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:
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.
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:
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)
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