Naturalizations, 1800-1991

RECORD GROUP: County Clerk
RECORD SERIES #: 3900
SERIES: Naturalizations
DATES: 1800-1991
VOLUME: 27 cubic feet; 4 record cartons, 64 manuscript boxes & 41 rolls of microfilm

Morrisey Declaration
 

***Click here to search the 1804-1906 Naturalizations database***
***Click here to search the 1907-1991 Naturalizations database***
***Click here to search the Naturalization Transfers database***
***Click here to search the Women’s Applications to take Oaths database***
***Click here to search the WWI Petitions for Naturalization database***
ABSTRACT

The free, online Naturalizations searchable indexes are available at Monmouth County Archives webpages:

Naturalization is a legal process by which a foreign born person can become a citizen of the United States. Three primary documents are part of the naturalization process: Declaration of Intention (commonly called “first papers”), Petition for Naturalization, and finally the Certificate of United States Citizenship or Naturalization.  For Monmouth County residents who applied locally, the Monmouth County Archives has some of these and other documents included in this process:

 

  • Declarations of Intention, 1819-1909, without Petition or Certificate
  • Declarations of Intention, Volumes 2-22, 1907-1942
  • Declarations of Intention, 1942-1991, microfilm only
  • Petitions for Naturalization, 1802-1991
  • Petitions for Naturalization, 1907-1991, microfilm only
  • Petitions for Naturalization, Military, 1918-1919, microfilm only
  • Petitions for Naturalization, not granted, 1884-1906
  • Witness Depositions, 1912-1944
  • Oaths of Allegiance, 1941-1981, microfilm only
  • Certificates of Arrival, 1920s
  • Certificates of Citizenship, 1802-1906
  • Certificates of Citizenship stubs, 1907-1925 and 1962-1991

The earliest naturalization in Monmouth County is for Luke Reily, who applied in 1798 and was granted citizenship in 1804.

HISTORY
Prior to the ratification of the U. S. Constitution, the granting of citizenship to aliens was regulated by the individual colonies. This decentralized system created a broad variation in citizenship policies. A citizen relocating from one colony to another was required to apply for citizenship within the new jurisdiction to be eligible for the benefits and privileges of that colony.

The Articles of Confederation, which provided guidelines for unification of the states, addressed the problematic issue of state vs. federal citizenship in Article IV by encouraging the states to “perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the United States in this Union.” Article IV also stated that all free citizens in the several States “shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States. . . .”  While the Founding Fathers, through the Articles, thus recognized the need for uniformity in laws governing the country’s citizens and in granting new citizenships, naturalization policy was not fully addressed until the Constitutional Convention in 1787. The purpose of the Convention was to formulate the laws which would govern the country. Included in the delegates’ agenda was the issue of citizenship, particularly laws governing naturalization of immigrants.

Political, social, and economic development of the new nation depended on immigration. While there was little doubt the country needed to encourage immigration, the conservative Federalists questioned whether aliens, after naturalization, should receive all the benefits and privileges of citizenship, including the rights to vote and hold office. Debates during the Constitutional Convention in 1787 continued for months regarding the length of residency requirements and the privileges of naturalized citizens.

The Convention resulted in the adoption of Chapter 8, Clause 4, into the Constitution. It authorized Congress to establish a “Uniform Rule of Naturalization.” Through this constitutional authority, the creation of the laws and regulations governing immigration and naturalization were finally placed under federal jurisdiction.

On March 26, 1790, Congress adopted its first policy regarding the citizenship issue, entitled, “An Act to establish an [sic] uniform Rule of Naturalization.” Through the 1790 Act, any free white alien, who had resided in the country for two years, could apply to become a citizen. The application was to be submitted to any common law court of record (Common Pleas or county court) within any state or territory in which the applicant resided for one year. The Clerk of the Court was required to record each naturalization in the court’s records.

