Research: Topics: Genealogy: Naturalization Records

I. Introduction

Naturalization and related records help document New York's ethnically and racially diverse population over the past three centuries. The records are useful for family history, because they indicate when immigrant ancestors arrived in America and became naturalized. Since 1790 naturalization proceedings have been a function of the federal government, which may be performed by either a state or federal court. Because of this delegation of responsibility to the states, records relating to naturalization are found in many repositories on several different levels of government federal, state, and local. This leaflet discusses colonial, state, and federal statutes and records that relate to the naturalization of alien residents of New York. It also discusses records of some related government functions; reception of immigrants by customs and immigration authorities; enablement of aliens to own land; and legal change of name of individuals.

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