Wisconsin. Circuit Court (Racine County): Naturalization Records, 1837-1982

Scope and Content Note


The Racine County Naturalization Records are divided into three categories: Declarations of Intention, Petitions, and Ancillary Records.

The original system of identifying volumes by number or letter was retained because the indexes are often keyed to this system. To eliminate confusion when requesting a particular volume, the researcher should specify not only the volume number but also the type of volume (e.g. Declarations of Intention) and dates.

For preservation purposes some volumes have been dismantled and placed in boxes. These volume numbers are designated by parentheses in the Container List for identification purposes; the box number is listed for circulation purposes.

All records are available in both original format and on microfilm.

Declarations of Intention

Declarations of Intention for 1837-1881 are contained in Boxes 1-12 and are indexed in Volumes 1 and 2. Volume 1 gives the name, date of filing, and the declaration number. The key information is the declaration number, which corresponds to the numbers assigned to Declarations in Boxes 2-12. Names in Volume 1 are grouped by first letter of last name and chronologically therein.

Only a few Declarations are indexed in Volume 2 and these are mostly for the autumn of 1880. These are arranged the same as in Volume 1, and the numbers assigned start over with number 1. Declarations indexed in Volume 2 are filed in the first folder of each alphabetical segment in Boxes 1-12.

There is no cumulative index for Declarations filed in the 1881-1975 period. These Declarations are contained in Volumes 3-57. There is an index for each volume at the beginning of each volume. These indexes are grouped in alphabetical segments by first letter of last name and give the page number (for Volumes 3-13) or declaration number (for Volumes 14-57).

For those individuals who filed Declarations in the 1880-1905 period and went on to complete the naturalization process in Racine County, copies of their Declarations can be found in Boxes 13-14, filed in alphabetical segments by first letter of last name. Since these were filed between 1880 and 1905, the actual documents often date earlier.


The Petitions are indexed in Volume 1, on Reel 23 and in the Card Index.

The beginning place is the Card Index, 1838-1982. It is an alphabetical index, but frequently the order has been mixed. Therefore, if a name is not found in the proper alphabetical sequence in this index, the researcher should search all entries for that letter of the alphabet. This index is contained in thirteen card drawers, plus four additional drawers referred to on their labels as an “addendum.” Entries in the “addendum” drawers are usually not additions but rather duplicates of some entries in the first thirteen drawers.

Petitions filed in the 1838-1881 period are contained in Boxes 2-7. They are indexed in Volume 1 the same way as the Declarations: in alphabetical segments, giving the name, date of filing, and the petition number, which corresponds to the numbers assigned the Petitions in Boxes 2-7. For Petitions filed in this period, the Card Index will merely refer the researcher to Volume 1.

For Petitions filed in the 1881-1982 period (contained in Volumes 2-95), the Card Index gives the volume and page number (Volumes 2-37) or the volume and petition number (Volumes 38-75). The cards in the four “addendum” drawers give more information such as filing date, witnesses, and certificate number, but the volume and page or petition number are really all that is needed to locate a Petition.

The loose Petitions included in Boxes 9-14 are duplicates of those found in Volumes 5 and 6, 1905-1906.

The index contained on microfilm Reel 23, should be consulted only if the name in question cannot be found in the Card Index. It gives the date and references Volume 1 for Petitions filed 1838-1881 and contained in Boxes 2-7. It gives the year, volume, and page or petition number for those filed in 1881-1964 and contained in Volumes 2-90. It is not, however, arranged in alphabetical order, but rather by alphabetical segments, thus making it much more difficult to search than is the Card Index. It is included in the collection only in the event that a name may have inadvertently been left out of the Card Index.

Ancillary Records

DEPOSITIONS OF WITNESSES, 1909-1957, are from additional witnesses required for applicants who lived outside the state during part of their required residency period. They have been assigned numbers corresponding to the petitioners' petition numbers.

REPATRIATION APPLICATIONS, 1937-1959, are arranged chronologically by date filed and include a name index. Repatriations are from women applying for citizenship who believed they had lost or never gained citizenship as a result of the Married Woman's Act. These forms include information concerning how the applicant lost her citizenship, a court order repatriating her, and an oath of allegiance.

ORDERS GRANTING AND DENYING PETITIONS, 1930-1982, are arranged chronologically and contain lists of petitions noting petition numbers granted or denied and name change if applicable. There is no name index to these documents.

CERTIFICATE OF NATURALIZATION STUBS, 1904-1926, consist of the certificate stub retained by the circuit court. Usually these are maintained in their original chronological order, but in Racine County they were taken out of the books and grouped by the first letter and first vowel of the last name.