Although the Act permitted women to be naturalized, few chose to do so (applications by women are not found in Monmouth County’s records until 1922). Until the Cable Act of September 1922, which established “independent citizenship for married women,” women were automatically naturalized through marriage. In March 1907, Congress declared that native-born American women, through their marriage to an alien, lost their citizenship. This law was also repealed by the Cable Act, which provided that such women could regain their citizenship by a simplified naturalization process including an Oath of Allegiance.

While the 1790 Act authorized the development of uniform guidelines and procedures, it did not provide a central agency to oversee the process. (Naturalization procedures were not centralized until 1906, when President Roosevelt established the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization). The lack of federal supervision left the states to devise their own methods and procedures.

The free-spirited, open door attitude toward whites began to change when European wars and political unrest created a wave of political refugees to the U.S. in the 1790s. Many Americans, especially the Federalists, considered this new breed of immigrant and their political theories a threat to the political future of the country. They proposed keeping the influx of immigrants to a minimum, extending residency requirements, and instituting strict guidelines regulating the granting of citizenship. The opposition argued that the proposal would discourage immigration and jeopardize future growth.

Compromise was reached through the Act of 1795 which raised the residency requirement to five years. In addition, applicants were required to declare their intention to become a citizen, at least three years before the actual naturalization, to any Supreme, Superior, District or Circuit Court of the state or territory in which the individual resided.

Only three years later, the political pendulum swung the other way through the “Naturalization Act of June 18, 1798.” In an attempt to control the number of French and Irish immigrants, the act increased the residency requirement to fourteen years and required a five-year interval between the declaration of intention and the final naturalization procedure. Clerks of the court were instructed to furnish the Secretary of State with each record of naturalization. All resident aliens were ordered to register and new aliens were required to register upon arrival.

Despite the increased barrier to citizenship, the Act of 1798 did not slow the number of immigrants to America and, by the turn of the century, a new administration had replaced the conservative Federalists. The Act of 1798 was repealed by the Naturalization Act of April 14, 1802, and reestablished the five-year residency requirement. In addition, declarations of intention were to be made three years prior to naturalization. Applicants also were required to take an oath of allegiance to the Constitution and to provide witnesses to attest to their good moral character. Declarations and naturalizations continued to be recorded “in any district or circuit court” or in any court having common law jurisdiction in the state where the alien resided.

Each subsequent law required additional statistical information concerning the immigrants. The “Steerage Act of March 2, 1819,” required that passenger lists or manifests of all arriving vessels be submitted to the Collector of Customs. Copies of the lists were sent to the Secretary of State, who reported the information to Congress.

The Act of May 26, 1824, permitted aliens who had arrived in the United States as minors to make their declaration of intention two years prior to their naturalization, rather than waiting the three years required for adults.

While the Act of 1790 attempted to make naturalization procedures standard throughout the states, early declarations of intentions and naturalizations contain varied information depending on laws and procedures in effect (See Scope and Content for additional information). To address this problem, the New Jersey General Assembly approved “An act concerning naturalization” on March 26, 1895, authorizing the use of a standard, detailed application form, which included the applicant’s name, occupation, home address, country of origin, date of birth, date and place of arrival, and the name and address of applicant’s witness. The act of legislation gave sole jurisdiction of granting citizenship to either the Supreme Court or county courts of Common Pleas.

Numerous laws enacted over the 19th and 20th centuries included restrictions on the importation of Chinese “coolies” (1862), criminals and prostitutes (1875), the naturalization of Chinese (1882), persons likely to become public charges (1885), anarchists (1903), and imbeciles, feeble-minded persons or any person with physical or mental defects or tuberculosis (1907). In May of 1921, the first quota system was established limiting the total number of immigrants of each nationality to 3% of the foreign-born persons of that nationality residing in the United States in the year 1910. The Immigration Act of May 26, 1924, considered the first permanent limitation on immigrants, based the total number of immigrants from each country on 2% of the number of foreign-born from that country residing in the United States in the year 1890.  It also included the Asian Exclusion Act, which barred Arabs, East Asians, and Indians, and severely limited Africans.  Those ineligible for citizenship could not to immigrate to the U.S.   The quota system remains in effect today, although there have been significant revisions and changes over the years, especially the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which opened the U.S. to immigrants from Asia (including India), and Africa, and 1990 legislation which increased the number of visas available for certain underrepresented countries.

