Naturalization Record

The first paper filed when an immigrant enters the United States is the Declaration of Intention. When the immigrant has resided in the US and in the State or County for a required number of years, he/she can then petition the court for citizenship status by filing a Petition for Naturalization. The court then attempts to get a copy of the Declaration of Intent from the declarant or the State or County in which it was first filed, and the Certificate of Arrival. Witnesses are then subpoenaed to testify as to the character and residency of the petitioner. The court reviews the documents and testimonies and either awards citizenship status or denies the petition due to circumstances. Some denials can be related to the lack of witnesses, the petitioner does not appear in court, the petitioner has declared exemption from military service, or has committed a criminal offense.

These records are from Santa Barbara County Superior Court and date from 1852 forward. They contain the Petition for Naturalization and oath, Certificate of Arrival, Deposition of Witnesses, and Declaration of Intention. These original records will not be found anywhere else including the National Archives. These records are still in the process of being digitized and indexed by the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society. Naturalization Certificates are not included in the file but could be obtained from the US National Archives using the certificate number on the reverse side of the Petition near the oath.

Other Naturalization records include Repatriation Petition records. If a natural US-born female married an alien and lost her citizenship in 1907, she had to petition the court to become a citizen. Congress mandated that “any American woman who marries a foreigner shall take the nationality of her husband.” Upon marriage, regardless of where the couple resided, the woman’s legal identity morphed into her husband’s. The act was repealed in 1922, but if a woman felt she had lost her citizenship, she would petition for repatriation if her husband was eligible for citizenship, they had divorced, or he had died.

Search the naturalization records in our database here.

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