Cuyahoga County Archives
2905 Franklin Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44111
Phone: (216) 433-7250
Hours: 8:30 am to 4:00 pm
Free parking in lot on west side of building. No fee for self-done
research. Fee for copies: $.25
Open Monday through Friday - Closed Weekends & Holidays
When you enter the large doors at the front of the building, you must sign
in at the security desk located in the foyer. While facing the desk, there
will be a door on each side of the foyer. The room to the right (west side
of building) is where you will start your search for Naturalization Papers
processed through the Probate Court of Cuyahoga County.
Upon entering the room, there will be a tall grey file cabinet to your
right. This is one of the two card catalogs for Naturalization Papers. The
drawers are divided alphabetically and, in some cases, sub divided within
the letters. These cards have the name, date of arrival, port of arrival,
date of birth and other minimal information. Most importantly, they have
the location of the original papers on them.
When you have selected the cards you need, sometimes several with the same
name, you will take them to the hall. Across the hall you will see a desk
blocking an arched doorway. Take the cards to the attendant at this desk
and she (or he) will go into the depths of the building to find the
appropriate papers. Within minutes, you will have in your hands the
original documents your ancestors actually signed!!! These will include,
"First papers", statements from witnesses vouching for the character of
the applicant, and the final Naturalization papers.
Let me make a personal observation here. In all my dealings at the
Archives, I have found the staff to be very helpful and courteous. They go
out of their way to assist you whenever possible.
After carefully examining the papers to make sure they actually are the
ones you want, approach one of the staff members and request copies of
what you have. The copies are 25 cents per page.
There is one other place for finding Naturalization Papers at the
Archives. In the same room that you found the grey cabinet, is another
wooden file cabinet. When you enter the room, across from the door you are
standing in is a fireplace. To the left of the fireplace is a short, small
wooden file cabinet. This is another set of index cards, only these are
hand-written on old data cards. However, don't let their looks fool you.
They have the same power as the nicely typed ones. They contain volume and
page information so that you can find Naturalization Papers.
There is another way to find Naturalization Papers. That is through the
Federal Court House. That will be another "Tip" article at a later time.
Keep an eye out for it!!!