Friday, October 21, 2011

Follow-up Friday - Dane County, Wisconsin Naturalization Records

I'm writing "Follow-Up Friday" posts in order to highlight comments made by readers that raise issues, and I will try to make useful responses.

In my post Treasure Chest Thursday - A Certificate of Naturalization for T.S. Leland, Geolover commented that:

"Randy, your series is useful in indirectly pointing out that many governmental jurisdictions have sent original records to other repositories.

"You still have not said why you decided not to go to the County Courthouses.

"In response to your question about location of declarations of intention, I took a quick look at the LDS Family History Library Catalog. This lists Declarations and Oaths on microfilm for two different Dane County courts and for a Madison Municipal Court.,+Dane&author_givenName=&author_surname=&uri=http%3A//catalog-search-api%3A8080/www-catalogapi-webservice/search%3Fquery%3Dsubject_id%3A360067%26count%3D50&subjectId=360067

"The naturalization case files containing these may still be in the Courts' storage facilities, but it is possible that some were discarded when the book you looked at was transferred to the Historical Society. Possibly the Historical Society also has the microfilm, but the person you talked to did not know how to look it up."

Thank you for the comment, Geolover. 

Indeed, one of my major purposes in writing almost every blog post is to demonstrate that "All records are not on the Internet" (but there are many!), not on Family History Library microfilm (again, there are many records on microfilm), or in local, regional or national libraries/archives.  By highlighting a set of records found in a State Archive, my hope is that other researchers will consider looking at the resources in State Archives.

I decided not to go to the Dodge County, Wisconsin court house because I knew from my reading that the files in that county were burned in 1877.  Since my Devier Smith and Ranslow Smith left Dodge County in 1867, I figured that I would not find anything if I went to the Dodge County Courthouse.

I didn't go to the Dane County Courthouse because of severe time limitations.  My wife had suffered through three days of driving on our vacation, and waiting for me to do research in Dodge and Dane Counties, and was eager to do something more useful and fun.  So we went looking for homesteads and graveyards in Dane county rather than going to the Courthouse.  I also figured that the land and probate records for her Norwegian families in Dane County were probably on FHL microfilm and could be found during a visit to the FHL in Salt Lake City.

As Geolover pointed out, the Family History Library Catalog has Dane County naturalization records.  An index is available in Naturalization card index for Dane County, Wisconsin, which I think is the card file that I accessed at the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives.  I can't find an FHL microfilm description that matches the book of records that I accessed for Torger S. Leland's declaration.  In this case, accessing the naturalization records at the State Archives was probably the best option, but I didn't know that before  I went.  There may be naturalization record files at some other repository also, as Geolover suggested. 

It seems like our work is never done, doesn't it? 

1 comment:

Gerry said...

This is why it's so useful for local groups--whether Local History societies or Genealogical societies--to gather records and create indexes to records and do what we can to post information online to guide researchers to records for our particular place. You perform an important service when you remind people that there are many, many ways to scale a brick wall.