Index to Naturalizations of World War I Soldiers, 1918. NARA microfilm publication M1952, 4 rolls. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group 85. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. NAI: 4486701.
United States, World War I Soldier Naturalizations, 1918 provided by Fold3.com © Copyright 2011 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. All use is subject to the limited use license and other terms and conditions applicable to this site.
This database contains an index extracted from typewritten index cards with names, dates of naturalization, and court numbers for soldiers in WWI whose naturalizations were facilitated so they could serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.
A 9 May 1918 act of Congress stated that “any alien serving in the military or naval service of the United States during the time this country is engaged in the present war may file his petition for naturalization without making the preliminary declaration of intention and without proof of the required five years residence within the United States.” Tens of thousands took advantage of this provision and applied for U.S. citizenship. NARA notes that “many soldiers filed petitions and were naturalized the same day.” Soldiers were naturalized at their posts or nearby courts. Again, as NARA explains:
”The expedited naturalization of soldiers could have been performed at either a Federal, State or local court having jurisdiction over the soldier's military base, or a judge from any of those courts might have held ‘naturalization court’ at the military base. In either case, one copy of the petition should be on file in the court's records. Another copy was filed with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), which holds duplicate copies of all naturalizations granted after September 26, 1906.”
What’s in the Records
The cards indexed in this database are themselves an index to these soldiers’ petitions for naturalization. The index in this database includes both name and court number, which can be used to locate the naturalization documents themselves.
The images of the cards, which can be accessed at Fold3, also typically list
- naturalization date
- certificate number
- military base (not always included)
Locating the Naturalization Documents
While the naturalization documents themselves are not found in this database, the information found on the index cards can help you find a soldier’s Petition for Naturalization. According to NARA, “If the soldier's name appears in the index file, the index card will contain the soldier's name, date of naturalization, court of naturalization (indicated by court number), certificate number, and name of the military base to which the soldier was assigned as of that date. The court number can be converted to the name of an actual court (i.e., U.S. District Court, Trenton, NJ) by reference to the Directory of Courts having Jurisdiction in Naturalization Proceedings.” From there, you can begin your search for that court’s records.
NARA quotes taken from NARA description pamphlet for publication M1952.