Searching for Multnomah County, Oregon Naturalization Files; part 2

By Connie Lenzen, CGSM

A 1913 naturalization record.

Naturalization is a two-step process.

1. The alien presented himself to a court to file a declaration of intention to become a citizen. This declaration is sometimes referred to as "first papers." It had to be filed at least two years (three years prior to 1824) before he could be admitted to citizenship. It could be filed in any city, county, state, or federal court, established as a judicial tribunal to hear and determine cases. Most people went to a court convenient to where they were living. 

2. After this declaration was on file for at least two years and having been a U.S. resident for at least five years, the alien again presented himself to a court. It may or may not have been the first court. He filed a petition for citizenship with supporting affidavits, including witnesses' statements in support of his residency claim, and an oath of allegiance. These papers are referred to as his "second" or "final papers." 

 When the court ordered him admitted to citizenship, it issued a certificate of naturalization.

After September 1906, the court sent a duplicate copy of the records to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The original copy is often found in court registers. The following three pages illustrate what can be found.

On 19 December 1913, David Holden Forbes filed a two-page Petition for Naturalization at the Multnomah County, Oregon Circuit Court.

Page 1.

David Forbes's Petition

Page 2

David Forbes' Oath

Along with his petition, he submitted a duplicate copy of his declaration of intent that he had filed on 23 August 1905 at the Supreme Court of the State of New York, First Judicial District.

Source: Multnomah County, Oregon, Petition and Record Book 9:189, David Holden Forbes, 5 September 1913; Multnomah County Circuit Court File Room, Portland.

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Connie Lenzen, CG

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