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

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.

12 thoughts on “Family Tree Friday: Info about U.S. citizens in immigration records.

  1. 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

  2. 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.


    1. Hi,

      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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Hi.
    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?

    1. 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,

  6. 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!

    1. 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!


  7. I am a naturalized citizen. My father was American born , my mother was foreign born and so was I. I was born in France 59 years ago. Where can I go to get a copy of my birth certificate? I have been to the state department in DC where they told me I am unregistered birth. I have gone to school , worked, married in states, paid taxes. I have a Virginia ID but Georgia doesn’t recognize expired passports after 5 years. I have just done a year in school and all I want to do is go to work and get a valid id so can see a doctor, get insurance.

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