Naturalization is the procedure by which an alien by birth is granted citizenship in a new country. Most U.S. citizens have ancestors who were naturalized; even Native Americans, considered a separate nation by the U.S. government, were naturalized in the early 1900s. Since naturalization records are scattered, this book will be essential for genealogists and other researchers who seek them.
Introductory matter lists types of data found in declarations of intentions, depositions, petitions, and certificates of naturalization. A brief history notes important U.S. naturalization laws and groups affected and discusses the special topics of Chinese and Japanese Americans and German and Italian Americans in World War II. Schaefer also notes alternative sources of citizenship information, including census schedules, homestead and passport applications, and military records, which can be checked if final naturalization papers cannot be found. Types of courts, records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, advice about how to obtain copies of records, and a reading list round out the introduction.
The main section is arranged alphabetically by state. A short paragraph notes important dates for territorial status and statehood, location of naturalization records, and alternative sources unique to each state. The bulk of each chapter covers statewide court and individual county records and resources in great detail. Included are name of court or county, type of record (declarations of intention, petitions, court minutes, naturalizations, immigration lists), format (original, microform, and/or book compilation), the Family History Library System or National Archives numbers, any available indexes, and special-use instructions. Addresses and phone numbers for major archives and libraries and a suggested reading list are provided for each state. For individual county courthouse addresses, readers will need to consult a separate directory.
There is a chapter on naturalization records in U.S. territories and possessions, an appendix on records of Native Americans, a glossary, and addresses of National Archives facilities. A sample form for requesting records is included in the appendix on Native Americans. Photographs and copies of original records add interest throughout the text.
The only other comparable title is Locating Your Immigrant Ancestor: A Guide to Naturalization Records (Everton, 1986). Most public and genealogical research libraries will want to acquire this more current guide.
It is an outstanding reference work."- --American Reference Books Annual (1998)
"Schaefer took on an extremely ambitious project. She has succeeded in bringing together an enormous amount of disparate information of practical use to researchers...It appears that the major portion of the book is accurate and reliable, and a credit to author and publisher." --NATIONAL GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY, Vol. 84, No. 4, pp. 113-115.