All the naturalization documents at the Montour County Courthouse from 1850 through 1957 have been microfilmed and are available on microfiche in the MCGS Genealogy Room. A complete index is available. If you are unable to come to Danville and would like to see if your ancestor is listed, please e-mail me, Megan Ryan, with the full name and I will check for you. There is no charge for this service. Good quality prints of the documents are available at $5.00 per name plus a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Declarations of Intention will usually be two pages (the document and the docketing information), while Petitions for Citizenship may include three to six pages. Please direct mail requests to MCGS, Attention Naturalization Lookups, 317 Ferry Street, Danville, PA 17821.
What can you expect to discover about your immigrant ancestor when you locate a copy of his/her naturalization papers? Sometimes not a lot - we've read papers of those who aren't sure how old they are or when or where they arrived in the country, and many who couldn't sign their own name. Sometimes there is a treasure trove of information - what town or county they emigrated from, when they arrived in the United States, what port they came into, their age, their signature, and, in the 1900's, occupation, spouse, children and additional details - even, perhaps, a photo. Sometimes the declaration of intention was filed in a different state or county, showing where they were before they came to Montour County (we've found some from Iowa and California for instance). Since those who served in the military (what we've seen to date is from the Civil War) did not need to file a declaration of intention and were eligible to file a petition for citizenship, those papers will contain a brief record of that person's military service. Perhaps one can find clues by seeing whom the individual chose to testify as to his character and residency, as was required by law. It is our hope that these documents will prove to be very helpful to those with Montour County ancestry.