National Archives
M1744 Pamphlet

This is a digital copy of the National Archives companion pamphlet
for the M1744 Microfilm collection.

Besides some minor formatting changes,
handwritten notes that were on the original have been incorporated herein.
The original text is available at the bottom of the page.

Background [California]
Records Description
Related Records
Roll List

National Archives
Microfilm Publications

Pamphlet Describing M1744

Index to Naturalization
in the U.S. District Court
for the Northern District
of California, 1852— ca. 1989

Records of District Courts
of the United States
Record Group 21



1852-ca. 1989

Introduction compiled by Larisa K. Miller
Records arranged and filmed by
Genealogical Society of Utah

National Archives and Records Administration
Washington, DC


On the 165 rolls of this microfilm publication, M1744, are reproduced the naturalization index cards of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (San Francisco), 1852-ca. 1989. The cards serve as an index to

They also serve as an index to naturalizations occurring These records are part of the Records of District Courts of the United States, Record Group 21, and are housed in the National Archives—Pacific Sierra Region, San Bruno, California.


The Constitution of the United States provided Congress with the authority " establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization..." (Art. 1, Sec. 8). To fulfill this responsibility, Congress passed the first naturalization act on March 26, 1790 (1 Stat. 103). This law stipulated that the naturalization process had to take place in "any common law court of record" that had a common law jurisdiction, a seat, a clerk, and a permanent record of its proceedings. Any free, white alien over the age of twenty-one was allowed to apply for citizenship in such a court after a residency of two years in the United States and one year in the State from which the individual was applying. The applicant had to prove to the satisfaction of this court that he or she was of good moral character, and take an oath of allegiance to the Constitution. The judge then ruled on the naturalization petition.

Feeling that it had set the standards for citizenship too low, on January 29, 1795, Congress repealed the 1790 act and passed a more stringent law (1 Stat. 414). This law established the eligibility and procedural requirements that have since formed the foundation of United States naturalization policy and legislation. The naturalization procedure was changed from a one-step to a two-step process, and required the alien to first file a "declaration of intention" (sometimes referred to as the "first paper") at least three years prior to entering a "petition for admission to citizenship" (also known as the "second" or "final paper"). The residency requirement was increased to five years in the United States and one year in the State or territory in which the court of application was located. Individuals had to surrender any titles of nobility they held and renounce in court their allegiance to any foreign prince.

Over the years, naturalization proceedings have occurred in various courts: supreme, circuit, district, common pleas, chancery, probate, superior, and equity. By the turn of the 20th century, the steadily increasing number of immigrants entering the United States each year had increased the demands upon clerks of these courts, who did most of the work relating to naturalization. To relieve this burden and also to standardize naturalization procedures, Congress passed an act on June 29, 1906, which established a Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (32 Stat. 596). The bureau was to "provide for a uniform rule for the naturalization of aliens throughout the United States," and, as part of this process, standardized application forms were established. Despite the creation of this naturalization bureaucracy, the judge of the court where the applicant filed still retained the ultimate decision about whether or not to grant citizenship. However, the 1906 act specified that only a "court of record with unlimited civil jurisdiction could exercise naturalization jurisdiction."

By 1920 public support for liberal immigration and naturalization policies had begun to turn to opposition. Congress responded with the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924 (43 Stat. 153), which put a ceiling on the number of immigrants allowed to enter the United States each year from countries outside the Western Hemisphere. Within this ceiling was established the "national origins quota" system. The total number of immigrants to be admitted each year was to be divided among Eastern Hemisphere countries in proportion to the number of people already in the United States from those countries. The 1890 census and later the 1920 one were used as a basis for establishing the quotas. Census counts of blacks, East Asiatics, and American Indians were excluded from the quota computations, which eliminated any further need for the courts to determine racial eligibility for citizenship. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (66 Stat. 163) established national quotas of not fewer than 100 persons annually from all countries previously denied a quota. In 1965, the Immigration and Nationality Act (79 Stat. 911) replaced national quotas with annual ceilings for the number of immigrants from both Eastern and Western Hemispheres.

