Thomas Spencer, residential referee for Michael Mark’s naturalisation application, 1897 (catalogue reference: HO 144/407/B23729)

27 March 2012

It is now easier than ever to search naturalisation records at The National Archives, following the successful completion of a cataloguing project.

Catalogue enhancements

Staff at Kew have added more than 300,000 individual item level descriptions to the HO 334 record series, which contains duplicate naturalisation certificates issued between 1870 and 1980. Where duplicate certificates were not kept, between 1969 and 1980, descriptions have been added to the indexes in HO 409 instead.

By working from the original records, the project has unearthed several hundred certificates not previously indexed, mainly for military service personnel who obtained British citizenship without applying directly to the Home Office.

You can search individual records by name. Among the certificates in the HO 334 series are those for:

Henry Wellcome (Philanthropist)
Joseph Conrad (Author)
Henry James (Author)
Robert Maxwell (Newspaper proprietor)
Charles Forte (Hotelier)
Hilaire Belloc (Writer)
Lucian and Clement Freud (Artist and Journalist)
Michael Marks (Founder of Marks & Spencer)


Naturalisation certificates refer to those for former nationals (i.e. of European origin), whereas British citizenship certificates refer to those from former colonies (such as Jamaica).

More on the project

You can read more about the work which went into the cataloguing project on The National Archives' Blog.