This database represents those 8,265 naturalization’s indexed for the county of Elkhart in Indiana by the Friends of the Indiana State Archives. All naturalization records accessioned by the Archives are microfilmed and a portion of the information they contain is entered into a searchable database. The results of the database search will include the following fields: Surname, first name, nationality, date of arrival, and county book and page location. A complete naturalization record may be obtained by contacting the Archives.
In the nineteenth century and most of the twentieth century, naturalization was a three step process. First, one declared intention to naturalize, then petitioned for naturalization, and lastly, received a certificate or a court order granting citizenship.
Declarations and Petitions
The first two steps involved the submission of specific documents — declarations of intent and petitions — that the Archives now holds for some counties.
If the individual you are looking for is not listed in the database, it will be necessary to know the county or counties in which the naturalization process began.
Please note that many immigrants never completed the full process. In the nineteenth century, many states allowed their residents to buy land and work without obtaining full citizenship. In Indiana, one could purchase land, own a business, and vote with a declaration of intention.
After 1907, the federal government required state/local courts to issue standardized certificates of citizenship, to send duplicate copies of the certificates to the federal government, and to retain a certificate stub for their own court records. The Archives has certificate stubs for a few counties. These stubs are organized by date, not alphabetically; thus, a date of naturalization or a certificate number is imperative to locating any individual’s certificate stub.
Many counties recorded the final process on the back of the petitions; therefore an additional “final paper” will not be available in the Archives.
Elkhart County Indiana Naturalization Records
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*Note: These records do not include order books, which are held as permanent records by the counties. Post-1951 naturalization papers are stored at the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 425 Eye St., NW, Washington, DC 20536. Another helpful resource is the National Archives, Great Lakes Region, 7358 South Pulaski Road, Chicago, Illinois, 60629. Their collections include a name index of citizens naturalized in the Great Lakes region.