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Lake County Genealogical Society

Lake County, Ohio Naturalization Index for Probate and Common Pleas Courts

The Naturalization Process
Where Were Naturalizations Done in Lake County?
What the Probate Records Contain
What the Common Pleas Records Contain
What the Pre-1860 Records Contain
About This Project
Navigating This Database
Obtaining Copies of the Records-Probate
Obtaining Copies of the Records-Common Pleas
Obtaining Copies of the Records-Immigration & Naturalization Service
Obtaining Copies of the Records-Ohio District Court pre-1860
In Appreciation
Search Engine for Naturalizations
Index Table

The Naturalization Process Naturalization is the process through which a person who was born in one country becomes a citizen of another with most of the rights of a native born citizen; one exception in the U.S. is that only native-born citizens may become President. The process has changed some in the United States over the years, but for the most part, especially since Lake County has been doing them, the procedure is twofold. First after a certain waiting period and continuous residence in the country, a Declaration of Alien Intention is filed. The form, also called First Papers or DOA, simply states that the person plans to become a citizen. After a further waiting period a Petition for Naturalization is entered at a court. This form includes the basic information for the person. Information for witnesses who will swear that the petitioner is of good moral character and has resided in a place for the required time are noted on the form. Then the court appointment date is scheduled. Upon appearing, the person is examined and takes the Oath of Allegiance. The witnesses testify and the court approves (or denies) the petition. A certificate is then issued, often that day, or sometimes much later.

There are some exceptions to these very basic rules. One of them is for a minor. If a person came to this country before the age of 18, he may petition directly upon reaching the age of 21 without the DOA. A person who has served at least one year in the armed forces of the United States and honorably discharged may petition directly without DOA if he has resided in the US for at least one year. These petitions may be found in separate volumes or sections of volumes. Soldiers sometimes petitioned the court where they were discharged for immediate citizenship to make obtaining a job easier.

For a discussion of the specific laws for certain time periods, and more about women's rights (or lack thereof) see an article by Claire Prechtel-Kluskens at the National Archives. For another more major discussion of immigration and naturalization, see part of The Olive Tree Genealogy page at by Lorine McGinnis Schulze.

Where were Naturalizations done for Lake County Residents? Prior to 1860, in Lake County, by federal law, an applicant could go to any court of record that had a seal, kept records, and had a clerk. After 1860, although the law had not changed, applicants were mostly steered to Probate Court. After 1906, the law changed and Common Pleas Court was the sole court in Lake County selected to do this task. They carried on until about 1975. After that point, Lake Countians were required to go through the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in Cleveland. Many of the INS records are being stored at the National Archives regional facility in Chicago.

What Do the Probate Records Contain? The records of Probate Court in this database include most of the information available in the original records. The records are amazingly generic and contain very little information about the person. They generally included an anglicized name. Later records give a town of residence. The dates of birth were given as an age on the last birthday date. (Therefore the years of birth for our index have been calculated, and there may be errors.) The country of birth or allegiance and the sovereignty of past allegiance is usually given. The date of arrival in the US, the name of one witness, and the petitioner's signature are always included, either on the forms or index card. There may be a few details occasionally that were not included in this project. If there is no date of certificate given in the table, the petition may have been denied for a variety of reasons. If the petition part of the application was never begun, our table states that it is "DOA only."

What Do the Common Pleas Records Contain? The records of Common Pleas Court have a huge amount of genealogically important data. They include full name and other aliases; birth date; age; place of birth including town; address; occupation; spouse; marriage date and place; children's names, dates and places of birth and residence; date of entry to the US (very recent petitions include multiple entries); port of emigration; port of entry; name used at entry to US; ship or transportation name; sovereignty previously owed allegiance to; most recent residence prior to entry to US; alien registration (1940-1944); witness names, addresses and occupations; witness and petitioner's signatures; date of court hearing; list of continuances, or reason for denial if applicable; certificate number and date of issuance of certificate. Although some petitions were denied for ignorance, poor moral character, death, or not meeting the residency requirement, the usual denial was for failure to appear for the court date, or witness difficulties such as not knowing the petitioner the full number of years required. Many of the more recent petitions lack the date of certificate and/or the certificate number, but it is likely they were issued.

The Common Pleas Declarations of Alien Intention (DOA) contain similar, although earlier, demographic and arrival information. In some cases the court copy also has a photo attached. Some of the most recent DOAs seem to be missing, perhaps because the original is on file.

A few other papers may be included in the Common Pleas packets. A Certificate of Arrival is usually included. If witnesses were out of town or unavailable for court, their several page affidavits are filed. In some cases letters were included. The government wrote regarding certain nationals during war times. The applicant occasionally wrote to change an address or transfer a DOA or a petition to or from another jurisdiction.

What Do the Pre-1860 records contain? Records in The Ohio District Court, and others are rather skimpy in their genealogical value. They all have a name and date of naturalization. They usually include the allegiance they are renouncing, but not always. This may be quite vague. Rarely do they include age, relatives, witness names, or entry date.

About This Project There was a card index of the successful naturalization petitions for both Probate and Common Pleas courts. Those cards, which were kept up by the court clerks, were copied for this database. The typing was kept true to the index record, with dates in the same format, etc. It was then decided to proofread the work with the original records, to fill in any details that were missing or incorrect. At that point, we tried to be more true to the original record. Formatting of the birth dates and the certificate dates were then standardized, each differently, in case it were to be searched. It was also decided to add any Probate failed petitions and any DOAs that were found and not indexed. These were all proofread with the probate records and presented here. The same was done for the Common Pleas records, except the DOAs, which were in separate books, were added in later, but not proofread. For our purposes, the word "incomplete" covers all the reasons a petition did not result in a certificate, athough we may have been overzealous with this due to those missing dates.

In each case we have attempted to include names with which the petitioner entered the country. We also picked up DOAs from different counties, although some may have been missed.

For this Internet portion of the project, to protect some of the living, those petitioners who were born after 1931 were included without all the information. It is open public record, however, and may be obtained as below.

Navigating This Database It is suggested that when searching this database, that the alphabetical index below be used to begin. Search all the unusual spellings if the person is not found. Browse a bit if needed. If the record still is not found, try the search engine provided for a birthdate. The format for birth is Mo. day, year such as Oct. 15, 1934 or Sept. 6, 1859. If the person used a different name, it may be searched by firstname lastname. If you have a date of certificate it is searchable by yyyy mm dd such as 1953 03 15. Dates of arrival may be in any format, but the majority are dd mo year such as 6 Sept 1921. You could search by an address, although you may find witnesses as well. Should you be researching someone that may be a witness, you can follow their address over the years. Witness names are entered as lastname, firstname just like the petitioners.

Obtaining Copies of the Probate Records It is always advisable to obtain a copy of the original record as there are errors in this work. Microfilmed Probate naturalizations are held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) and film can be ordered for use at a local Family History Center. Vol. A, B and 1 are on FHL US/CAN Film 974911. Vol. 2, 3 and 4 are on FHL US/CAN Film 974912. These volumes are now on, browseable and searchable. See "Ohio, County Naturalization Records, 1800-1977." Copies may also be obtained inexpensively from the Probate Court at 25 N. Park Place, Painesville, Ohio. Most early Probate records are one page long, but may be two or three, and the later ones are two pages or may have up to eight if there were letters included. Include SASE.

Obtaining Common Pleas Naturalization Records Common Pleas records are on microfilm at Morley Library, consisting of one reel of index cards (both courts), two reels of declarations of intention; and ten reels of petitions. The first half of reel 6 of the petitions is actually declarations of intention. Copies may be obtained from the court in person. They may also be ordered from Lake County Genealogical Society, 184 Phelps St., Painesville, Ohio 44077. There could be as few as three pages or as much as fifteen for a complete record. The actual petition is two pages. Cost is $1.00 per page. A self addressed stamped envelope is appreciated. Although we do not recommend it, some people send a check with the amount blank and write in "amount not to exceed $xx.00" where the xx is replaced by an estimate of the cost plus a little in case there are extra pages. This allows prepayment without the need to request the total number of pages in a record before ordering.

Obtaining Records from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) INS records were done through other courts, and in the case of Cleveland by the Northern Ohio District Court but actually done by the Common Pleas Court, but kept separate. These are at the National Archives branch at Chicago. They may be ordered from there, or more recently these records including the images have been put on-line at This is a fee web site, which can be accessed for free at Family History Centers.

Obtaining Ohio District Court records The Court Docket Ohio District Court, Lake County, Ohio 1845-1852 is available through Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and film can be ordered for use at a local Family History Center. The volume 1845-1852 is on FHL film US/CAN 885057 Item 1.

Remember, only the Common Pleas (CP) records are available through the Lake County Genealogical Society. Please include petitioners full name and petition number with the order, as well as your name and postal address.

In Appreciation We thank the following members of Lake County Genealogical Society who worked so hard to make this Index available: For electronic presentation, Herbert Turk; for the typing, Cynthia Turk; for many hours of probate proofreading and adding missing records, Thelma Moore, Sally Malone, Sara Evans, Janet Hochevar, Clare Calandra, and Diane Parvin. For the Common Pleas records many more hours of proofreading were done by Clare Calandra, Sara Evans, Janet Hochevar, Janet Kucera, Thelma Moore, Pat Swaine, Cynthia Turk, and Phyllis Williams. We also thank Sally Malone and Morley Library for use of the facilites and their support.

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Choose a range of Surnames from the table below.

A - AnfAng - AzB - BaqBar - BazBe - Ber
Bes - BnBo - BqBr - BtBu - BzC - Caq
Car - CasCat - CkCl - ConCoo - CzD - Dek
Del - DikDil - DomDon - DzE - EzF - Feg
Feh - FnFo - FzG - GgGh - GqGr - Gz
H - HalHam - HdHe - HhHi - HokHol - Hq
Hr - HzI - IzJ - JnJo - JzK - Kaq
Kar - KdKe - KhKi - KkKl - KoqKor - Kq
Kr - KzL - LarLas - LemLen - LinLio - Lt
Lu - LzM - MajMak - MaqMar - MasMat - Mb
Mc - MdMe - MhMi - MonMoo - MtMu - Mz
N - NelNem - NnNo - NzO - OlrOls - Oz
P - PaqPar - PdPe - PgPh - PnPo - Pq
Pr - PzQ - RdRe - RimRin - RorRos - Rz
S - SalSam - SbSc - SdSe - ShSi - Sj
Sk - SoSp - StnSto - SxSy - SzT - Tg
Th - ToqTor - TtTu - UlUm - VdVe - Vz
W - WaqWar - WgWh - WnWo - YzZ - Zz

Copyright issues: Copyrights on the files on this site are held by the creators. They may be linked to but not copied except for personal use. © 2002-2014 Lake County Genealogical Society and Herbert M. Turk
Disclaimer: The Lake County Genealogical Society cannot be held responsible for errors in transcription or in original documents. These files were intended only as guides to original records from which the researcher should draw his own conclusions.

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This site last updated on 14 May 2014.