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Genealogy and Local History Resources

Citizenship Records?

Naturalization is the legal procedure by which an alien becomes a citizen of the United States. Naturalization records may provide a vital link for tracing an ancestor to his or her country of origin and can be a rich source of information about the immigrant and his or her family.

Citizenship records are indexed by county and last name, and are found in the card catalog near the reception desk. There are two types of documents: Declaration of Intent and Petition for Citizenship. The index card will indicate which type of record we have. For Racine, we only have an index to the petitions, not the declaration. Declarations can be retrieved if the filing date or number is known. Each book of declarations has an index, so we may be able to find the declaration if the approximate date is known.

Women and Naturalization

Until 1922 women automatically achieved citizenship when their husband naturalized, or when they married a citizen. Likewise minor children automatically became citizens when their father naturalized. Since women could not vote until after 1919, many single women probably didn't bother to naturalize, as there was no practical reason to do so.

The Naturalization Index Card

The Index card should give you a Declaration or Petition number, the volume, and the page number if it's located in a bound volume. Note which type of document to look for (petition or declaration).

The "Loose" Document

Records from Kenosha before 1880 may be indexed, but have a designation of "loose". We don't have these records, but the index card can provide some information for researchers.

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