on the declaration or petition forms. If there was no father who could naturalize himself and his family, a minor alien who had lived in the U.S. for at least five years could file the declaration and petition together before his 23rd birthday.

In 1929, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service began issuing a “Certificate of Derivative Citizenship” to women and children who had gained naturalization through the naturalization of their husband or father.

State Archives Holdings

Territorial Supreme Court | Territorial District Courts | Territorial Probate Courts | Statehood District Courts

The following are the principal naturalization holdings of the Utah State Archives. Record books include a full transcription of the declaration or naturalization record and are thus the most informative. Dates reflect holdings of the Utah State Archives in film and/or paper copy. Aside from the Utah State Archives, other records may still be held by the court or have been transferred to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Rocky Mountain branch of the National Archives holds some naturalization records for Second District Court: Weber County (ca. 1907-1913; 1930-), Third District Court: Salt Lake County (ca. 1930-), and Fourth District Court: Utah County (ca. 1939-), as well as some federal district court naturalization records from Utah.

Territorial Supreme Court
Declarations of Intention and Certificates of Citizenship Record Books, 1851-1895
(also includes some First District Court, 1852-1856 and Third District Court, 1859-1860)
Series 3942
Territorial District Courts (multiple counties, see historical jurisdiction)
First District Court
Declaration of Intention Record Books, 1880-1896 Series 85113
Certificates of Citizenship Record Book, 1890-1892 Series 83895
Second District Court
Declarations of Intention Record Books, 1874-1895 Series 85174
Certificates of Citizenship Record Book, 1878-1895 Series 85175
Third District Court
Declarations of Intention Record Books, 1869-1895 Series 85111
Certificates of Citizenship Record Books, 1880-1895 Series 85110
Fourth District Court
Declarations of Intention Record Books, 1878-1895 | online index Series 85169
Certificates of Citizenship Record Book, 1894-1896 Series 85170
Territorial Probate Courts
Beaver County Probate Court
Record Books, 1856-1897. Series 14893
Box Elder County Probate Court
Certificates of Citizenship Record Book, 1868-1869 | online index Series 85171
Iron County Probate Court
Minutes, 1853-1868. Series 17477
Millard County Probate Court
Minutes, 1854-1862. Series 26151
Salt Lake County Probate Court
Declarations of Intention and Certificates of Citizenship Record Books, 1858-1872 Series 85109
Sanpete County Probate Court and Sanpete County: Seventh District Court
Naturalization Records, 1859-1955 Series 15840
Sevier County Probate Court
Record book, 1865-1874. Series 23908
Weber County Probate Court
Declarations of Intention Record Book, 1860-1866 Series 20786
State District Courts
Beaver County, Fifth District Court
Declarations of Intention Record Books, 1896-1940 Series 85176
Naturalization Record Books, 1896-1940 Series 85177
Box Elder County, First District Court
Declarations of Intention Record Books, 1896-1929 Series 85172
Cache County, First District Court
Declarations of Intention Record Books, 1896-1929 Series 6176
Naturalization Record Books, 1896-1929 Series 85173
Davis County, Second District Court
Naturalization Record Books, 1902-1929 Series 11628
Naturalization Records, 1907-1938 Series 11804
Emery County, Seventh District Court
Naturalization Records, 1904-1942 Series 16856
Juab County, Fourth District Court
Naturalization Record Books, 1904-1958 Series 85178
Citizenship Certificate Stubs, 1908-1928 | online index Series 85180
Declarations of intention record books, 1896-1951 Series 85224
Millard County, Fifth District Court
Naturalization Record Book, 1896-1906 Series 83326
Piute County, Sixth District Court
Naturalization Records, 1896-1920 Series 18234
Salt Lake County, Third District Court
Declarations of Intention Record Books, 1896-1959 Series 85108
Naturalization Record Books, 1896-1929 Series 3573
Citizenship Certificate Stubs, 1907-1925 Series 85112
Sanpete County, Seventh District Court Probate Court
Naturalization Records, 1859-1955 Series 15840
Sevier County, Sixth District Court
Declaration of Intention Record Books, 1896-1929 Series 13476
Naturalization Record Books, 1896-1929 Series 13475
Wasatch County, Fourth District Court
Declarations of Intention, 1896-1935 and Naturalization Record Books, 1906-1935 Series 10146
Naturalization Record Books, 1896-1906 | online index Series 84156
Citizenship Certificate Stubs, 1907-1924 | online index Series 85182
Washington County, Fifth District Court
Naturalization Record Books, 1896-1940 Series 23595
Declarations of Intention Record Books, 1897-1939 Series 23596
Citizenship Certificate Stubs, 1913-1929 Series 23597
Wayne County, Sixth District Court
Naturalization Record Book, 1896-1902 Series 85225
Weber County, Second District Court
Declarations of Intention Record Books, 1906-1929 Series 83896
Naturalization Memorandum Books, 1906-1982 Series 83454
Naturalization Record Books, 1896-1939 Series 83892

Sources and Further Reading

"Citizenship Through Naturalization." U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 22 Jan. 2013. Web. 1 July 2015. <http://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/citizenship-through-naturalization>.

"Early American Immigration Policies." U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 26 Sept. 2013. Web. 1 July 2015. <http://www.uscis.gov/history-and-genealogy/our-history/agency-history/early-american-immigration-policies>.

Smith, Marian L. "'Any Woman Who Is Now or May Hereafter Be Married . . .' Women and Naturalization, Ca. 1802-1940." Prologue Magazine. National Archives and Records Administration, 1998. Web. 1 July 2015. <http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1998/summer/women-and-naturalization-1.html>.

Smith, Marian L. "'Any Woman Who Is Now or May Hereafter Be Married . . .' Women and Naturalization, Ca. 1802-1940, Part 2." Prologue Magazine. National Archives and Records Administration, 1998. Web. 1 July 2015. <http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1998/summer/women-and-naturalization-2.html>.

"Major United States Laws Relating to Immigration and Naturalization: 1790–2005." Citizenship Reference Reports. National Archives and Records Administration, 1 Nov. 2014. Web. 1 July 2015. <http://www.archives.gov/research/naturalization/420-major-immigration-laws.pdf>.

"Research Guide to Selected Bureau of Naturalization Case and Correspondence Files, 1906-1946." Citizenship Reference Reports. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 2013. Web. 1 July 2015. <http://www.archives.gov/research/naturalization/naturalization-files.pdf>.