I haven’t had a lot of need for naturalization records. My mother’s family was mostly in the United States during the colonial era and the few that weren’t declared in the censuses that they hadn’t been naturalized. My father’s parents were both born in the United States as first generation Americans; their parents came from today’s Slovakia. One set of parents returned to Europe and the other stated that they had not been naturalized when asked by census takers.
However, one day I was poking around looking at types of New Jersey records available on line. I was quite surprised for Passaic County naturalization records to pop up and I was even more surprised to discover that digital images were posted!
I tried searching two family names on the Slovak side – Tidik and Scerbak – and both had hits. Tidik is a very uncommon surname, even in Slovakia. My grandmother’s sister, Mary, married Stephen Tidik in Slovakia and they had two sons by the time they emigrated to Passaic. Mary died of tuberculosis in 1926, so Stephen was seeking citizenship for himself and his sons. A one page image of his declaration in 1926 came up along with a six page file of his petition for citizenship.
My second surprise was that my grandfather was one of the men who signed as a character witness was my grandfather, George Sabo. George died when my father was only ten, in 1936, so I never knew him. The second man was Nick Patoray, a cousin.
This great find made me wonder what other places had free digital images of naturalization records – not images of an index, but of the actual records. I spent the morning searching all fifty states on line and came up with the following sites, all free with record images. Note that different time periods are covered and, in the case of the FamilySearch resources, statewide records often don’t cover every county. Also, many times, the FamilySearch collections are browsable without an index. Note that “New England” in this list covers all six New England states – Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
If you don’t find your county or state of interest in this list, don’t give up. More free digitized records are appearing on line almost on a daily basis. Also, just because you don’t see your “must have” county in this list, it doesn’t mean that records don’t exist. There may even be digitized indexes already available on line. This list is limited to sites that have posted the actual record images.
ID – Franklin County Naturalizations
New England – Area Wide FamilySearch Naturalization Images
OH – Statewide FamilySearch Naturalization Images
Summit County Naturalization Images