Series 3942
Territorial Supreme Court Declarations of intention and certificate of citizenship record books

Dates: i 1851-1895.

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These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.

Historical Note

An agency history is available.

Scope and Content

To become a citizen of the United States, an individual normally filed a "declaration of intention to become a citizen" at least two years prior to applying for citizenship. The next step was the naturalization hearing at which the candidate and witnesses either made oral statements or filed written petitions and affidavits attesting to the applicant's character, worthiness to become a citizen, and the validity of statements made to the court. If the judge found the applicant eligible to become a citizen, an oath was administered and the individual renounced his former citizenship. At this point a certificate of citizenship was issued documenting the fact.

These books contain copies, or rarely, originals, of the signed statements of individuals' intentions to become citizens of the United States (1851-1895). The first volume also contains a record of certificates of citizenship issued to newly naturalized citizens (1851-1869). The records were kept by the court clerk in volumes of preprinted forms.

The declarations of intention have blanks for the insertion of the individual's name, his former sovereign, date, and signatures of the individual and/or the court clerk witnessing the statement.

The certificates of citizenship which constitute the second half of volume A document aliens' applications for citizenship. Each form gives the date, applicant's name, ruler's name, names of those testifying, and a standardized summary of the procedures. The applicant swore that he had filed his declaration of intention to become a citizen, or if a minor when he entered the U.S., that it had been his intention for three years. Two U.S. citizens testified that the applicant had resided in the territory for a year and in the United States for at least four years prior to that. They further swore that he was of good moral character and attached to the principles of the U.S. Constitution. The applicant then took an oath to support the U.S. Constitution and renounced allegiance to any foreign sovereign, and particularly to the ruler whose subject he had been. The court clerk served as witness.

In the first volume, interspersed among the declarations and certificates recorded by the Supreme Court, are those recorded by the First District Court (1852-1856) and the Third District Court (1859-1860). The presence of these district court records probably results from the fact that the Supreme Court consisted, during the territorial period, of all of the district court judges sitting together. One of the judges may have recorded his district business in it as well.


Volumes are arranged chronologically. Entries are chronological except in volume A which is divided into declarations, certificates, and certificates for those who were under 18 at the time of entry into the United States; within the categories, entries are roughly chronological. The volumes are labeled alphabetically.

Related Records

Certificates of citizenship record books from the District Court (First District), Series 83895, of the 1st District Court contain most of the final naturalization records of that court for later territorial years.

Declarations of intention and certificates of citizenship record book from Salt Lake County (Utah). Probate Court, Series 85109, of the Salt Lake County Probate Court should be consulted for similar records as Salt Lake County was in both the 1st and 3rd districts as well as being the seat of the Supreme Court.

Certificates of citizenship record books from the District Court (Third District), Series 85110, Since an individual could apply for citizenship in any court during this period, series created by the other two district courts and individual county probate courts should also be consulted.

Declarations of intention record books from the District Court (Third District), Series 85111, of the 3rd District Court contain more declarations of intention recorded by that court during the territorial period prior to 1896.

Declarations of intention record books from the District Court (First District), Series 85113, of the 1st District Court record more declarations of intention for that court from 1884-1896.

Declarations of intention record books from the District Court (Fourth District), Series 85169, contain more records of the 1st and 3rd districts, 1880-1892 and 1878-1895 respectively, filed in Ogden when Weber County was in those districts.

Certificates of citizenship record books from Box Elder County (Utah). Probate Court, Series 85171, of the Box Elder County Probate Court should be consulted as the county was in the 1st and 3rd districts during the years the Supreme Court kept some records of those districts.

Access Restrictions

This series is classified as Public.

Preferred Citation

Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.

Processing Note

The volumes were microfilmed in 1981 and 1982. Archival processing was completed in 1989 by A.C. Cone. In July 2005, Volume D from this series was found in the office of the Utah Supreme Court. That record book was subsequently processed, microfilmed and added to this series by Jim Kichas in October 2005.

Finding Aids

Indexes: Volume A contains a name index. Volume C contains a name index for volumes B and C. Entries are alphabetical by the first letter of surname. , covering from August 23, 1851 thru 1893.

Indexing Terms

  • Declaration of intention—Utah.
  • Naturalization—Utah.
  • Emigration and immigration—Utah.
  • Citizenship—Utah.

Container List

1 1 Volume A; Index;
1 1 Volume A; Declarations of Intention; 1851 Sep 23 - 1873 May 29
1 1 Volume A; Citizenship Certificates, Adult; 1853 Nov 30 - 1869 Jul 20
1 1 Volume A; Citizenship Certificates, Minor; 1851 Oct 18 - 1869 Sep 06
2 1 Volume B; 1872 Oct 28 - 1876 Jan 01
2 1 Index to Volumes B and C;
2 1 Volume C; 1878 Aug 09 - 1893 Aug 19
3 1 Volume D; 1890 Sep 02 - 1896 Jan 02
2 1 Volume E; 1893 Sep 23 - 1895 Oct 30

Page Last Updated October 18, 2012.