Information contained on the Soundex cards for pre-1904 Cook County naturalization records reflects almost all of the information contained in the actual records. The only exception occurs if the declaration of intent was filed in a non-Cook County court that required more specific information from the petitioner.
Declarations are usually attached to petitions in Cook County naturalization records. Pre-1904 declarations are not kept separately. Items marked “Court Order Only” on Soundex cards refer to the court order signed by the judge that naturalized the individual when the petition and declaration for that individual are no longer in existence.
Naturalization records from 1904 to October 1906 should but DO NOT always contain the following data:
Naturalization records from October 1906 to 1929 reveal the same information as earlier records (1904 to October 1906) as well as the following data:
Local Cook County courts stopped granting naturalizations in 1929.
Before 1906 wives and children were not named on naturalization papers of husbands or fathers, but they did receive derivative U.S. citizenship through these men. Only after September 22, 1922 did the law require married women to file for naturalization on their own.
On Soundex cards, the word “minor” next to the certificate number does not imply that the petitioner naturalized as a minor. Rather, this term denotes that the person arrived in the U.S. as a minor and then became a citizen sometime after reaching the age of 18 years. The Soundex cards often give the number of years the “minor” resided in the U.S. before naturalizing. Minors DID NOT file declarations of intention, and “minor” petitions provide virtually no genealogical information.
Due to the fact that declarations of intention (“first papers”) are haphazardly indexed, our staff cannot allot time to search for those specific records. Unless the individual filed a “minor’s petition” (see above), the declaration of intention is included with the petition (“second papers”).
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