While the laws changed, the basic application procedures, residency requirements, and courts of record remained the same. From 1800 to 1991, the recording and filing of records relating to naturalized citizens residing in the county was the responsibility of the county clerks, as clerks of the courts. In May 1991, all responsibilities relating to Declarations of Intent, naturalizations, and the granting of citizenship to aliens were removed from the county level and are now under the sole jurisdiction of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

SCOPE & CONTENT
The Monmouth County Clerk’s naturalization records cover the period 1800 to 1991 and include the following documents:

Declarations

  • Declarations of Intention, 1819-1909 (800 loose papers in Box No. 52), without Petition or Certificate
  • Declarations of Intention, 1895-1958 (25 volumes on microfilm)
  • Declarations of Intention, 1942-1991 are at Monmouth County Clerk’s Office in Market Yard, Freehold

Declarations of Intention, 1907-1942, Volumes 2-22 (6,578 in 20 volumes) as follows:

  • Volume   2, Declarations of Intention Nos.         1-300, (300), 1907-1911
  • Volume   3, Declarations of Intention Nos.     301-600, (300), 1911-1913
  • Volume   4, Declarations of Intention Nos.     601-900, (300), 1913-1916
  • Volume   5, Declarations of Intention Nos.   901-1400, (500), 1916-1917
  • Volume   6, Declarations of Intention Nos. 1401-1900, (500), 1917-1920
  • Volume   7, Declarations of Intention Nos. 1901-2400, (500), 1920-1922
  • Volume   8, Declarations of Intention Nos. 2401-2900, (500), 1922-1924
  • Volume   9, Declarations of Intention Nos. 2901-3400, (500), 1924-1925
  • Volume 10, Declarations of Intention Nos. 3401-3900, (500), 1925-1927
  • Volume 11, Declarations of Intention Nos. 3901-4000, (100), 1927-1928
  • Volume 12, Declarations of Intention Nos. 4001-4100, (100), 1928-1928
  • Volume 13, Declarations of Intention Nos. 4101-4200, (100), 1928-1928
  • Volume 14, Declarations of Intention Nos. 4201-4300, (100), 1928-1929
  • Volume 15, Declarations of Intention Nos. 4301-4600, (300), 1929-1931
  • Volume 16, Declarations of Intention Nos. 4601-4863, (262), 1931-1934
  • Volume 17, Declarations of Intention Nos. 4864-5091, (227), 1934-1936
  • Volume 18, Declarations of Intention Nos. 5092-5349, (257), 1936-1937
  • Volume 19, Declarations of Intention Nos. 5350-5660, (310), 1937-1939
  • Volume 20, Declarations of Intention Nos. 5661-5942, (281), 1940-1940
  • Volume 21, Declarations of Intention Nos. 5943-6345, (402), 1941-1941
  • Volume 22, Declarations of Intention Nos. 6345-6584, (239), 1942-1942

A few of the Declarations of Intention, 1907-1942, include a photograph of the applicant.

Commonly called “first papers,” a Declaration of Intention consists of an applicant’s formal oath of his or her “bona fide” intention to become a citizen, and a renunciation of all allegiances to any other foreign “Prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignty.” Information included on the declarations varied over time. Early declarations covering the period 1800 to 1850 state the name of applicant, date of birth, town and country of origin, place of residence at time of making the declaration, and the date of application. In most cases, a date and location of arrival in the country are mentioned. During the period 1850 to 1895, declarations provide only name, country of origin and date of application. Box 52 includes Declarations of Intention for individuals who declared their intent but for various reasons were not naturalized in Monmouth County.

By 1895, under the Act approved by the New Jersey General Assembly, declarations began to be recorded in volumes rather than on separate forms. Information provided within the volumes includes: name, age, occupation, color, height, weight, hair color, place of birth and date, and present residence. The date and location of departure, the name of the vessel, and date and place of arrival in the country is also included. Under the 1895 law, Declarations of Intention were also filed with the final naturalization papers. Both forms can be found within Naturalization, Volumes 1 through 61. This system continued until 1991.

