Friday morning I had a talk with Craig Carlson of the Albany County Hall of Records. He
confirmed that their online database index was only for people who were actually
naturalized in Albany Co. (which would have occurred in the City of Albany). He agreed
that some people could have a residence in other counties and yet still be naturalized in
I learned that there are 61,000 people in the naturalization index and that they are in
the process of indexing the Declarations of Intention. There are 7,000 indexed so far;
they probably will not post them until the index is complete.
They charge $14 per hour for a search of their records. In the case of naturalizations,
the $14 would include copies of both the Intentions and Naturalizations if they both
occurred in the county.
To use the search engine for the naturalizations, go to:
Click on Naturalization Index
Click on Search our Database
Your ancestor may not have been recorded with the same spelling that is used today. For
example, my Smith ancestor was born Schmidt. Directions say that you can browse the
entire database by leaving all fields blank and clicking on Search. However, this
procedure leads to an error message and no data. It used to work when they had posted a
partial list of people, but it is now too large to work.
Another approach would be to search for a last name of S only. That brings up the
first of 556 screens of records beginning with the letter S, which must be viewed in
order, 9 records at a time. Or, you could shorten the search by entering Sm or
Schm . The search engine will show every last name beginning with whatever combination
of letters that you enter.
I had a talk with the computer services office to see if more records per search could be
allowed, and if there could be a way to browse the records without going to each screen in
order. With the S's, it would take at least five minutes to get to the middle of them
now if you wanted to browse them. Browsing can be very important. Bailey might also be
spelled Bailie, Baily, Bayley and Bayly. If you don't think of all of those
variations, you could miss the person you are looking for. Remember that the early
records were always handwritten, and a modern transcriber often has a very difficult time
deciphering the exact spelling of a name. One wrong letter and the search engine
won't find it unless you think of the variation of the spelling.
To save time with a common name, if you put in the whole surname (Smith), a first initial
in the first name field (J) would start the search at Jacob Smith.
To get a list of all of the people who resided in a certain village or city, enter just
that name in the residence field. I learned that over 1600 people naturalized in Albany
were actually living in Troy (Rensselaer Co.) at the time, 200 lived in Schenectady, and
about 275 people were living in Hudson (Columbia Co.). These are all cities within 25
miles of Albany. Also, try the county name without the word county.
I was told that computer services would look into making the records more browseable.
They may offer the search engine plus a second option of many more records on a webpage
for easy browsing. The webmaster was very interested in making things easier for