BRIEF BACKGROUND TO NATURALIZATION RECORDS IN VERMONT
Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is conferred upon a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). On September 27, 1906, a Federal law regarding naturalization became effective. All courts, for the first time, were required to ask the same questions on the same forms and a copy of all naturalizations had to be forwarded to the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Washington. After this date, most naturalization hearings occurred either in a Federal Court or a county court, as municipal courts lost their authority to naturalize. Prior to 1906, individuals could petition a Federal, county, or municipal court for naturalization. See the National Archives website and the Colorado GenWeb Project for more information on the history of naturalization records.
Please note that immigration records are Federal records and therefore not available at the State level. To learn about Vermont immigration activities and records located in the National Archives and Records Administration please see: By Way of Canada: U.S. Records of Immigration Across the U.S.-Canadian Border, 1895-1954 (St. Albans List) by Marian L. Smith.
ACCESSING NATURALIZATION RECORDS OF INDIVIDUALS NATURALIZED IN VERMONT
Some naturalization records have been transferred into the Vermont State Archives. (See list of record series below.) In addition to these records, several Vermont Superior Courts have retained custody of naturalization records for hearings heard in their respective counties. Vermont District Courts may also have some naturalization records from the former municipal courts. A list of present-day Vermont courts is available at: http://www.vermontjudiciary.org/
For individuals naturalized in Vermont by a Federal court before or after 1906, copies of their naturalization records are at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Records Center in Waltham, MA. Copies of post-1906 naturalization records from State courts remain in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. The Vermont State Archives recommends reviewing records in the custody of the Vermont State Archives, National Archives, and Vermont Superior Courts prior to seeking records through the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Washington.
For more information about our naturalization records, see the following series descriptions and container lists in our record series database:
- PRA-103: Burlington (Vt.) Municipal Court
- PRA-166: Bennington County Court
- PRA-182: Windham County Court
- PRA-243: Barre (Vt.) Municipal Court
- PRA-262: United States District Court (Vermont), Vergennes Municipal Court, Orange County Superior Court, Rutland County Court, and Washington County Court.
- PRA-269: Orange County Court
- PRA-270: Chittenden County Court
- PRA-277: Windsor County Court
- PRA-278: Grand Isle County Court
- PRA-279: Caledonia County Court
Please direct all reference questions or research inquiries to:
- VSARA Reference Room Staff
- EMAIL: (For vital records requests use: )
- PHONE: 802-828-2308
This page was last updated on: 2013-04-26.