Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

Utah 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.

Examples of a pre-1906 Declaration
of Intent and Naturalization

Before 1906

Federal law outlined the naturalization process, but individual courts dictated many of the specifics. In many courts, much of the procedure was oral, particularly in the early years or in outlying regions. 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 had 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 you may need to check the records of several district courts. The Supreme Court's records should also be checked. If you know where an individual lived, it is possible that he filed in the most geographically convenient court, but remember that 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 Bureau of 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 the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. A Genealogy program has now been established to handle requests for historical records dated 1906-1956. Read the Genealogy Program Frequently Asked Questions for information on specific record types and services offered. An index exists and may be searched for a fee. Requests for searches and copies of documents are made by mail using forms available on the BCIS site.

For records after 1956, contact the appropriate field office with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. For example, Utah is:

Salt Lake City Field Office
5272 South College Drive, Suite 100
Salt Lake City, UT 84123

These records are set to be transferred to the U.S. National Archives, which should ease the request process in the future.

If you were naturalized more recently than that, you may be able to request a Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document from BCIS. Submit Form N-565 which is available online at www.uscis.gov/n-565.

Specific Groups

Various minorities (e.g., Chinese, Blacks, Native Americans, Hawaiians) were not permitted citizenship at various times. 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. After 1922, a married woman was required to meet the naturalization laws although no declaration of intention was needed and residency changed from five years to one.

Major changes following the Civil War affected immigration policy, including reduced residency requirements and exemptions from filing declarations of intention. Because of all these variants, it is important for you to become familiar with the naturalization laws in effect during your period of interest.

Further Information

The researcher may also wish to see information provided by the National Archives and by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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 portions may still be held by the court or have been transferred to the federal Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Rocky Mountain branch of the National Archives holds some naturalization records for the Second District Court-Weber County (ca. 1907-1913; 1930-), the Third District Court- Salt Lake County (ca. 1930-), and the Fourth District Court- Utah County (ca. 1939-), as well as some federal district court naturalization records from Utah.

Territorial Supreme Court (multiple counties)
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)
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 (Utah). 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 (Utah). Probate Court
Minutes, 1853-1868. Series 17477
Millard County (Utah). 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 (Utah). Probate Court
Record book, 1865-1874. Series 23908
Weber County Probate Court
Declarations of Intention Record Book, 1860-1866 Series 20786
Statehood 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