You can find many county naturalization records online for free at FamilySearch.org. Courthouse research is important for thorough genealogy research, but we don’t all have the time or ability to travel. Now, you may not have to.
Most of us search for genealogy records at FamilySearch by typing in names, dates, and places at the home page. When we use this method, the results are only for the records that have been indexed. In other words, there are likely thousands of records on the site that you don’t see in your results list. They have not been indexed by searchable criteria. Instead, you need to go in the virtual “back door.”
Quick Overview of the Naturalization Process
The naturalization process in America changed over time. There are a few key points everyone should be familiar with:
- Naturalization started in 1790.
- Naturalization of a man extended to his wife (until 1922) and children under the age of 21 (until 1940). This is called derivative citizenship. 
- Naturalization was a two-step process and did not have to take place in the same state or county.
- Early naturalization records (pre-1906) can often be found on the county level and in any of the courts including: Probate Court, Clerk of Courts, Chancery, or Common Pleas Court.
4 Steps to Find County Naturalization Records Online
Step 1: Go to www.familysearch.org and click on “Search.” From the pull-down options, click on “Catalog.”
Step 2: At the catalog page and in the “Place” field, begin typing in the location of the records you would like to find. Let’s say I was interested in finding naturalization records for Miami County, Ohio. I would begin by typing in the country: United States; the state: Ohio; and the county: Miami.
Step 3: Click the place match in the drop-down menu and then click “Search.”
You will be taken to a new screen which lists what records are available for your location. In the list for Miami County, I needed to scroll down a bit to see the naturalization options. By clicking on the words “United States, Ohio, Miami – Naturalization and citizenship,” I am given two additional options. One is for naturalization records between 1807-1858 and the other is for 1860-1906. (There was even an index option that I didn’t show in this image, which I would highly recommend!)
Step 4: I clicked on the “Court records, 1807-1858” and was taken to a new page. This is the page where I used to order microfilm from Salt Lake City. But now, I can scroll down and under the heading of “Film Notes,” I am able to view some of the microfilm from my home computer! Just click on any of the options with a little camera icon.
The microfilm will open up on your screen and you are able to search it using your right and left arrow keys, or by jumping around using the the icon with a bunch of little squares.
You can zoom in, zoom out, download the document, or even print it.
Naturalization records online will vary and hold different amounts of genealogical data depending on the time period. Finding them is crucial to your story! In my book, that makes county naturalization records important to our research. Happy hunting!
”Naturalization Records,” article online, National Archives and Records Administration, (https://www.archives.gov/research/naturalization/naturalization.html : accessed 3 April 2017).