The District Court for the Northern District of California was created on September 28, 1850, about two weeks after California became a State, by the extension of the Federal Judiciary Act of 1850 (9 Stat. 521). The State was divided into two court districts along the 37th parallel, which cuts across the State slightly north of Monterey. On July 27, 1866, Congress made California into a single district with the court to meet primarily at San Francisco (14 Stat. 300). As a result, the Northern District had responsibility for the entire State.

On August 5, 1886, California was again divided into two judicial districts with boundaries delineated by counties (24 Stat. 308). The Northern District encompassed all the counties of California except Fresno, Kern, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura, which comprised the Southern District. On May 29, 1900, the counties of Inyo, Mariposa, and Merced were transferred from the Northern to the Southern District.

The history of the circuit courts in California parallels the district court history. Circuit courts for the Northern and Southern districts of California were established by Congress at the same time as the district courts, but all circuit court responsibilities were assigned to the district court judges. In response to the Northern District's overcrowded dockets, a special California circuit court was created in 1855 with a judge separate from and independent of the district court. The special circuit court was abolished in 1863 and the Tenth Circuit Court was established for California and Oregon. Nevada was added to the circuit in 1865. A reorganization of circuits in 1866 redefined California, Nevada, and Oregon as the Ninth Circuit. In 1886, when Congress reestablished the Northern and Southern Districts in California, it created a circuit court as well as a district court in each district. The appellate jurisdiction of the circuit courts was transferred to the newly created circuit courts of appeals in 1891. All the "old" circuit courts, including the Circuit Court for the Northern District of California, were abolished by the Judiciary Act of 1911, which also provided for the transfer of their records and remaining jurisdiction to the district courts.

On May 16, 1916, Congress divided the District Court for the Northern District of California into two divisions. One division, the northern, included most of the counties of the district, and had its cases heard in Sacramento. The other division, the southern, consisted of the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz. Cases arising in these counties were heard in San Francisco. When these two divisions became operative they each maintained separate dockets, thusending the tradition of one docket for the Northern District.

On March 18, 1966, California was divided into four judicial districts (80 Stat. 75). The "new" Northern District continued to sit in San Francisco, but its geographic area contracted. The counties of Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lamen, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba, formerly part of the Northern Division of the Northern District, were transferred to the new Eastern District. With this change, the Northern District returned to being a district with no divisions.

As part of the legislation creating four judicial districts, Congress authorized the Northern District to hold sessions in San Jose. Initially no changes were made in the way dockets were kept, but in 1973 the court in San Jose began keeping its own record of naturalizations. In 1984 the Southern Division of the Northern District was established, centered in San Jose, and encompassing the counties of Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz.

Records Description

The naturalization index cards described in this microfilm publication were generated by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California as finding aids for its naturalization records, which include records absorbed from some [U.S.] circuit courts in California. Naturalizations recorded in the minute books of the district and circuit courts described above received index cards.

The microfilmed index consists of 3- x 5- inch cards, covering the period 1852-ca. 1989. The cards are arranged alphabetically by surname and typically contain at least the declaration number and date, and/or the petition number and date. In some cases a volume and page number is provided rather than the date of issuance. Prior to 1912, when both the circuit and district courts performed naturalizations and maintained separate records, the cards indicate whether the naturalization occurred in circuit court ("CC") or district court ("DC"). Some of the cards also show the petitioner's certificate number, alien registration number, address, nationality, age, date of birth, signature, and name prior to naturalization; and the names, ages, and place of residence of the petitioner's wife and minor children.

