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Declarations & Petitions for Naturalization

Upon arriving in the United States, the immigrant had the option to declare their intent to apply for U.S. Citizenship by renouncing their allegiance to the ruler of the country in which they immigrated from. For the millions of Polish immigrants who entered the United States through ports located along the eastern coast, this meant that allegiance to the Emperor of Germany, King of Prussia, Czar of Russia, or Emperor of Austria be renounced in order to take an oath of allegiance to the United States. Although the process was available to all immigrants, not every person took advantage of the opportunity.

To begin the process, a Declaration of Intention was filed in order to renounce the allegiance to foreign governments and to also prove a length of residence within the United States. Typically, the declaration of intent was filed within two years of the immigrant's arrival into the country. Again, some immigrants never started the process and others waited many years before filing a declaration of intent.

Approximately one to three years after the filing of the declaration of intent, the alien would file a petition for citizenship, often called "final papers." The petitions were often recorded in a local municipal court, usually in the town where the person resided. The documents would later be filed with the county clerk, where the records can now be accessed for genealogical research. In the petition, the alien signed an oath of allegiance to the United States in the witness of two men who would also vouch that they knew the applicant and knew of their place of residence in the U.S.

Finally, after all of the necessary steps were completed, the alien was sworn in as a citizen of the United States and issued a certificate. These certificates were issued from the same court as the petitions were filed within.

The earliest declaration of intent and petition for citizenship in Albion were filed by Joseph Danielewski, with his petition having been filed in 1883. Based on that information, it is likely that he had immigrated around 1878 and possibly earlier. The next application would be made by Stephen Danielewski in 1886 which opened the gates for other immigrants in the coming years. The signatures accompanying the documents are those of Irish men, indicating that the employers and fellow workers within the quarries acted as witnesses during the signing of the oath.

1875-1900 Petitions for Citizenship

Early Petitions Filed in Albion Town & Village - First Polish Immigrants to Albion

All of the Polish immigrants in the earliest years renounced their allegiance from the Emperor of Germany, confirming the prior hypothesis that the quick development of a Catholic parish in Albion was due, in part, to the geographical origin of the immigrants.

Last Name First Name Year
Danielewski Joseph 1883
Daniels Stephen 1886
Gurney Walenty 1886
Szymkowiak Lawrence 1886
Mager August 1887
Chmiel Walenty 1887
Chmiel John 1887
Jozwiak John 1887
Radzimski John 1887
Mikalowski Louis 1887
Grzechowiak Ignatz 1887
Cichocki Joseph 1887
Gurzinski Julius 1887
Kosmowski Martin 1887