USCIS Genealogy Program Registry Files
Recently I have been looking for surname Registry Files from 1929 to 1944. That has lead me to the USCIS genealogy resource at the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Program.
A little-known program of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides genealogy information that may be difficult or impossible to obtain elsewhere.
The records include naturalization files, visa applications, and citizenship tests, and may reveal family secrets and mysteries. In addition to relatives, historians or researchers can also request files.
The approximately 250,000 Registry Files remain in USCIS custody and survive in their original paper form. They contain applications, testimony, evidence, correspondence, a photo, and a decision granting or denying Registry.
Registry Files are arranged by Registry File Number (i.e., R-#####) and indexed by name and number.
The Basic Naturalization Act of 1906 first required a record of lawful entry admission as a prerequisite to naturalization. The effect of the new law became apparent five years later, in 1911, when numerous immigrants were unable to naturalize because there was no record of their admission, or no such record could be found.
These people could not naturalize until Congress provided relief with the Registry Act of 1929. (www uscis gov)
USCIS Index Search
Using biographical information provided by the researcher, USCIS searches its historical immigration and naturalization record indices for citations related to a specific immigrant. Search results (record citations) are returned to the researcher, along with instructions on how to request the file(s) from USCIS or the National Archives. Fee: $20
USCIS Record Copy Request
Researchers with valid record citations (USCIS file numbers), gained through a USCIS Genealogy Program index search or through independent research, may request copies of historical immigration and naturalization records. Fee: $20/$35 depending on the record type.
The records and their span dates available through the USCIS Genealogy Program are:
- Naturalization Certificate Files (C-files) from September 27, 1906 to April 1, 1956;
- Alien Registration Forms from August 1, 1940 to March 31, 1944;
- Visa files from July 1, 1924 to March 31, 1944;
- Registry Files from March 2, 1929 to March 31, 1944;
- Alien Files (A-files) numbered below 8 million (A8000000) and documents therein dated prior to May 1, 1951.
Individuals may submit genealogy records requests by using the forms, G-1041 – Genealogy Index Search Request and G-1041A – Genealogy Records Request. Both forms are available on the USCIS Genealogy Program page at: http://www.uscis.gov/genealogy.
The fees are:
Genealogy Index Search – $20
Copy of a File on Microfilm – $20
Copy of a Textual File Copy – $35
Send your completed form and fee payment to:
USCIS Genealogy Program
P.O. Box 805925
Chicago, IL 60680-4120