Petitions

  • Petitions for Naturalization, 1802-1906, with Certificates of Naturalization (3,568 loose papers in 46 boxes)
  • Petitions for Naturalization, 1907-1981 (microfilm)
  • Petitions for Naturalization, not granted, 1884-1906 (5 boxes of loose papers)
  • Petitions for Naturalization, Military, 1918-1919 (1 roll of microfilm)

Certificates

  • Certificates of Naturalization, 1802-1906, with Petitions for Naturalization (3,568 loose papers in 46 boxes)
  • Certificate of Naturalization stubs, 1907-1925 (2,204 stubs in 8 boxes) and 1962-1991 (1 box)
  • Certificates of Naturalization, 1926-1961, are available through the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).

Nat Cert stub book cover
The Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization is the formal certificate granting citizenship to an alien. From 1808 to 1906, various formats were used in the final naturalization document. Information included in these early papers provides applicant, name and signature of witness attesting to the fact that he is well acquainted with the petitioner, and that the petitioner is a “man of good moral character.” The final section includes the applicant’s oath of allegiance and signature. Each naturalization certificate is numbered consecutively according to citizenships granted.

Beginning in 1907, standardized recording books were issued to the clerks of the courts by the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization. The Certificate of Naturalization volume consisted of two parts: the actual certificate, which was removed from the book; and a stub which contains the number of the certificate, name and age of applicant, date of declaration of intention, and the name and address of wife and minor children. The information also was recorded in Naturalization Volumes 1 through 61, which provide a more detailed description of the applicant, including age, town of birth, date, location of departure, name of vessel, and place and date of arrival in this country.

The U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor, Naturalization Service, Certificate of Naturalization Stubs, 1907-1925, are arranged chronologically. The stubs contain: date of Declaration of Intention, date of Petition for Naturalization, and the name, age and place of residence of wife and minor children.

 Volume #

 Certificate Stub Nos.

 Quantity 

Box #

 Years
3098 32426-32450 24 1 1907-1909
3428 40676-40700 24 1 1909-1910
7123 155101-155150 49 1 1910-1911
9083 230601-230650 49 1 1911-1912
10218 274351-274400 49 1 1912-1913
11571 332001-332050 49 1 1913-1914
11572 332051-332100 49 1 1914-1914
14811 471001-471050 49 2 1914-1915
17211 562501-562550 49 2 1915-1916
17212 562551-562600 49 2 1916-1916
19145 659201-659250 49 2 1916
19146 659251-659300 49 2 1916-1917
20445 724201-724250 49 2 1917-1918
20446 724251-724300 49 3 1918-1919
27218 1031851-1031900 49 3 1919
27228 1032351-1032400 49 3 1919
27229 1032401-1032450 49 3 1918
27518 1046851-1046900 49 3 1919
27524 1047151-1047200 49 3 1919
27596 1050751-1050800 49 4 1918-1919
27597 1050801-1050850 49 4 1919
27981 1070001-1070050 49 4 1919
27982 1070051-1070100 49 4 1919
28435 1092701-1092750 49 4 1919-1920
32822 1299051-1299100 49 5 1920
34635 1389701-1389750 49 5 1920
34636 1389751-1389800 49 5 1920
34637 1389801-1389850 49 5 1921
38524 1571151-1571200 49 5 1921
38525 1571201-1571250 49 5 1921
38526 1571251-1571300 49 6 1921-1922
38527 1571301-1571350 49 6 1922
41390 1701451-1701500 49 6 1922
41391 1701501-1701550 49 6 1922
44516 1844751-1844800 49 6 1922
44517 1844801-1844850 49 6 1923
45499 1893901-1893950 49 6 1923
45500 1893951-1894000 49 7 1924
45501 1894001-1894050 49 7 1924
48261 2019001-2019050 49 7 1924
50286 2120251-2120300 49 7 1924
50287 2120301-2120350 49 7 1924-1925
50288 2120351-2120400 49 8 1924
51600 2172951-2173000 49 8 1924
51601 2173001-2173050 49 8 1925
52613 2223601-2223650 49 8 1925

