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The St. Louis Circuit Court office has naturalization records from 1821 to 1906. The index to this set of records, with approximately 93,000 files, is available through our search engine. In the 1930s, the WPA staff produced index cards for the naturalization records indicating the name, date of the record, name of the court, and former country. Some cards also listed witnesses to the event.

The federal government took charge of naturalizations in September 1906, and thereafter the records are in federal repositories. The federal St. Louis district records are housed at the National Archives in Kansas City. They have the naturalization books and an alphabetical card file. For post-1906 records, researchers may contact NARA by e-mail to determine the availability of their ancestors’ records. St. Louis County Library has an index of microfilmed federal records. However, there are additional records housed at NARA-KC that have not been microfilmed.

Naturalizations in St. Louis from 1821 to 1906


Naturalizations before 1906 took place in numerous St. Louis courts. The WPA created a card index to all pre-1906 naturalizations. Due to the numerous courts used for naturalizations, a court code is included on the card. A guide to the court system, included on this website, will assist you in locating the microfilm of the original record.

The St.Louis Genealogical Society Naturalizations site shows a sample of the original record and the limited information available. It provides the name of the new citizen, his former country, and the date of naturalization. These early records do not provide the port or date of entry, the name of the ship, or other family members.

St. Louis Genealogical Society sorted, alphabetized, and indexed over 93,000 names included on these cards. Missouri Archives then microfilmed the sorted cards. The original records are available on microfilm at St. Louis County Library Special Collections, St. Louis Public Library, Missouri Archives, and the Family History Library. The index to this set of records, with approximately 93,000 files, is available through our search engine.

This index was based on the original WPA card set. Additional naturalization information may be found in the original records. If your ancestor’s name is not included, try alternate spellings and check the indexes of the original records, which are available on microfilm.

If you believe the naturalization took place after 1876, the record may be located at the current St. Louis County Government Center. In 1876, St. Louis County and St. Louis City separated. St. Louis City became an independent city; however, St. Louis City retained all previously recorded documents. In 1876, a new county courthouse and record center was established in Clayton, Missouri. It may be necessary to check both locations for any St. Louis record. An index for post-1906 St. Louis County naturalizations is available at St. Louis County Library Special Collections.

 

NARA – Central Plains Region – Kansas City – St. Louis records


1846–1930: Two indexes arranged by year, one for declarations of intention and the other for naturalizations, exist for St. Louis U.S. Circuit and District courts. However, as many as nine other St. Louis courts were conducting naturalizations as well. Indexes for these records are arranged by court, year, and first letter of surname and can be time-consuming to search. Request help from the staff for the textual records.

If a person filed a declaration of intention (first papers, but did not file a petition, second papers) he will not appear in the naturalization indexes. If the declaration was filed in a St. Louis U.S. Circuit or District Court between 1849 and 1925, it should appear in the declaration index mentioned above.

1846–1890: Database developed from the year-by-year index of the U.S. Circuit and District Court naturalizations described above. This database does not contain entries from the declaration of intention index.

1890–1891: A card index contains federal naturalizations in St. Louis and eastern Missouri. Many naturalizations that appear in county courts are included in this index. Illinois naturalizations do not appear in this index. Check with the NARA staff for this textual record.

Those denied naturalization after filing a petition also appear in the index. Petitions were denied for various reasons: including failure to appear at hearing, insufficient length of residency, witness was not a citizen, witness was not acquainted with petitioner for requisite length of time, failure to establish good moral character, etc.

Bibliography

Henson, Alice. Naturalization Dockets, St. Louis, Missouri, Supreme Court, Volume 1, 1860–1864; Volume 2, 1864–1876. Jefferson City, Missouri: Mid-Missouri Genealogical Society, Inc., 1991.

Newman, John J. American Naturalization Processes and Procedures, 1790–1985. Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana Historical Society, 1985.

Szucs, Loretto Dennis. They Became Americans: Finding Naturalization Records and Ethnic Origins. Salt Lake City, Utah: ] Ancestry, 1998.

 

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