The Galveston County District Clerk’s office has a wonderful selection of immigration and naturalization records. Galveston County served as a major point of entry into the United States for many years. Immigration and naturalization records are currently maintained by the Federal Government, however, from the 1860’s until the 1950’s they were maintained by the State Courts. Our office is proud to serve as the custodian of these vital and interesting records, which are an important part of our Nation’s rich history.
The Declaration of Intention was executed by the immigrant under oath, and in the presence of a Clerk of Court. This document was the immigrant’s formal statement that he or she lawfully entered the Country, and intended to reside permanently in the United States. These documents include great details about the immigrant, (including a physical description), and may also contain a photo of the immigrant taken at the time the declaration was made.
The Oath of Allegiance, (which was included as part of the Petition for Citizenship/Naturalization), was signed by the immigrant in the presence of a Clerk of the Court. This Oath includes the immigrant’s declaration that he or she has renounced any and all allegiance to any, “…foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty…”, and will support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
The Certificate of Arrival, which was issued by the United States Department of Labor, uncluded the name of the person entering the Country, their Port of entry, as well as the name of the vessel that carried them to their new home.
These documents were filed with the Court and serve as the immigrant’s formal legal request to become a citizen of the United States. These Petitions include fascinating details about the immigrant’s personal life and journey to citizenship.