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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:

       A - C        D - H          I - M         N - R        S - Z
The Yates County Historian will copy immigration records cited in this index for $1 a page. 

To receive your copies in reasonably timely fashion, you must:

  • give the immigrant's name; 
  • the exact citation from the index;
  • your name and postal address.
  • put the phrase "County Historian Immigration Record Request" in the subject line. 
The copies will be sent to you with a bill. 

Submit copy request