Certificate of Naturalization Stubs from 1962-1991 are arranged alphabetically by surname.
A-L No Numbers 1962-1991
M-Z No Numbers 1962-1991

Witness Depositions, 1912-1944 (4 boxes of 650 loose papers)
Witness depositions include name, age, occupation, residence, place of birth, number of years as a resident of the state and country, and general account of acquaintance with petitioner. Copies of all documents relating to the case were filed with the Clerk of the Court where the petitioner currently resided.

As established by law, aliens wishing to become citizens were required to fulfill certain requirements to obtain citizenship, including five years continuous residency requirement within one state or territory. In many cases, individuals were disqualified because they had, for whatever reasons, not lived within one state during the full five years. In order to accommodate these petitioners, the Act of 1906, Section 10, required that the alien establish proof of residency during the five-year period by providing written testimony of witnesses verifying the full periods of his or her residence. The depositions were filed with the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization and the United States Attorney in charge of naturalization proceedings. The final hearing was held by Naturalization District court.

Petitions for Naturalization, not granted, 1835-1931 [bulk 1884-1906] (318 loose papers in 5 boxes)
This small group of Petitions for Naturalizations not granted includes the petitioner’s application for citizenship to the Monmouth County Court of Common Pleas. The petition includes name of applicant, date and place of birth, date of arrival in the United States, occupation, and place of residence at time of application. In addition, the form contains the name, residence, and occupation of the applicant’s witness. These petitions do not indicate the reason citizenship was denied.

Petitions for Naturalization, Military 1918-1919 (281 loose papers on microfilm)
Military petitions for naturalization are numbered M1-M281, and are from Camp Alfred Vail in Little Silver or Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook in Middletown, New Jersey.

ACCESS RESTRICTIONS
There are no restrictions to the records in the Naturalization Series.

USE
Users may use the online search, request a search by mail, email or fax, or visit the Archives where copies can be made.  The entire series is available on microfilm. Currently, the original 20th century naturalization books are in the County Clerk’s office in Freehold. The Archives has copies on microfilm. There are two searchable indexes: 1804-1906 and 1907-1991.

ARRANGEMENT
Documents before January 1, 1907, Declarations of Intentions 1907-1942 and Witness Affidavits 1912-1944, are stored in the Archives and have been microfilmed. Other documents after 1907 are kept in the Clerk’s Office at Market Yard in Freehold; however, microfilmed copies are available in Archives.

  • Declarations of Intention, 1819-1906, are arranged alphabetically by surname.
  • Declarations of Intention, 1907-1942, are numbered in order and arranged chronologically.
  • Petitions for Naturalization, Military are on microfilm roll 29 and arranged chronologically.
  • Petitions for Naturalization, not granted, are arranged alphabetically by surname.
  • Petitions for Naturalization, 1802-1906 (with Certificates of Naturalization), are in “Naturalization” Boxes 1-46, and arranged alphabetically by surname.
  • Witness Depositions, 1912-1944, are in Record Cartons 53-56, and are arranged chronologically.
  • Certificates of Naturalization, (with Petition for Naturalization) 1802-1906 are in “Naturalization” Boxes 1-46, and arranged alphabetically by surname.
  • Certificates of Naturalization stubs, 1907-1925, in “Certificate” Boxes 1-8, are arranged chronologically.
  • Certificates of Naturalization stubs, 1962-1991, are arranged alphabetically by surname.
    Oaths of Office, Affidavit of Witnesses, Order of Court Admitting Petitioner are on the back page of the Petition for Naturalization, on microfilm, 1907-1981. Sometimes a separate Certificate of Arrival is microfilmed with the Petition for Naturalization.
  • Naturalizations not granted are arranged alphabetically by petitioner.
REPOSITORY
Monmouth County Archives
125 Symmes Drive
Manalapan, NJ 07726
Phone: 732-308-3771

ACQUISITION INFORMATION
This record series was transferred to the Monmouth County Archives by County Clerk Jane G. Clayton before December 31, 1993.

