Completing the Naturalization Process
When a person was finally naturalized, they had to appear before a court. The court heard witness testimonials to see if a person met the qualities required regarding character and residence. If a person’s petition was granted, they had to take an oath swearing their allegiance to the United States. The court would then grant them a final certificate of naturalization, which was sometimes known as an order of naturalization.
Final orders of naturalization were typically recorded in an order or minute book. Also, naturalization forms or records prior to that year varied greatly in different courts, counties, states, and years.
There are also specific rules you should understand about women and their citizenship before you do research into your family’s immigration to the United States. For example, women who married American citizens between 1855 and 1922 became U.S. citizens automatically. Also, women could gain citizenship if their husbands or fathers gained citizenship. That process was known as derivative citizenship. It was discontinued in 1922 and women who were at least 21 years old were able to become naturalized citizens on their own.
Before 1922, married women were also not allowed to be naturalized unless their husbands were naturalized. However, they could become naturalized after getting divorced or becoming widows. Single women generally didn’t become naturalized prior to 1922. Although, some did.
Here are some other notable facts about he naturalization process for different groups of people:
Minors were automatically made citizens when their parents gained U.S. citizenship.
Former slaves became citizens thanks to the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S Constitution, which was passed in 1868.
Laws passed in 1887 and 1924 made American Indians citizens of the United States.
Those from Eastern and Southern Asia, such as the Japanese and Chinese, were not allowed to become U.S. citizens from 1882 to 1943.
Aliens who served in the military could get expedited naturalization services. For the army, that process began in 1862. Navy veterans had access to expedited service as of 1894. Enlisted people didn’t get access to expedited service until 1918.
There are duplicate records for naturalized citizens available at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). However, only records from after 1906 are available there.