In 1906, the federal government standardized the naturalization forms and processes and began requiring the county courts to send copies of naturalizations to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). This means that there should be a federal copy of all post-1906 naturalization records, regardless of the court where the papers were filed.
After the county courts stopped granting citizenship in the 1970s, all naturalizations went through the federal courts. The Minnesota Historical Society does not have federal records. Historic records filed with federal courts in Minnesota are held by the National Archives regional offices in Chicago and Kansas City.
Modern citizenship records are held by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office, a part of the Department of Homeland Security. If you need an official copy of your own records, you should request a copy through their office.
Many collections of passenger lists have been published in book form. Most of these focus on a specific port of entry and/or a specific nation of origin. Some of the more popular sets are:
Other possible avenues of naturalization and immigration research include:
Some of these types of records can be searched through genealogy search websites like FamilySearch.org or Ancestry.com.
FamilySearch.org is a free site that can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection.
Ancestry.com is a paid, subscription site, and on-site Library visitors can access it through our subscription. Many other libraries also provide free access to Ancestry.com to their patrons.
Alien - A citizen of one country living in another country
Alien Registration - One of several efforts by state or federal governments to record information about all non-citizens, conducted during World War I and World War II
Declaration of Intent - First step to legal citizenship in the U.S., requiring the alien to declare his true intent to become a citizen and renounce his previous loyalties; also called "First Papers"
Derivative Citizenship - When a person's citizenship status is based on that of another person (children from their parents, for example).
Naturalization - Process by which an alien becomes a citizen
Petition for Naturalization - Final naturalization step in the U.S., requiring a formal application for legal citizenship ; also called "Final Papers"
Records of Naturalization and Oaths of Allegiance - Document that grants U.S. citizenship; also called the "Certificate of Naturalization"
SoundEx - An indexing system that allows simultaneous searching for names that sound similar, but are spelled differently
Visa - Official document allowing a non-citizen to enter the country, issued by U.S. embassies or consulates
Gale Family Library
Minnesota Historical Society Library
Located on the Second Floor of the Minnesota History Center
345 West Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
Thursday to Saturday: 10am to 4pm
Sunday to Wednesday: Closed