Immigration and Naturalization Records
Aliens seeking to become citizens of the United States must go through
a process called naturalization, which consists of a series of filings
with a court. These papers may include a declaration of intent, a renunciation
of former allegiance, oaths, affidavits and various other documents proving
legal entry and good character.
County courts in New York generally have large collections of these
records, some being loose papers just as they were filed, others being
recorded in books. Quite often immigration records will contain information
about the place of birth, and sometimes there is a great deal more, particularly
after the turn of the 20th century when a wealth of detail was collected
by the authorities about potential citizens.
All immigration and naturalization papers filed with Yates County courts
are in the custody of the County Clerk. They are indexed by name, as they
appear on the records themselves. The researcher will notice that most
names on the index are repeated several times, and this means that several
papers were filed or recorded by that individual. The index entries consist
of the immigrant's name (be sure to check variant spellings) followed either
by a date and a file number, or by a capital letter denoting a book and
a page number.
Because of its size, the index has been broken into five sections: