Naturalization Records

Louisiana Division
New Orleans Public Library
219 Loyola Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70112-2044

The Louisiana Division has the original naturalization records from the Civil Courts of New Orleans, 1827-1906. Included are certificates of naturalization, declarations of intention to become a citizen (also known as "first papers"), and oaths of applicants and witnesses. The records are included in ninety-seven volumes, most of which contain indexes. These records are available to researchers on microfilm (call numbers VNA, VNB, etc.). Additional civil court naturalizations are included in some, but not all, of the minute books from the individual courts, which are also available on microfilm (call numbers VSB300, VSC300, etc.).

In addition to the civil court naturalizations we also have microfilm copies of records from the criminal courts of New Orleans (1853-1906) and the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana (1813-1929). These films are located under call numbers VNL and GS-36, respectively. Both groups of records are indexed (the indexes are filed at the beginning of each group).

We will photocopy records from the microfilm if provided with exact volume/page and/or date references. Our copy fee is $2.00 per page. We also will search the following indexes for a fee of $3.00 per name:

  • "Index to certificates of naturalization issued by Louisiana courts, 1831-1906," prepared by the New Orleans District Office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
    [While this index includes references to all of the records noted above (as well as to courts in other parishes), it does not appear to include references to the declarations of intention]

  • "Louisiana Naturalization Index, 1811-1985"
    [Indexes naturalization materials filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana]

The original criminal court and U.S. District Court naturalizations are kept at the following locations, respectively:

American Italian Renaissance Foundation Museum
537 South Peters
New Orleans, La. 70130

United States District Court
500 Camp Street
New Orleans, La. 70123

A Few "Helpful Hints"

There was no requirement that individuals be naturalized prior to 1906. Unless he wanted to vote or hold office, an immigrant alien could live out his life in the U.S. without ever acquiring citizenship.

Women were not naturalized through court action, but rather they acquired citizenship "by right of" their husbands or fathers at the time of their naturalizations.

The 1900 and 1910 federal census schedules show whether or not an individual had been naturalized. The 1920 census records the year of naturalization.

The Louisiana Division also has voter registration records for New Orleans, 1891-1978. Several records series in this group contain data about the naturalization of foreign-born voters. Ask at the reference desk for further information.

Return to Louisiana Division Information

Return to Holdings and Services

Back to Nutrias Home

Form L.4 (revised 3/2011)