An Index to Naturalization Records in the Greene County Circuit Court


EXHIBIT 1

Historical Summary of U.S. Naturalization Provisions1

Title,
Date of Act

Treaty of
Agreement

Legislative
Act

Court of
Records

Residence
requirement
in years

Years resident in state

Years resident
to declare intent

1740*

 

*

*

7

 

 

Eligibility: Free, white, males, 21 years old.

Comments: Declaration of intention required to own land; sacrament certificate required within 3 months before application. Could be naturalized in groups.

1776

*

 

 

 

 

 

Eligibility: All white residents of European descent born in the colonies or loyal to Revolutionary cause.

Comments: Several states passed their own naturalization laws: exceptions; Connecticut, Georgia, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania. Abolished 1790. States retained right to set local residence requirements. Statehood automatically conferred to citizenship in most states on all residents. 

1778

 

*

 

None

 

 

Eligibility: All free, white residents in all states have common U. S. citizenship.

1790

 

 

*

2

1

 

Eligibility: Free, white males 21 years old.

Comments: Loyal indentured servants residing in the colonies at the time of Revolution automatically citizens.

1795

 

 

*

5

1

3

Eligibility: Free, white males, 21 years old.

Comments: Wives and children automatically became citizens. Single women over twenty-one years could apply for citizenship.

1798

 

 

 

14

 

5

Comments: Revoked in 1802

1802

 

 

*

5

1

3

Eligibility: Free, white males, 21 years old.

Comments: Aliens to register with court on arrival. Repealed 1828. If alien dies after declaring intent, widow and children became citizens automatically. Those in military could become citizens after honorable discharge. Typical records created: unbound declarations of intention, sometimes called applications; proofs or residence; bound volumes of recorded declarations of intention; bound volumes of admissions to citizenship; certificates of naturalization; minute entry in court journal docket entries; indexes.

1808

 

*

 

 

 

 

Comments: Importaion of blacks prohibited.

1868

 

*

 

 

 

 

Eligibility: Blacks

Comments: Became citizens automatically when amendment passed.
Fourteenth Amendment to Constitution.

1882

 

*

 

 

 

 

Comments: Chinese excluded. Prior to 1868, among Chinese admitted to work on railroads, opium traffic became a problem.

1906*

 

 

*

5

1

2

Eligibility: Aliens must register at port of entry on arrival.

Comments: Application must record name, age, occupation, personal description, place of birth, last foreign residence, date of arrival, name of vessel, U. S. residence, marital status. Children under 18 years and wives become citizens automatically when man is natauralized.

1918

 

*

 

3

 

Waived

Eligibility: Resident aliens, Filipinos, Puerto Ricans with honorable discharge from military service; seamen aliens must file intent.

Comments: Automatic citizenship. Must appear in court with two written affidavits attesting character.

1922

 

 

 

3

 

Waived

Eligibility: Women, age 21 years, regardless of marital status.

Comments: Women do not gain or lose citizenship by marriage.

1924
Immigration Quota Act

 

 

*

5

1

 

Eligibility: Same as 1906, 1928, 1922

Comments: Specific numbers of immigrants admitted from each national group based on percent of 1920 population already resident. Aliens unable to support themselves to be deported.

1927

 

*

 

 

 

 

Eligibility: Residents of Virgin Islands born after 17 Jan. 1917.

1929
Alien Registration Act

 

*

 

5

 

Waived

Eligibility: Legal entry before 3 June 1921.

Comments: Certificates of entry issued on application with two character affidavits.

1931

 

*

 

 

 

 

Comments: Aliens who traffic in drugs could be deported.

1940

 

*

 

 

 

 

Eligibility: Aliens over 14 years of age. 

Comments: Registration at local post office required within 30 days of arrival, with fingerprints in duplicate. One copy of print attached to alien card.
Alien Registration Act of 1940.

1940*

 

*

 

 

 

 

Eligibility: American Indians given citizenship.

Comments: Extended definition of eligibility, procedures, punishments for non-compliance, entry documents, adjustments of quotas.
Nationality Act of 1940*

1941

 

 

*

Waived

 

Waived

Eligibilty: Honorable discharge from military service in World War I or II.

Comments: Two character affidavits, copy of discharge filed with court or record.

1943

 

*

 

 

 

 

Eligibility: Chinese given low quota.

1946

 

*

 

 

 

 

Eligibility: Filipinos, native of India given quotas.

1948
Displaced Persons Act

 

*

 

 

 

 

Eligibility: Persons and dependents fleeing persecution, must reside in occupied territory.

Comments: Granted legal entry and asylum at public expense. Must qualify with quotas. Some quotas waived.

1949

 

*

 

 

 

 

Eligibility: Mexican aliens admitted on work agreements with employers.

1952
Immigration and Nationality Act

 

 

 

5

1

 

Eligibility: Africans given quotas.

Comments: Quotas, entry documents, and photographs required; exclusion, registration, eligibility defined.

1953
Refugee Relief Act

 

*

 

 

 

 

Comments: Special nonquota visas granted to refugees, escapees, German expellees. Specific number for each national group.

1963

 

*

 

 

 

 

Comments: Noncertified copies can be made of all naturalization records.

 

Compiled from Darrell H. Smith, BUREAU OF NATURALIZATION (New York: AMS Reprints, 1926) before 1918; Gilmar G. Udell, NATURALIZATION LAWS (Washington D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1968) since 1918; and James C. Neagles and Lila Lee Neagles, LOCATING YOUR ANCESTOR: A GUIDE TO NATURALIZATION RECORDS (Logan, Utah: Everton Publishers, 1975).

1SOURCE: Arlene Eakle and Johni Cerny, eds., THE SOURCE; A GUIDEBOOK OF AMERICAN GENEALOGY (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing Company, 1984). Pp. 470-472


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