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Naturalization & Immigration Records: Step 5: Other MN Records

Alien Registration Records

In February 1918, the Minnesota Commission of Public Safety passed the Alien Registration Act.  This legislation ordered all unnaturalized aliens to register and make sworn declarations about themselves, their immediate family members, and their property holdings.  This act allowed the Commission to gather information on all non-citizens during World War I, but it also encouraged many immigrants to start--or finish--the naturalization process.  

Each Alien Registration and Declaration of Holdings Form gives the following information:

  • Registrant’s name
  • Address and length of residence there
  • Age
  • Place and date of birth
  • Occupation
  • Marital status
  • Port of entry and date of arrival in the United States
  • Naturalization status
  • Names and ages of living children
  • A male registrant’s draft status
  • Names and relationships of male relatives participating in World War I and the country served
  • Information on the ownership, location, value, sale, and transfer of real and personal property (within and outside of Minnesota)

MHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (SAM 169)

Indexes:  Online index available from the Iron Range Research Center.   To search the online index, select "Alien Registration of 1918" from the Record Type dropdown menu before searching for a name.   

There is also a microfilm index in the Library filed as SAM 169-I.

Researchers can access the records in-person or through interlibrary loan.  The Library also offers a fee-based 1918 Alien Registration Records Research Request service.  



Americanization Survey Cards (Ramsey County)

In 1919, the Public Safety Commission’s Woman’s Committee of Ramsey County began conducting a survey of all families residing in St. Paul (including North St. Paul).  This survey was done in preparation for future Americanization work among the foreign-born and for each family, the cards list the household's address, church(es) and lodge(s) belonged to, and newspapers subscribed to.  For individuals, the following information was collected: 

  • name, age, sex
  • relation to the family
  • birthplace and race/nationality
  • number of years in the United States
  • physical defects
  • military service
  • citizenship status
  • whether speaks and writes English
  • other language(s)
  • marital status
  • birthplace of parents
  • name of school where attending English classes
  • whether has a library card
  • occupation and whether currently employed

The cards are organized by ward and then precinct number.  The survey is not complete; there are cards from St. Paul wards 1, 2, 5, 7, and 9 through 12, as well as North St. Paul.  

MHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (SAM 220: Public Safety Commission: Woman’s Committee of Ramsey County)

Other MN Records

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Useful Terms

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

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