General Collection Information
For many immigrants starting a new life in North Dakota, the final step in the process of putting down roots was to apply for U.S. citizenship. This collection contains naturalization records between 1873 and 1952 for North Dakota residents pursuing U.S. citizenship. Records in the collection may include Oaths of Allegiance, Declarations of Intention, Petitions for Naturalization, and certificates of arrival.
The collection contains records of naturalizations filed in the state of North Dakota only; federal naturalizations filed by North Dakota citizens are not part of the collection.
Using this Collection
This collection may include the following information:
The collection is searchable by any of the recorded details. When using the “Browse this collection” function, you may come across blank pages in the registry. Clicking on the arrow to the right of the image will bring up the index images in alphabetical order.
When searching naturalization records, it’s important to keep in mind that many immigrants changed their names when they became citizens. Searching for both names or alternate spellings can make it easier to find your ancestor.
If you can’t find a record, try searching a different category in Ancestry’s U.S. Naturalization collection: https://www.ancestry.com/search/categories/us_naturalization/
History of the Collection
The U.S. naturalization process has evolved greatly since Congress passed the Naturalization Act of 1790. For nearly a century, only “free white person(s) of good character” could apply for citizenship. The Civil Rights act of 1866 gave citizenship to formerly enslaved persons, although Native Americans were still excluded. Asians born in the U.S. gained citizenship in 1898.
In 1906, the U.S. Congress passed the Basic Naturalization Act, which introduced the use of standardized naturalization forms. Finally, the Nationality Act of 1940 proclaimed all people born on U.S. soil to be citizens, regardless of ethnic background.
North Dakota’s naturalization records are housed at the State Archives of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
ND.gov. “Archives - Naturalization Records.” Last modified 2020. https://www.history.nd.gov/archives/datanaturalization.html
Smith, Marian L. “Race, Nationality, and Reality.” National Archives. Last modified Summer 2002, https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2002/summer/immigration-law-1.html U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. “History of the Oath of Allegiance” Last modified April 23, 2020, https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learn-about-citizenship/the-naturalization-interview-and-test/history-of-the-oath-of-allegiance U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. “History of the Certificate of Naturalization (1906-1956)” Last modified January 6, 2020, https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/our-history/history-office-and-library/featured-stories-from-the-uscis-history-office-and-library/history-of-the-certificate-of-naturalization-1906-1956