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Instructions for obtaining copies of naturalization papers from the Philadelphia City Archives

The Philadelphia City Archives has declarations of intention and petitions for naturalization which were filed in the city and county courts only between 1790 and 1930.

The Archives does not have the records of the United States Circuit and District Courts of Philadelphia, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, or the records in any local court outside of Philadelphia county.

NATURALIZATIONS PRIOR TO 1790

All naturalizations filed in Pennsylvania prior to 1790 occurred in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and are located in the Pennsylvania State Archives

NATURALIZATIONS 1790 - 1880

If you have used the W.P.A. Index to Aliens' Declarations of Intention and/or Oaths of Allegiance 1789-1880 or P. William Filby's Philadelphia Naturalization Records, the City Archives only has those records marked as "CP" or "QS"

Note: There are exceptions to this, owing to mistakes made by the W.P.A. and not corrected by Filby. The principle exception is that entries marked "DC" between 1860 and 1870 are most likely records filed in the Philadelphia County District Court, which are in the City Archives' possession.

All names in the W.P.A. and Filby's have either one or two entries following them. The price for naturalizations at the City Archives is based upon a complete set of papers (declaration and/or petition). Therefore, please remit only one fee for each set of papers.

The fee for a set of papers is $ 5.00, payable to the "City of Philadelphia"

Our address is:

Philadelphia City Archives
Suite 150
3101 Market Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19104

The fee of $5.00 is for a search of the records and copies, if the records exist. Otherwise, a certificate of no record will be sent.

Owing to a decision made by the court officers in the 1930s, only the declarations of intention of the Quarter Sessions Court were indexed, not the petitions. There may still exist a possibility that your ancestor petitioned the Philadelphia courts for citizenship. For a check of the records, make your request by clicking here.

NATURALIZATIONS AFTER 1881

Although the published indexes quit at 1880, the naturalization process, of course, continued. The Philadelphia city and county courts continued to perform naturalization ceremonies until 1897. There are no records from 1898-1913, as the local courts did not naturalize during the period. From 1914 until 1930, the Quarter Sessions Court resumed naturalization proceedings. There have been no naturalizations at the local level in Philadelphia since 1930.

Most naturalizations which have occurred in Philadelphia since 1897 were done in the United States District and Circuit Courts. Please contact the National Archives, Mid-Atlantic Regional Branch, 9th & Market Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19107 (215-597-3000) for instructions on researching those records.


If you have any further questions, please e-mail the Archives by clicking here


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Last updated on 8 November 2000