Naturalization means to admit to citizenship. In 1906 the forerunner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service was established; prior to this any local court of record could grant citizenship. This publication is an index of records generated by the Greene County Circuit Court in performing this function.
The Declaration of Intention and the Certification of Citizenship were the records produced during naturalization. The first step in becoming a citizen was to file a Declaration of Intention; the purpose being to test and verify the person's commitment to becoming a citizen and to the values of this country. It also focused attention on his or her behavior, so that the public could determine if it was appropriate. After the declaration was filed, the applicant had to wait three years before receiving citizenship. The second step was issuance by the court of the Certificate of Citizenship which was the record and proof that citizenship was granted. It contains the renunciation of allegiance to the native country, a statement of allegiance to the Constitution, and the oaths of two citizens regarding the person's good character and conduct.
This index contains five columns of information:
Column 1 gives the name of the person. When looking for the name of a specific person, keep spelling in mind. During this time period people spelled phonetically. Add to that the translation of a name into English by a court clerk who was undoubtedly not familiar with the original language. Handwriting also affected spellings, even the neatest script may have resulted in wrong interpretation of one or more letters in a name.
Column 2 lists the country of origin. Please keep in mind that throughout history some countries have ruled others, due to this a country may be listed several ways. One example is the numerous ways references for Great Britain are listed: Great Britain, England, Great Britain and Ireland, Ireland, and Scotland. Another, Norway, may also be listed as Norway/Sweden. Also, consider that many new countries have been founded since the turn of the century. Two examples found in this index, Austria and Hungary, were part of one empire until 1918. The opposite occurred when independent states became part of a new country, Wurttemberg, now a part of Germany, is one example. Reading even a short history of the country or region will clear up any further questions raised by the listed country of origin.
Column 3 gives the date of the document.
Column 4 gives the type of document.
Column 5 gives references to the source where the document can be found. They are written three different ways. One refers to a document which appears only in a record book. The first of this style of reference is P 191, P is the book and 191 is the page number. The reference for a book may also be a number (35 305) or two letters and a number (OB3 104). The second style, Orig., refers to documents in paper form. The third, uses an asterisk to indicate that the Archives has both a record book source and a paper record of the document (OB2 57*)
Exhibit 1 is a chart from The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. It is a summary of the history of naturalization. It documents various citizenship requirements.
Exhibit 2 contains paragraphs covering naturalization records in a pamphlet published by the National Archives and Records Service titled Genealogical Records In The National Archives. The paragraphs describe what naturalization records are available from the National Archives and how to obtain them.
Springfield-Greene County Library