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Family Tree Friday: Info about U.S. citizens in immigration records.

by on August 20, 2010

Even though passenger arrival records were intended to document foreign or alien immigrants coming into the United States, you will occasionally find U.S. citizens listed on the vessel manifests as well.  In the 19th century records, they are much harder to locate, their names generally mixed together with the alien arrivals.  You have to note their country of origin to determine any American-born passengers.  In the 20th century passenger records, the task of identifying U.S. citizens becomes much easier.  In the 1920s, immigration officials started using INS form 630, “List of U.S. Citizens,” which required ship captains to record the names of all native-born or naturalized Americans or citizens of territorial possessions of the United States arriving at a U.S. or territorial port from abroad.

List of U.S. citizens aboard the SS City of Hamburg, arrving at Baltimore from Le Havre, France on August 30, 1933.

List of U.S. citizens aboard the SS City of Hamburg, arriving at Baltimore on August 30, 1933.

The lists of U.S. citizens contained far fewer questions than the alien manifests, but offered more pertinent information about the passengers.  Specifically, the lists identified each U.S. citizen’s name, age, sex, marital status, date and place of birth, and current address in the United States.  For naturalized citizens, the forms required the respondent to give the name and location of the court that issued their naturalization papers, and the date of naturalization.  For all U.S. citizens, native-born or naturalized, the forms usually included handwritten notations regarding their U.S. passport number and date of issuance.

Lists of U.S. citizens can be found in the immigration records for most major U.S. ports at the National Archives, although there are no specific indexes that distinguish between alien and U.S. citizen arrivals (citizens are usually included in the general index for a particular port).  Some of the published records on microfilm, such as A3361, Register of Citizen Arrivals (1943-1947) and Alien Arrivals (1936-1949) by Aircraft at San Francisco, California, specifically note the inclusion of U.S. citizen information, but in most cases you will need to search the records of a particular port to see if U.S. citizens are included.


Ruben Guzman August 25, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Do you ever have occasion to help people find their roots. For example, i’ve heard that my family come partly from the Yaqui (Guzman) and Apache (Jasso) but have no idea how to verify any of this

Mary (admin) August 30, 2010 at 9:14 am

Hi Ruben,

Thanks for your interest in Native American records. We’ll send you an email with further information on how to locate your records. In the meantime, check out our NARA Coast to Coast post on Native American records to see more closely what types of records NARA has on the subject.

WFD April 18, 2011 at 9:36 am

How would I find naturalization records from DC? My great grandmother has listed on one port that she was naturalized in Washington, but I have no idea where to start. I cannot find anything with just a search.


Katherine April 20, 2011 at 4:22 pm


We hold naturalization records from DC in the National Archives Building in DC. You can send us an email to Be sure to include as much information as you already know, as it should help us in our search.

– Katherine

Jennie Ramirez August 3, 2011 at 8:40 pm

I am trying to find out how to get my number I do no iam apache & in 1994 i recevied a check but never follow thru with it so i no we have a number ,,,My father name was john ramirez born 9/20/35, grandfather name was louie ramirez,can you please help me with this

Nichole (admin) August 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Hi Jennie,

Please send a detailed request to our general reference email: They can figure out if we have what you’re looking for or, if we don’t, direct you to who does.

Thanks for your question!

Ellen Lowe April 5, 2012 at 12:26 am

I’m looking for the Declaration of Intent of my uncle, Irving Slifkin, petition #433245, U. S. Disrict Court at Brooklyn, New York. Thank you for helping me.

Sue Hammes July 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I am a Naturalized Citizen born in China. My father was a US citizen. I have to get a new copy of my birth certificate and my naturalization papers before I get Social Security. As a child, I remember going to a Milwaukee (Wisconsin) court where my papers were turned in by my parents to be registered. Where can I get duplicates?

Meredith D. (admin) July 11, 2012 at 11:16 am

Hi Sue,

If your father was a US citizen, your birth might have been registered with the State Department, so we suggest you start your search there. If you were born after 1940, see . If your birth was prior to 1940, we will likely have the record at the National Archives in College Park. You can contact the reference staff directly at: .

For your naturalization record, you can apply for a replacement document at the USCIS:

Best of luck with your research,

Judy Duchat December 8, 2012 at 10:35 am

I have a friend that is homeless because he needs an ID to get a job. However he is a naturalized citizen and does not have his naturalization papers and his birth certificate in order to get the ID. It has been a vicious circle of the State of Fl agencies and other ocal agencies sending him form one place to the next with no one helping him. Can you lead me in a direction to help him that will not cost alot of money!

Kristen (admin) January 4, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Hi Judy,
Depending on the time frame, your friend’s paperwork could be in the Regional Archives system or it could still be with US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). I think your best bet would be to contact the USCIS or visit their webpage for information on additional services. You may also want to send a detailed request for information to the National Archives reference archivists at, with information such as your friend’s name, birth place, birth date and place of initial arrival in the United States. With these details, they may be able to help determine whether the National Archives has accessioned his paperwork yet.

I hope this helps, and good luck with your search!


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