Source Information

Ancestry.com. Ohio, Naturalization Petition and Record Books, 1888-1946 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data:

Naturalization Petition and Record Books for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, Cleveland, 1907–1946. NARA microfilm publication M1995, 260 rolls. Records of District Courts of the United States, Record Group 21. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

Ohio, Naturalization Petition and Record Books, 1907-1946.

About Ohio, Naturalization Petition and Record Books, 1888-1946

This database contains an index to naturalization records created in the United States District Court, Cleveland, 1888–1946, including certificates of arrival, Declarations of Intention, Petitions for Naturalization, and other documents.

The Naturalization Process

The act and procedure of becoming a citizen of a country is called naturalization. In the United States, from the time the first naturalization act was passed in 1790 until 1906, there were no uniform standards for naturalization records. After 1906 the vast majority of naturalizations took place in federal courts and used standardized forms.

The first step for an immigrant wanting to become a U.S. citizen was completing a Declaration of Intention. These papers are sometimes called First Papers because they are the first forms completed in the naturalization process. These papers were typically filled out fairly soon after an immigrant's arrival in America, though there were times when certain groups of individuals were exempt from this step, such as aliens enlisting for military service for the United States during World War I.

After the immigrant had completed these papers and met the residency requirement (which was usually five years), the individual could submit a Petition for Naturalization. Petitions are also known as Second or Final Papers because they are the next and last set of papers completed in the naturalization process. They include an oath of allegiance and, depending on the form, may also include affidavits or depositions of witnesses.

What You Can Find in the Records

Records indexed in this database include Declarations of Intention, Petitions for Naturalization, certificates of arrival, and other documents associated with the naturalization process. This index lists

  • name
  • birth country
  • year immigrated
  • naturalization year
  • court
  • document type

The documents themselves, which are available at Fold3, can provide numerous additional details.

Forms vary, but post-1906 Declarations of Intention may include

  • name
  • age
  • date of birth
  • place of birth
  • nationality
  • gender
  • physical description
  • spouse’s name
  • spouse’s birthplace
  • children (names, birth dates, birthplaces, residences)
  • occupation
  • former residence
  • current address/residence
  • ship/vessel name
  • port of arrival
  • date of arrival
  • event date
  • picture

Depending on the form, Petitions for Naturalization may include

  • name
  • age
  • date of birth
  • place of birth
  • nationality
  • current address/residence
  • marital status
  • gender
  • physical description
  • occupation
  • spouse’s name
  • marriage date and place
  • spouse’s date and place of birth
  • number of children
  • children’s names, gender, and dates and places of birth
  • date admitted into the U.S.
  • name change information
  • alien registration number
  • ship name or mode of arrival
  • port or place of arrival
  • date of arrival
  • event date
  • dates of residence in the U.S.
  • dates departed and returned to the U.S. during the residency requirement period
  • witnesses names

Certificates of arrival typically list

  • name
  • port of entry
  • date
  • vessel name or manner of arrival

Forms provided by witnesses can corroborate this information, and if your ancestor served as a witness, you may find a name, address, and occupation on the affidavit.

Much of the above information on the naturalization process was adapted from Loretto D. Szucs. They Became Americans: Finding Naturalization Records and Ethnic Origins (Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry, Inc., 1998).