Related Records

Some of the district and circuit court naturalization records covered by the index comprising this microfilm publication are also held by the National Archives-Pacific Sierra Region. For the district court, they include 221 volumes of declarations of intention, 1851-xxxx(1) [-1974, only declarations 1906-74 are indexed] (excluding the earliest declarations); 17 volumes of certificates of naturalization, 1852-1906; a volume of petitions and affidavits relating to naturalization, 1903-1906; 580 volumes of petitions and records of naturalization, 1907-1967; more than 35 linear feet of naturalization depositions, 1907-1958; more than 2 linear feet of petition for naturalization files, 1924-1956; 34 volumes of military petitions and records of naturalization, 1918-1946; 3 volumes of overseas military petitions for naturalization, 1944-1947; a volume of overseas military petitions for naturalization filed under Public Law 86, 1954-1955; and naturalizations recorded in the minute books published as part of T717, Records of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and Predecessor Courts, 1851-1950. All of these records were created by the District Court, Northern District of California at San Francisco.

Naturalization records of the circuit court covered by the index and held by the National Archives-Pacific Sierra Region include 20 volumes of certificates ("records") of naturalization, 1855-1906; xxxxxxxxxxx(2) [5 volumes of petitions and records of naturalization, 1903-1991], a register of applications for naturalization, 1879-1903; and naturalizations recorded in the minute books published as part of T717, Records of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and Predecessor Courts, 1851-1950. All of these records were created by the Circuit Court, Northern District of California.

Declarations of intention are arranged numerically. For most of the nineteenth century they contain the declarant's name, country of origin, and (usually) names of witnesses. Declarations made after 1906 contain more information, including the declarant's name, address, birthplace and birthdate, method and date of arrival in the United States, occupation, signature, and date of declaration.

Certificates of naturalization are arranged numerically by certificate number, and contain the certificate holder's name, homeland, date and place of filing the declaration of naturalization, names of witnesses, and date of citizenship.

Petitions are arranged sequentially by petition number. For most of the nineteenth century they contain the petitioner's name, country of origin, and (usually) names of witnesses. Petitions made after 1906 contain more information, including the petitioner's name, residence, occupation, homeland, date of arrival in the United States, date of the petition, some declaration information, the Oath of Allegiance of the petitioner, affidavits of witnesses, oaths of sponsors, and the court order granting citizenship. Military petitions contain slightly different information, including the petitioners military serial number, and in some cases the date of entry into and discharge from the military.

Naturalization depositions are arranged numerically by petition number, and consist of brief, standardized statements taken from witnesses in support of the petition for naturalization. The questions asked of each witness, such as where the witness first met the petitioner, and whether the petitioner is of good moral character, were printed on a deposition form, and the witness' response was filled in. The early files of the naturalization depositions sometimes contain declarations of intention in addition to or instead of naturalization depositions.

The petition for naturalization file is arranged by petition number for selected petitioners only; most petitioners are not represented in this series. A typical file contains a few pages of legal papers, such as subpoenas and requests for subpoenas, and correspondence. In a few cases, the file includes other documents, such as transcripts of testimony.

The naturalizations recorded in the minute books are arranged by date and provide only the name of the person naturalized.

Roll List

Although the index cards are arranged in alphabetical order overall, they  often are not in strict alphabetical order due to misfiling. As a result, it may be necessary to search forward and backward from the place where a particular name would properly be filed.

[Some index cards were accidently destroyed by the Court prior to filming. This appears to be limited to the latter part of the alphabet—S and W in particular.]

