Source Information

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Naturalization Records from Supreme and District Courts, 1794-1908 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Supreme Court Naturalization Papers, 1794-1908. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

About Pennsylvania, Naturalization Records from Supreme and District Courts, 1794-1908

This database contains a collection of early Pennsylvania naturalization records.

Historical Background

The act and procedure of becoming a citizen of a country is called naturalization. Starting in 1790 with the first naturalization act, aliens who wanted to become citizens of the United States had to declare their intent in a court of law. However, from the time the first naturalization act was passed in 1790 until 1906, there were no uniform standards for naturalization records. As a consequence, before September 1906, various federal, state, county, and local courts generated a wide variety of citizenship records. After 1906 the vast majority of naturalizations took place in federal courts on standard forms.

What’s in These Records

This database contains records created as aliens applied for U.S. citizenship through Pennsylvania courts. They include petitions for citizenship, certificates of citizenship, court naturalization lists, and other documents. Because these records predate 1906, they are not always in a standard format. Along with an applicant’s name they may list native country, length of residency (in the U.S. and in Pennsylvania), places of residence, addresses, character references, age, dates, and other details.

Records typically start with a cover page, and subsequent images follow. Once you locate a record, make sure you scroll through surrounding images to find all records applicable to your ancestor.

This database does not represent a comprehensive collection of early Pennsylvania naturalization records.