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Illinois Genealogy Resources

Naturalization Records

Naturalizations before 1906 could be filed in any court that maintained a record, whether a circuit, county, criminal, or probate court at any level -- local, state, or federal. County circuit courts in Illinois typically hold naturalization records prior to 1906.  Some of these are held by the Family History Library and the Illinois Regional Archives System. Early Cook County naturalization files were destroyed in the Chicago Fire of 1871. Most naturalization documents from 1906, when the federal government standardized the process, are at the U.S. District Court. Many indexed records to 1950 are at the National Archives Great Lakes Region. For Illinois there is a soundex index available on microfilm from the National Archives (Microfilm Publication M1285)...

Soundex Index to Naturalization Petitions for the United States District and Circuit Courts, Northern District of Illinois, and Immigration & Naturalization Service District 9, 1840-1950

It is a card index of 1,000,000 names of people recorded in many courts of the old Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) District 9, which comprised the northern third of Illinois, northwestern Indiana, southern and eastern Wisconsin, and eastern Iowa. This record indexes both civil and military petitions for the U.S. District and circuit courts for the Northern District, Eastern Division of Illinois, the circuit, county, criminal and superior courts of Cook County, Illinois, and the county and municipal courts. It covers the following Illinois counties: Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Champaign, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Ford, Fulton, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Livingston, Marshall, McHenry, McLean, Mercer, Ogle, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Stephenson, Tazewell, Vermilion, Warren, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago, and Woodford.

Various types of records were created during the naturalization process, including declarations of intention, petitions for naturalization, oaths of allegiance, and certificates of naturalization and citizenship. Each record can give details about a person, such as age, residence, country or city of origin, ethnic background, the date and port of arrival, the name of the ship, names of spouse and children with their birth dates and places, or current address.

Records for earlier years usually contain less information than those after 1906, when the federal court system for naturalization was revised and details such as birth date and place, physical description, and marital status may be given.

If a person lived in or near Chicago or other cities where the U.S. courts convened, naturalization records may be found in the U.S. district or circuit courts. For the rural areas of Illinois, naturalizations were more likely recorded by the circuit court clerk in each county. IRAD depositories have naturalization records for circuit, county, and municipal courts from many counties.