Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

Series 23596

District Court (Fifth District : Washington County) Declarations of intention record books

Dates: 1897-1939.

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These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.

Historical Note

An agency history is available.

Scope and Content

To become a citizen of the United States, an individual normally filed a "declaration of intention to become a citizen" at least two years prior to applying for citizenship. The next step was the naturalization hearing at which the candidate and witnesses either made oral statements or filed written petitions and affidavits attesting to the applicant's character, worthiness to become a citizen, and the validity of statements made to the court. If the judge found the applicant eligible to become a citizen, an oath was administered and the individual renounced his former citizenship. At this point a certificate of citizenship was issued documenting the fact. These volumes contain recorded copies of the declarations of individuals' intentions to later become United States citizens and to renounce current citizenship. The first forms contain little more than the declarant's name and native country, but forms after 1906 contain more detailed information about both the individual and his family.

The first volume contains preprinted forms created by the court. The forms contain blanks for the individual's name, sovereign, date, and signatures of the individual and the court clerk witnessing the statement.

The second and third volumes were furnished to the court clerks by the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization of the Department of Commerce and Labor (later the Naturalization Service of the U.S. Dept. of Labor). Each volume was to be indexed and the declarations numbered consecutively beginning with number 1 in volume 1 (though volume 3 begins with number 16). Loose sheets were also furnished so the duplicate copy could be given to the declarant and the triplicate copy mailed to the Bureau of Naturalization. The forms contain blanks for the name and location of the court; the individual's name, age, occupation, color, complexion, height, weight, hair color, eye color, visible distinctive marks, birthplace, birthdate, and current residence; the location from which he emigrated to the United States and the vessel name; his last foreign residence; the name and title of the ruler to whom he would be renouncing allegiance; and the port and date of arrival in the United States.

By 1917, additional blanks were inserted to record his marital status, and if married, his wife's name (altered to "spouse's name" after 1922 when married women could seek citizenship on their own instead of automatically assuming the nationality of their husbands), birthplace and residence. He was to take an oath that he was not an anarchist or polygamist, and that it was his intention to become a United States citizen and make the country his permanent residence. Blanks were provided for his signature and for the date and signature of the court clerk who witnessed his oath. By the 1930s, more blanks were added for sex, race, present nationality; marriage date and place along with the spouse's birthdate and date and place of entrance to the United States; the number of children with their names, birthdate, birthplace, and residence; any previous declaration of intention, with number, location, and court; and his or her name at entry.

Arrangement

Chronological by date.

Related Records

Naturalization record books from the District Court (Fifth District : Washington County), Series 23595, illustrates the other part of the naturalization process

Minute Books from the District Court (Fifth District : Washington County), Series 23738, provides abstracts of all daily court proceedings.

Custody History

Brought in from the Washington County Clerk's office by Pat Scott, an Archives records analyst, January 11, 2001.

Access Restrictions

This series is classified as Public.

Preferred Citation

Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.

Processing Note

This series was archivally processed by Jim Kichas and Michael McLane in November 2007 as part of a NHPRC grant project designed to preserve the historic records of Utah's Fifth District Courts.

Finding Aids

Indexes: volumes have name indexes at the beginning. The first volume also indexes county probate court minutes for naturalization entries,.

Indexing Terms

Container List

REEL BOX DESCRIPTION
1 1 1897 - 1939