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:
The original criminal court and U.S. District Court naturalizations are kept at the following locations, respectively:
American Italian Renaissance Foundation Museum
United States District Court
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.
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Form L.4 (revised 3/2011)