Cook County Declarations of Intention Database

29 Jun

On my Family History Research Tips blog I wrote about filling in the gaps in my research. One example I gave was recording the Immigration, Declaration and Naturalization information for the immigrants in my main lines. Once this is complete I will move on to their siblings and children who also immigrated.

In Chicago there are a few ways to find out if an immigrant filed for Naturalization. One is to contact IRAD, the Illinois Regional Archives Depository and ask them to search the index for you. If you send them a letter with no more than two names, include as many of the following variables as you can: the date of birth, spouse, origin, a street address if you have one, an approximate date of Naturalization and immigration, they can search for you. If IRAD finds a potential match, they will mail you a photocopy of the index card(s) and you can write to them, or the County to obtain the documents.

Another resource is the ongoing indexing of the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Naturalization Declarations of Intention’s database.  Their page has a search form where you can enter just a last name or as many of the variables as you know. Just by entering a last name will pull up that specific spelling and other spellings, if the information is already in the index. This is an ongoing project so check back regularly if your ancestor’s name does not appear.

I have Alexander Urban’s original Declaration, but if I did not have a copy, I can utilize the search feature. I type in Alexander Urban and up pops five possible men (at this point in time). The last names include Urban, Urbanek, Urbanik, and Urbanski. I had Alexander’s date of birth so I was able to click the first Alexander Urban to appear and see his record. His record details are:

Record Details for Volume 101
Page Number: 316
Declaration Number: 49116
BREMEN, GERMANY 1/13/1905 11/17/1914

Knowing this information, I can print out the record search request form and mail it to the Clerk of the Circuit Court with my payment. The Declaration will be located and mailed to me. I can also request the Naturalization Document or try IRAD for the document if it falls within the years they have those records.

The FAQ page of the webpage has a lot of great information on it such as what information is presented in the Declaration; Where do I find records before 1906 and after 1929; Why can’t I find a certain individual; and Could women file a Declaration. Information most of us probably know, but sometimes need a refresher on.

The last resource I have used is contacting the National Archives, Great Lake Branch, to conduct a search for records.  A wealth of information regarding genealogical research exists on their webpage.

Unfortunately for me, Alexander Urban died before he was Naturalized. I know very little about his life because he was not in this country long enough to have had many documents created about him. My husband’s family knows very little about him because he died leaving two children who were only nine and 10 years old when he died. Their mother remarried roughly 10 years after Alexander died. The fortunate thing is we do have one photograph of him which exists on his grave stone.

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One response to “Cook County Declarations of Intention Database

  1. Thomas MacEntee

    June 29, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    You’ve pointed out another great resource for Chicago and Iliinois researchers! You rock!


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