|St. Louis Circuit Court Naturalization Index Cards, 1816-1906||| Print ||
Naturalization Record Books, Indexes, and Index Cards at the Circuit Court
For most of the 20th century, access to naturalization records in the St. Louis Circuit Court depended on finding and searching through original books and indexes or finding citations on index cards to the naturalization books compiled during the 1930s-1940s. Even with the index card citations, locating the books themselves or on microfilm has been difficult for researchers because of ambiguity in the titles of the courts and volumes.
Index Card Sorting/Arranging Project, 2003-2004
Beginning in November 2003, St. Louis Genealogical Society (StLGS) volunteers, in a collaborative effort with the Missouri State Archives (MSA), State Archivist Ken Winn and the City of St. Louis Circuit Clerk Mariano Favazza, sorted all three groups of 180,000 naturalization index cards with citations to corresponding naturalization record books from 1816-1906 of the St. Louis Circuit Court. The final authoritative alphabetical set of index cards contains more than 93,000 cards. Volunteers then compared the final set with 17 microfilm reels produced by the Family History Library (FHL) in Utah in the 1980s when the FHL microfilmed most of the naturalization volumes and indexes. This quality check ensured that all cards in the current collection and on the microfilmed set were recorded. Volunteers also replaced damaged or lost cards by transcribing the information onto a new replacement index card.
Naturalization Index Card Database, 2005
St. Louis Genealogical Society volunteers compiled all information on the cards into a searchable database available online containing all the names and instructions for searching. The total effort on the part of STLGS exceeded 3,000 hours of volunteer effort.
New Microfilm of Naturalization Index Cards, 2004
The Missouri State Archives (MSA) microfilmed the new, alphabetical, authoritative set of index cards. These 13 new 16mm index reels (“County” microfilm reel numbers C 25740-C 25752) effectively supersede the 17 alphabetical reels of one of the groups of cards produced by the Latter-Day Saints Family History Library in the 1980s.
The new microfilm reels of the index cards are available for use at:
While the information from these microfilmed index cards is on the STLGS card index database and were created many years after the naturalization records, researchers may still want to make copies from the microfilm of the original index card for their ancestors. They can be purchased at the Missouri State Archives at www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/county/croll.asp.
Orders for microfilm rolls may be placed by
An order form is also available in PDF format on the Missouri State Archives website. Other research facilities listed here may also have these new 13 reels, which contain images of all the index cards listed on the STLGS database.
Index Card/Book/Microfilm Reel Cross-Reference, 2005
Missouri State Archives staff also produced a cross-reference document correlating the original court, record book, and page number found on the index cards with the corresponding record books microfilmed by the Missouri State Archives or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The list indicates the court, volume number, record book title, and date range covered by the microfilm. It also lists for direct reference the microfilm reel numbers for each record book located at the following research facilities:
The card/book/microfilm cross-reference is arranged by:
Researchers can identify the appropriate reel of microfilm for the index card citation by comparing the volume numbers for the appropriate court and making sure the volume fits the date range on the index card, the date range for that person based on previous research, and the type of record (Declaration, Second Papers, Soldier Papers, or Minor) as reflected in the volume title, although many “Second Papers” volumes also include Soldier Papers and Minors.
Special Provenance and Court Title Note:
Index cards citing “CCCC” as the court refer to two different courts, one a successor of the other.
Types of naturalization documents
Foreign-born persons could record the following naturalization actions in the record books of any court of record that had a clerk, a book, and a seal. Many of the record books to which the index cards refer are titled according to the type of naturalizations contained.
Still No Luck Finding Your Foreign-Born Person in the St. Louis Circuit Court?
Contact the Circuit Clerk, City of St. Louis to explore additional research options.
Kathy Grillo, Records Manager
Key Area Resources for Naturalization beyond the Circuit Court
1. Federal naturalizations in St. Louis
Researchers should note that federal courts also registered naturalizations during the 19th century. The naturalization process became exclusively federal function as of September 27,1906. The Special Collections Department of the St. Louis County Library Headquarters has compiled an index covering 19th century and 20th century federal naturalizations from records in the National Archives Branch in Kansas City.
2. St. Louis City/ County Divided
Because St. Louis City and St. Louis County became separate administrative entities in 1876, naturalizations from 1876-1906 might have occurred in the St. Louis County Circuit Court in Clayton.
Naturalization books are on Family History Library Microfilm Reel #140552.
3. Naturalization Papers at the Missouri Historical Society
The collection of naturalization papers (Collection A1125) provide additional documents for foreign-born persons who declared their intention to become a citizen. These document collections by Missouri Historical Society Archives staff. These applications are actual paper documents, not the record book entries. They are handwritten or on official forms from each court. These documents were registered in the St. Louis Circuit Court or its subsidiary courts—Court of Common Pleas, Land Court, Criminal Court, and Law Commissioner’s Court. This collection also contains naturalization documents generated in other states and cities for persons who had some connection to St. Louis persons or families.
Brief review of this collection revealed the following information to varying degrees on separate documents, depending on the court, the format of the application, and the time period. The applicants themselves, their attorneys, or the clerk of the court handwrote many of these, so they provide additional details. Not all documents contain each of these items.
The naturalization papers are arranged in folders for each letter of the alphabet of the surnames of the applicants.Researchers can find individual or family names by consulting the Archives Card Catalog.
Please contact the Archives with questions concerning the collections at (314) 746-4510 or via email at
*This finding aid produced by the staff of the Missouri State Archives.
St. Louis Genealogical Society · #4 Sunnen Drive, Suite 140 · St. Louis, MO 63143 · 314-647-8547