The Naturalization Process
How to Search for Naturalization Records in Jo Daviess Co., IL and
at the NARA (National Archives and Records Administration)

The following information was provided by Ralph Anderson, Kathy Kuroda, and Cheryl Hemingway.

The naturalization process was a four step one:

1. A Declaration of Intent form was filed with the district court. These forms were different for each location until standardized in 1907. Some had more information than others but they all contain country of origin and date, place and means of arrival.

2. Two to seven years later the person filed a Petition for Naturalization. This has the same information plus more about the current status of the petitioner. This document can contain the complete court record including the oath of allegiance and the court order of admittance.

3. Next, came an investigation.

4. Lastly , the judge administered the oath and granted a Certificate of Citizenship.

The difficulty is in finding the location of the records if they still exist. They might still be in the court of record, with city records, in the county records, in the state archives or even in the Federal Archives

My guidance recommends starting with the County Courthouse to search for early records. The next place to check is the Regional National Archives and check record group # 21 for the state US District Court. In Colorado, Federal District Court records are at the National Archive regional office and state and county court records are in the Colorado State archives.

I obtained a copy of an 1855 Kansas declaration of intention from the Federal Regional Archive in Kansas City but they said that it was very unusual for them to have documents from that early date in the national archive.

By Illinois law certain records cannot be destroyed. If a courthouse no longer wants them housed there or they feel they no longer have room for them, the records are sent to various IRAD (Illinois Regional Archives Depository) locations through out the state. The records for Jo Daviess County are at IRAD in DeKalb.

The following Jo Daviess County Naturalization records are at IRAD:
Naturalization Record, Final, Circuit Court (1857-1902)
Naturalization Record Circuit Court (1904-1925)
Naturalization Record of Soldiers, Circuit Court (1865-1888)
Naturalization Declarations of Intent, Circuit Court (1840-1929)
Naturalization Petition Record, Circuit Court (1906-1929)

Naturalization Records that were recorded in the USDistrict Court are housed at:
National Archives - Great Lakes Region
7358 S. Pulaski Rd.
Chicago, IL 60629-5898

The URL is:

For further information on Naturalization Records kept by the US Government, please go to the official site of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Send questions or comments to our County Coordinator