Cuyahoga County Ohio Alien Dockets

Cuyahoga County Ohio Alien Dockets
transcribed by Ingrid Abram

As Ingrid Abram said in her email accompanying these dockets, "It is like history unrolling before your eyes when looking at all the English, German, Irish Scots, French that came here between 1812 and 1850." The transcription presented here are the ALIEN DOCKETS from the Court of Common Pleas and from the District Court. Further details, in the form of an email letter from Judith Cetina, County Archives Manager, are below the alphabet links, including information on obtaining copies.


I am forwarding some information regarding the ALIEN DOCKETS that should help to identify these records and establish their importance to an individual tracing the history of his or her immigrant ancestor.

The two ALIEN DOCKETS, for which the alphabetical indexes have been prepared, form part of a larger series of volumes later identified as DECLARATIONS OF ALIENS. The entire series dates from 1818-1906, and, with one exception, represents information regarding citizenship that was recorded by the Court of Common Pleas. The first eight volumes, then, including the two volumes identified as number 1, from the Court of Common Pleas (circa 1818-1852) and the District Court (circa 1842-1854) are named the ALIEN DOCKET, and the books that follow are labeled DECLARATIONS OF ALIENS. The District Court was in existence from 1852, when it succeeded to the jurisdiction and power of the supreme court on the circuit, until 1883, when the circuit court became its designated successor. The District Court also was acting, under limited jurisdiction, as early as 1845.

The information documented by these volumes varies from entry to entry, but may include countries of origin, dates of arrival, dates that declarations of intention were made, dates certificates of naturalization were granted, and some references to journal volumes and pages. If an individual filed a declaration of intention, but was never naturalized, the entries in these volumes may provide the only information regarding that action. It is interesting to observe that the individuals representing the early wave of immigration to Cleveland/Cuyahoga County, before 1850, reflect many different countries of origin. For example, in addition to persons who identified their nativity as England, Ireland, and Scotland, yet others came from Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Sweden and Switzerland. The various duchies, principalities, and other regions that now comprise Germany, were also recorded as places of origin, including Bavaria, Hanover, Hesse Darmstadt, and Prussia. On occasion an exact birthplace might be listed, e.g. Yorkshire, England, or County Galway, Ireland; or other areas like Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, or Upper Canada, might be listed as places of origin.

The indexes, carefully and meticulously prepared by Ingrid Abram, are most valuable additions to the collection of finding aids preserved by the County Archives. If an individual contacts the Archives, and provides a name, volume designation, and page number, a staff member can provide a copy of the requested entry. If a reference cannot be duplicated, a complete abstract can be mailed to the person. If requesting information by e-mail,, the researcher should provide a complete mailing address so that copies can be sent promptly. There is a minimum order of $1.00 that covers the cost of obtaining from one to four copies, and includes postage. Additional copies, over and above the initial four are charged at a rage of twenty-five cents for each one. Advanced payment is not required, and a cost bill will accompany any copies mailed.

Judith G. Cetina, Ph.D.
Cuyahoga County Archives
Rhodes House
2905 Franklin Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44111
Phone: (216) 433-7250
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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