District Court (Third District : Salt Lake County) Declarations of intention record books
These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.
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 volumes contain only declarations of intention of individuals to become United States citizens.
In the declaration an applicant vows that he plans to later become a U.S. citizen and to renounce his current citizenship. The first volume contains preprinted forms which have blanks for the insertion of the individual's name, his sovereign, date, and signatures of the individual and the court clerks witnessing the statement.
Beginning in 1906, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization of the Department of Commerce and Labor (later the Naturalization Service of the U.S. Dept. of Labor) was to furnish the court clerks with the necessary blank forms. The forms were furnished in bound volumes as a court record. Each volume was to be indexed and the declarations numbered consecutively beginning with number 1 in volume 1. Loose sheets were also furnished so the duplicate copy could be given to the declarant and the triplicate copy mailed to the Bureau of Naturalization.
These forms contain blanks for the name and location of the court; the individual's name, age, occupation, color, complexion, height, weight, hair color, eye color, visible distinctive marks, birthplace, birthdate, and current residence; the location from which he emigrated to the United States and the vessel name; his last foreign residence; the name and title of the ruler to whom he would be renouncing allegiance; and the port and date of arrival in the United States.
By 1916, additional blanks were inserted to record his marital status, and if married, his wife's name (altered to allow for "spouse's name" after 1922 when married women could seek citizenship on their own instead of automatically assuming the nationality of their husbands), birthplace and birthdate. He was to take an oath that he was not an anarchist or polygamist, and that it was his intention to become a United States citizen and make the country his permanent residence. Blanks were provided for his signature and for the date and signatures of the court clerks who witnessed his oath.
By the 1930s, more blanks were added for sex, race, present nationality, marriage date and place, the number of children with their names, birthdate, birthplace, and residence; any previous declaration of intention, with number, location, and court; and his or her name at entry.
In 1941, the Immigration and Naturalization Service was moved to the U.S. Department of Justice. A sentence was added regarding any departures from the United States with a table in which to record dates of departure and return, the ports used, and the vessel name. The anti-polygamy clause was dropped from the oath, but the statement regarding anarchy was expanded.
In 1952, the filing of a declaration of intention became an optional rather than a mandatory step in naturalizations. By 1957, the forms were simplified to include name, residence, age, birthdate, birthplace, sex, complexion, eye color, hair color, height, weight, visible marks, citizenship, spouse name, admission place for permanent residence, name at entry, date, and ship name. The oath simply verified the accuracy of the form's completion and the individual's intention to become a citizen.
Chronological by date, thereunder numerical by entry number.
Naturalization record books from the District Court (Third District : Salt Lake County), Series 3573, record naturalizations for the county after statehood in 1896, to some of the same individuals whose declarations are filed in this series.
Declarations of intention and certificate of citizenship record books from the Territorial Supreme Court, Series 3942, of the Supreme Court may contain earlier declarations of Salt Lake County residents as the Court included records of the 1st and 3rd districts from 1852-1860 and Salt Lake County.
Declarations of intention and certificates of citizenship record book from Salt Lake County (Utah). Probate Court, Series 85109, from the Salt Lake County Probate Court contains declarations of Salt Lake county residents before statehood in 1896.
Citizenship certificate stubs from the District Court (Third District : Salt Lake County), Series 85112, often cite declarations of intention recorded in this series.
This series is available on microfilm.
This series is classified as Public.
Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.
Indexes: Most volumes have their own index. After volume 25 several are indexed only in a composite intentions/petitions index located in series 3573. Entries are alphabetical by the first letter of the individual's surname, covering from September 31, 1896 thru 1959.
- Declaration of intention--Utah--Salt Lake County.
- Naturalization--Utah--Salt Lake County.
- Emigration and immigration--Utah--Salt Lake County.
- Citizenship--Utah--Salt Lake County.
Page Last Updated October 18, 2012.