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Naturalization Records Index

 

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Naturalization is the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. Prior to 1906 and even well into the 20th century, the naturalization process was often conducted within county or local courts. The UW Oshkosh Area Research Center holds naturalization records from the Oshkosh Municipal Court, the Winnebago Circuit Court, and the courts of four other counties, dating from the 1840s through 1970s. The Archives staff has been developing a new electronic index of these records via Microsoft Access to document the holdings and aid in research requests; currently four courts are represented.

The Naturalization Records Index project provides access to this data via a new web application as part of the Archives & ARC website. This is the first index to Wisconsin naturalization records placed online. Users can search for records through an interface modeled after common genealogical search practices, by criteria such as last name, date range, and court system. The application performs flexible matching on several name fields, as many records include middle or alternate last names by which the ancestor may have been better known. Users may view any information contained in the index, and can request that Archives staff mail them copies of particular documents for a per-record fee. Multiple records can be ordered together via a familiar shopping cart and checkout interface. The system notifies Archives staff when a request is submitted, and delivery and invoicing is handled separately.

The web application was developed using the standard LAMP (Linux, Apache httpd, MySQL and PHP) set of tools, along with the CakePHP framework for web development. Javascript (including AJAX and dynamic HTML behavior) is used heavily, making use of the Prototype and script.aculo.us libraries. A custom Python script is used as part of the data migration from MS Access to MySQL. SwiftMailer is used for notification of requests to Archives staff and patrons.

 

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