Roll Names

1 A-Majid, W. - Acio, N.
2 Ackaert, A.J. - Agorastos, T.E.
3 Agorastos, T.E. - Aldwell, M.N.
4 Ale, L.B. - Alves, I.
5 Alves, J.M. - Anderssen, H.
6 Andersson, A. - Araj, V.A.
7 Arakaki, M. - Arteaga, F.J.
8 Arteaga, F.J. - Aviles, I.
9 Aviles, I. -Bajuk, T.
10 Bajuk, T. - Baranoff, G.N.
11 Baranoff, G.N. - Basco, I.
12 Basco, I. - Becker, M.R.
13 Becker, M.R. -Bentham, L.G.
14 Bentham, L.G. - Bettencourt, L.
15 Bettencourt, L. - Blagoev, C.
16 Blagoev, C. - Bonal, A.K.
17 Bonal, A.K. - Bots, J.G.
18 Bott, A. - Brems, U.C.
19 Bren, A. - Bruno, M.B.
20 Bruno, M.B. - Burton, C.
21 Burton, C. - Cady, V.
22 Caers, A. - Campos, R.
23 Campos, R. - Carlson, B.
24 Carlson, B. - Cwtelo, J.B.
25 Castelo, J.B. - Certo, J.G.
26 Certo, J.G. - Chan, Q.
27 Chan, Q. - Charya, R.V.
28 Chas, D. - Cheung, L.
29 Cheung, L. - Ching, K.
30 Ching, K. - Chown, W.T.
31 Chown, W.T. - Ciardella, 0.
32 Ciardella, 0. - Cohn, L.
33 Cohn, L. - Coomey, M.A.
34 Coomey, M.A. - Cour, M.G. De La
35 Cour, M.G. De La - Cube, M.B.
36 Cube, M.B. - Dale, A.
37 Dale, A. - Davidson, Z.F.
38 Davidson, Z.F. - De Lemos, P. V.
39 De Lemos, P. V. - Dechi, A.M.
40 Dechi, A.M. - Delury, T.
41 Delury, T. - Dicks, C.L.
42 Dicks, C.L. - Doerge, C.
43 Doerge, C. - Doyle, M.
44 Doyle, M. - Duong, B.
45 Duong, B. - Eickmann, T.H.
46 Eickmann, T.H. - Erath, K.
47 Erath, K. - Estrada, L.
48 Estrada, L. - Farias, A.R.
49 Farias, A.R. - Fernandez, K.K.
50 Fernandez, K.K. - Fine, E.B.
51 Fine, E.B. - Fogel, A.
52 Fogel, A. - Fortino, A.
53 Fortino, A. - Freud, E.
54 Freud, E. - Gabriele, M.
55 Gabriele, M. - Garban, R.
56 Garban, R. - Gavin, D.J.
57 Gavin, C. - Ghiazza, P.
58 Ghiazza, P. - Gita, M.Z., Jr.
59 Gita, M.Z., Jr. - Gomez, C.
60 Gomez, C. - Gorick, E.B.
61 Gorick, E.B. - Greenhalgh, A.
62 Greenhalgh, A. - Guerrero, H.
63 Guerrero, H. - Guzik, N.E.
64 Guzik, N.E. - Hammel, B.
65 Hammel, B. - Harriss, H.
66 Harriss, H. - Hellmund, E.
67 Hellmund, E. - Heum, K.S.
68 Heum, K.S. - Hoang, T.C.
69 Hong, T.C. - Hoo, A.S.
70 Hoo, A.S. - Huda, A.A.A.
71 Huda, A.A.A. - Hyziak, F.P.
72 I, D. Y-P. - Issac, Z.M.
73 Issaeff, E. - Jarani, F.A.
74 Jarani, F.A. - Johal, A.S.
75 Johal, A.S. -Jorgens, N.C.
76 Jorgens, N.C. - Kalm, A.
77 Kalm, A. - Kauf, A.L.
78 Kauf, A.L. - Keuy, R.
79 Keuy, R. - Kiriakin, I.S.
80 Kiriakin, I.S. - Koeper, A.
81 Koeper, A. - Koufos, N.
82 Koufos, N. - Kul, A.B.
83 Kul, A.B. - Lacay, J.F.
84 Lacay, J.F. - Lan, A L.
85 Lan, A L. - Lau, D.C.F.
86 Lau, D.C.F. - Leal, P.T.
87 Leal, P.V. -Lee, J.M.F.
88 Lee, J.M.F. - Lee, Y.Y.
89 Lee, Y.Y. -Lett, A.
90 Lett, A. - Lian, D.W.
91 Lian, D.W. - Link, D.P.
