Mason Co, Illinois
Naturalization was generally a two step process that took a minimum of 5 years to complete. After living in the United States for at least 2 years, a non-citizen could file their "declaration of intent", also called their "first papers", which was the first step for becoming naturalized. After 3 more years they could then file for a "petition for naturalization" and if approved, would then be issued a certificate of citizenship.|
The first papers and the final petition did not have to be filed in the same court, and were at times filed in the next county over if it was more convienent, or in a different state if they had moved during those 3 years.
Prior to 1922, if a man was naturalizaed his wife automatically became a naturalized citizen. If an alien woman married a man who was an United States citizen, she would automatically become a naturalized citizen. Prior to 1940, children under the age of 21 years would become naturalized citizens at the time that their father became naturalized. Prior to 1906, a minor who had lived in the U.S. for 5 years before their 23rd birthday could file their declarations & petitions at the same time. Any man who had served in the U.S. Army and been honorably discharged, and had lived in the U.S. for at least one year, could petition for naturalization without filing a declaration first.
Complete transcription of records
Declarations of Intention", County Court, 1861-1906
"Naturalization Record, Final", Volume "A", Circuit Court, 1859-1884
"Second Papers", Volume "A", County Court, 1868-1902
"Soldiers & Minors", Circuit Court, 1865-1880
"Soldiers & Minors", County Court, 1868-1902