PROCESSING INFORMATION
The Naturalization Index, 1800-1907 of 5,444 records was completed by Archives staff before 1995.  The Naturalization Index, 1907-1991 of 29,233 records was completed in 2014 by Archives staff and volunteers. The Naturalization finding aid, prepared in 1994 by Mary Ann Kiernan and Gary D. Saretzky, was updated by George Joynson in 2014.

RELATED MATERIAL
The Archives also holds minute books for the Court of Common Pleas, which contain references to naturalizations. It is very likely that all naturalizations recorded in these minute books also are documented in the Naturalizations record series but this assumption has not been systematically verified. Certificates of Citizenship or Naturalization can be found at US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). Declarations of Intention and Petitions for Naturalization 1914-1982, through the Newark Office of US District Court of NJ, are available through National Archives in New York City. Immigrants living in the United States during the 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 and 1940 Census returns were asked for the status of their citizenship:

Na = naturalized citizen
Pa = first papers filed (Declaration of Intent)
Al = alien.

Naturalizations Container List
Box Contents Dates
Naturalization Stubs

1

Certificates of Naturalization Volume, stubs 1907-1914

2

Certificates of Naturalization Volume, stubs 1914-1918

3

Certificates of Naturalization Volume, stubs 1918-1919

4

Certificates of Naturalization Volume, stubs 1920-1920

5

Certificates of Naturalization Volume, stubs 1920-1921

6

Certificates of Naturalization Volume, stubs 1921-1924

7

Certificates of Naturalization Volume, stubs 1924-1925

8

Certificates of Naturalization Volume, stubs 1924-1925

9

Certificates of Naturalization, individual stubs, A-Z 1962-1991
Petitions, Certificates, Declarations

1-46

Petitions & Certificates for Naturalization, Nos. 1-3568 1802-1906

47

Common Pleas Petitions not granted A-E 1884-1906

48

Common Pleas Petitions not granted F-H 1884-1906

49

Common Pleas Petitions not granted I-M 1884-1906

50

Common Pleas Petitions not granted N-S 1884-1906

51

Common Pleas Petitions not granted T-Z 1884-1906

52

Declarations of Intent A-Z 1800-1911
Witness Depositions

53

Witness Depositions 160-1599 (record box) 1912-1922

54

Witness Depositions 1611-3294 (record box) 1922-1928

55

Witness Depositions 3303-4997 (record box) 1928-1938

56

Witness Depositions 5006-8001 (record box) 1938-1944
Declarations of Intent Volumes

No #

Declarations of Intent, Volume 2 1907-1911

No #

Declarations of Intent, Volume 3 1911-1913

No #

Declarations of Intent, Volume 4 1913-1916

No #

Declarations of Intent, Volume 5 1916-1917

No #

Declarations of Intent, Volume 6 1917-1920

No #

Declarations of Intent, Volume 7 1920-1922

No #

Declarations of Intent, Volume 8 1922-1924

No #

Declarations of Intent, Volume 1924-1925

No #

Declarations of Intent, Volume 10 1925-1927

No #

Declarations of Intent, Volumes 11, 12, 13, 14 1927-1929

No #

Declarations of Intent, Volume 15 1929-1931

No #

Declarations of Intent, Volume 16 1931-1934

No #

Declarations of Intent, Volume 17 1934-1936

No #

Declarations of Intent, Volume 18 1936-1937

No #

Declarations of Intent, Volume 19 1937-1939

No #

Declarations of Intent, Volume 20 1940-1940

No #

Declarations of Intent, Volume 21 1941-1941

No #

Declarations of Intent, Volume 22 1942-1942
Records Available on microfilm only at Archives
Microfilm only Declarations of Intention 1942-1991
Microfilm only Petitions for Naturalization 1907-1991
Microfilm only Petitions for Naturalization, Military 1918-1919
Microfilm only Oaths of Allegiance 1941-1981