92 Link, D.E. - Loftus, A.J.
93 Loftus, AT - Lota, L.S.
94 Lota, L.S. - Lucero, A.A.
95 Lucero, A.L. - Lundt, B.
96 Lundt, B. - Macchi, A.A.
97 Macchi, A.A. - Mah, A.
98 Mah, A. - Manalo, A.L.
99 Manalo, A.L. - Marco, A. Di
100 Marco, A. Di - Martin, J.
101 Martin, J. -Math, A.
102 Math, A. - McClelland, J.
103 McClelland, J. - McQuaid, A.
104 McQuaid, A. - Mendoza, A.B.
105 Mendoza, A.B. - Michal, E.A.
106 Michal, E.A. - Mintz, R.C.
107 Mintz, R.C. - Molinar, H.
108 Molinar, H. - Morales, Z.
109 Morales, Z. - Mow, D. K-L.
110 Mow, D. K-L. - Murray, Y.C.
111 Murray, Y.C. - Naval, V.V.
112 Naval, V. V. - Newman, A.
113 Newman, A. - Nguyen, T.B.
114 Nguyen, T.B. - Nomi, T.
115 Nomi, T. - O'Connell, A.
116 O'Connell, A. - Olsen, S.
117 Olsen, S. - Ortiz, G.G.
118 Ortiz, G.G. - Pagac, D.C.
119 Pagac, D.C. - Pantinople, J.S.
120 Panto, A. - Pascual, M.S.A.
121 Pascual, M.S.A. - Pedersen, K.H.
122 Pedersen, K.H. - Perez, O.G.
123 Perez, O.G. - Pettis, A.
124 Pettis, A. - Pineda, Z.A.
125 Pineda, Z.A. - Polzin, F.
126 Polzin, F. - Prchal, E.M.
127 Prchal, E.M. - Quen, E.T.
128 Quan, E.T. - Rainey, S.
129 Rainey, S. - Rau, G.
130 Rau, G. - Remers, F.
131 Remers, F. - Riddle, I.K.
132 Riddle, I.K. - Robinson, Z.R.B.
133 Robinson, Z.R.B. - Rom, A.
134 Rom, A. - Rossi, F.
135 Rossi, F. - Russo, G.
136 Russo, G. - Salem, F.
137 Salerno, F. - Sandoval, H.H.
138 Sandoval, H.H. - Sastre, L.A.
139 Sastre, L.A. - Schick, F.B.
140 Schick, F.B. - Schu, H.R.
141 Schu, H.R. - Selley, P.
142 Selley, P. - Shave, A.G.
143 Shave, A.G. - Sicco, P.
144 Sicco, P. - Singer, A.V.
145 Singer, A. V. - Soto, Z.R.
146 Soto, Z.R. - Stam, N.
147 Stam, N. - Stok, J.F.
148 Stok, J.F. - Taga, C.B.
149 Taga, C.B. - Tanklage, A.
150 Tanklage, A. - Tha, I.K.
151 Tha, I.K. - Titone, P.
152 Titone, P. - Tse, A.
153 Tse, A. - Ulloa, R.
154 Ulloa, R. - Vallin, R.
155 Vallin, R. - Vehr, S.
156 Vehr, S. - Walker, T.C.
157 Walker, T.C. - Wedel, J.G.
158 Wedel, J.G. - Wicht, J.L.
159 Wicht, I.L. - Wong, M. (cards missing Wong, C. - Wong, H.)
160 Wang, M. - Worku, T.
161 Worku, T. - Yates, A.F.
162 Yates, A.F. - Yoo, A.S.N.
163 Yoo, A.S.N. - Zacharin, A.T.
164 Zacharin, A.T. - Zen, P.C.K.
165 Zen, P.C.K. - Zyznomyrskyj, Z.B.
and memorandums received in 1992 regarding naturalized
individuals who subsequently changed their names or lost their
U.S. citizenship.

(1) Original text: "1955."

(2) Original text: "4 volumes of petitions and records of naturalization, 1907-1911; a volume of petitions and affadavits relating to naturalization, 1903, 1906;"

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