A Guide to the Portsmouth (Va.) Naturalization Records, 1843-1891 )Portsmouth (Va.) Naturalization Records, 1843-1891 1178830

A Guide to the Portsmouth (Va.) Naturalization Records, 1843-1891

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers 1178830


Library of Virginia

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© 2011 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Library of Virginia staff

The Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers:
Portsmouth (Va.) Naturalization Records, 1843-1891
Physical Characteristics
.45 cu. ft. (1 box)
Portsmouth (Va.) Circuit Court
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Portsmouth (Va.) Naturalization Records, 1843-1891. Local government records collection, Portsmouth (City) Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

Acquisition Information

These items came to the Library of Virginia in shipments of court papers from Portsmouth.

Historical Information

Portsmouth was established in 1752 in Norfolk County, a county which is now extinct. Incorporated as a town in 1836, it was incorporated as a city in 1858. The city of Norfolk was established in 1680 and in 1845 was incorporated as an independent city.

Prior to 1906, the naturalization process was the responsibility of local and state courts. Declarations of intent were the record by which an applicant for U.S. citizenship declared their intent to become a citizen and renounced their allegiance to a foreign government. A declaration of intention normally preceded proof of residence or a petition to become a citizen by two or more years. Beginning in 1795, a person could declare their intent to become a citizen at any time and in any place after they arrived in the United States.

Scope and Content

Portsmouth (Va.) Naturalization Records, 1843-1891, include affidavits, reports for naturalization, declarations of intent to become United States citizens, and notices of application for admission of citizenship. The reports are narrative accounts made by applicants summarizing their journey to the United States. The declarations of intent record the person's name, place of birth, age, country of previous citizenship, renunciation of allegiance and fidelity to the nation of which the person is currently a citizen, and the date the intention was sworn. Also found in the collection are affivdavits filed with the reports and declarations. They were given by individuals who knew the applicant and could vouch for their loyalty to the United States. Declarations of intent from other states such as Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania are found in the collection. The notices for applications are lists of individuals who have petitioned the court for naturalization. Information included in the lists are name of petitioner, place of birth, residence, date of arrival in the United States, place of arrival, date of hearing, and name and residence of witnesses.


Arranged chronologically by date naturalization record was recorded.

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

  • Portsmouth (Va.) Circuit Court.
  • Subjects:

  • Immigrants -- Virginia -- Portsmouth.
  • Naturalization -- Virginia -- Portsmouth.
  • Geographical Names:

  • Portsmouth (Va.) -- History -- 19th century.
  • Genre and Form Terms:

  • Local government records -- Virginia -- Portsmouth.
  • Naturalization records -- Virginia. -- Portsmouth.

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

  • Portsmouth (Va.) -- History -- 19th century.