Massachusetts Naturalization

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This entry was originally written by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG, for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the Massachusetts Family History Research series.
History of Massachusetts
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Massachusetts Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Massachusetts Immigration
Massachusetts Naturalization
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Map of Massachusetts


The WPA developed an index of naturalizations found in numerous city, county, state, and federal courts in New England for the period 1786 to 1906, which are Soundexed and microfilmed, and made available through National Archives (see pages 11-12). The abstract cards used to create that microfilm for all of New England are at the National Archives—New England Region in Waltham, Massachusetts. For the period 1906–70s, the abstract cards and an index for naturalization petitions from federal courts in Massachusetts (1906–1950s) have been moved to the National Archives—Northeast Region as well. In addition to the abstract cards and index, New England’s regional branch holds dexigraphs of the actual records (originals at Massachusetts Archives), making it possible to check accuracy of the abstracts and index. Some have declarations of intention attached, which may give more information about the immigrant.

Massachusetts Archives holds abstracts for state and local courts (1885–1931 with separate annual indexes), and also Essex County naturalization records (1901–1982). Current petitions and index cards for the federal courts are at Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Department of Justice, JFK Federal Bldg., Government Center, Boston, MA 02203.

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