Scope and Content Note

This series consists of documents filed with the 5th, 6th, and 8th Chancery Circuits by aliens seeking United States citizenship pursuant to Federal Statute (Laws of 1802).

This law required prospective citizens to declare before a Federal or state court of record: the intent to become a citizen; an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and renouncing allegiance to a foreign state or ruler; proof that he has resided in the United States five years and state of residence one year and that during this period he was of good moral character and kept his oath. Before 1840 the format of the records varies slightly from circuit to circuit. After that date, however, they are all on standard printed forms. Each file usually contains a declaration of intent, fulfilling the first requirement for citizenship, and a record of proceedings or final record of naturalization fulfilling the remaining two requirements. The information in each file usually includes: the alien's name; date of birth and age; place of origin; nation and ruler of former allegiance; date of arrival in the United States; place of settlement; date and location of final naturalization proceedings; and the names of the witnesses testifying to his years of residency in the United States and New York.