Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 2010-08 > 1282427010
Subject: Re: [S-I] Registration records, 1798 Naturalization Act?
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 2010 21:43:30 +0000 (UTC)
In US naturalization research we use the records all the time. Most didn't register within 48 hours. They filed first papers eventually. In 1798 recall our relationship with the UK was very bad. We would soon have the war of 1812. At that time all British aliens were required to register. Those records are published in a book. The book is in Ancestry. There were not a lot of names. Most people who came here intended to stay. By joining the military or militia, they took an oath to the US government. Then I do not believe they were considered aliens (as we would think of it today). Thus many men's names are not in the oaths of allegiances (taken after the Revolution). Why? They took the oath in the militia or military already. Only those who hadn't done so took the oath after the war.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalization_Act_of_1798 for details and here for some info related to genealogy:
And here: http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/naturalization/naturalization.html
This act and the records are covered in all courses, books, etc, relating to US naturalization.
The gist of it is that one could be naturalized in almost any court in the land: local, state, and federal. A search for naturalization papers is often long. As you may know, there were three steps. Your best hope for details is the first papers. First papers were often filed in a different court from the final papers. Many early courthouse burned -- and so did their records.
The earlier you go the worse the records are.
I have done a number of searches in various counties at various times. It seems that usually people preferred to use the local county court rather than state or federal courts. In the one case I treked to Fayette County, PA to Uniontown. The courthouse had a room full of index cards. Using them I was able to find the records for the man I sought. There wasn't much there. However the witnesses are important. I knew this and embarked on a search for the naturalization of the man's witnesses. Both were first generation born in America Irish. Probably there was a family or community tie to the man I was researching. Having their names and info gives you three names to search for in Ireland in the same place: not one.
The early naturalization records for Allegheny Co are in a database on line for members at www.wpgs.org .
It's important to understand the laws (which changed periodically) relating to the naturalization of minors and women. Children were naturalized with their father, so they may have become citizens and not been explicitly naturalized. Some people ain't in the naturalization records: don't mean they weren't naturalized. American women who married non-citizens lost their citizenship up to a certain date. Women were rarely naturalized in early records.
I don't recall the dates of changes to the naturalization laws: I always look them up when needed.
A lot of records from various courts are microfilmed and in the FHL. Footnote has some eastern and western PA federal court records and possibly others: haven't looked. I never found anyone in these records -- like I said most used the local county courts. I'd try it first, then branch out to state and federal courts. The FHL also has a good free guide to American naturalization.
The "Bible" of American genealogy is The Source . Has a whole chapter on it. Other books have been written on it. Complicated subject.
Also good is The researcher's guide to American genealogy By Val D. Greenwood
----- Original Message -----
From: "David Young" <>
Sent: Saturday, August 21, 2010 12:24:40 PM
Subject: [S-I] Registration records, 1798 Naturalization Act?
While read the excellent and highly recommended Gordon Wood's Empire
of Liberty, I learned that the 1798 Naturalization Act required,
among other things, all aliens to register with a "district court or
agent appointed by the president within 48 hours of arrival."
Does anyone know if indices of these registrations exist or any type
of searchable record?
David N Young
San Diego, CA
researching Young [in PA], Holbert [in PA], Norwood [Co. Down],
Ruddock [Co. Down]
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